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Old 09-16-2005, 05:13 PM   #26
senshincenter
 
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Re: David's Drills

Here are some other drills that I think supplement these drills mentioned here:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/atemi.html

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 09-16-2005, 06:32 PM   #27
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: David's Drills

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Rather, we are left there almost dumbfounded, but this dumbfoundedness takes place not only intellectually. It also occurs emotionally and physically. In other words, at a common sense level, we are present but we are present having no idea of what to do or of how to do it and we are not even really sure why what is occurring is occurring.
It's late again but I want to write before going to bed... this was very very recognizable from my experience last time with the wing chun guy. After this paragraph you lost me.

Tonight, another partner again. After a while, she observed that after the first blow I started looking angry. I hadn't realized that, but right she was, it was another variation of hardening my gaze again. It didn't help either, as of course it wouldn't, she could keep entering. I tried to soften my yes and accept the attacks, and again had the experience of suddenly having much more space and time in which to move.

Describing what I mean with softening my eyes... looking with acceptance, accepting that yes, someone is going to hit me and they are going to succeed, but not getting stuck (not feeling defeated) with that idea either, just as not getting stuck with the idea that I should do something about it. Just acceptance seems to be enough. The way I call the difference to myself is being stuck or being free, I also feel physically freer to move when I am... not stuck. It's accepting the attack on a different level than ever asked for in our normal training, because usually, the attack is prescribed and so it's not necessary to accept it, emotionally.

Actually getting hit doesn't feel all that disturbing, up to a point, anymore. I kinda like it. Up to a point...

Deflecting was on the border of possible. It is distracting, I get stuck again by the need to move my own arms. I start to plan, and that takes me away from what is happening.

David, when you do these drills, how long do you spend on them in one go, more or less?

My partner remarked that in order to keep attacking she had to tell herself "That is not Pauliina". I found that slightly disturbing.

I'm starting to get bothered by my ...mental state when we are doing ordinary kata training. There is so much going on, so much internal noise that I haven't been aware of.

I'm falling asleep typing, better go to bed.

kvaak
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Old 09-17-2005, 12:59 PM   #28
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Re: David's Drills

Hi Pauliina,

We do not really use a set time. It is more that we use reps -- usually three or four attempts (or successes) per set, then you trade roles. When folks have a handle on the drill, that can take anywhere from about 15 seconds, 30 seconds, or at most a minute. We would trade roles after that. If a person is still in the early levels of acquiring the skill sets relevant to the drill, that might take quite a while (if we still use the number of reps to determine when we trade roles). In the latter case then, we would use a time limit that is determined according to exhaustion levels and/or having a more well rounded training session (for both partners). That usually has us with a specific role for no more than about 3 minutes.

Your reflections are helping me run through some of my own. Hoping you would be so kind as to let me ramble through some of those thoughts here…

For the sake of this discussion, I would like to simply define "Aiki" as the proper harmonizing of Yin and Yang aspects. From here, it can of course come to mean many things and even come to achieve many things. I do not mean to dispute any one of these things over and against any other of these things. However, I would like to pull out one element that strikes us the most from within these drills: That the tactic of Aiki is as much a bodily one as it is an emotional/mental/spiritual one. This is such an obvious statement. However, it is this obviousness that makes us, in my opinion, gloss over how much forms training, for example, may not only assume it of us but of how it may assume it of us.

In forms training, for example, we understand that in order to "blend," or to "connect," or to "harmonize," etc., we must not only move our bodies in a certain way. We understand that also having a particular mental state is very relevant to how we can move our bodies. Thus, to move our bodies to blend, to connect, or to harmonize, we often allow our minds or we often encourage our minds to adopt either these imaginings (i.e. the thought "blend," the thought "connect," the thought "harmonize") and/or something very similar (e.g. adopting a sense of openness, etc).

For some of us, due to our personal histories, in which we have gained our habitual ways of experiencing the world around us, the thoughts of "blend," "connect," and/or "harmonize" may be something that is very difficult to adopt any time, any place. For others, with a slightly different habitual way of experiencing the world around us, such thoughts may be something we are capable of manifesting in some places of our life but we may have difficulty adopting them under the various martial settings of Kihon Waza. Some of us may be able to adopt such thoughts under less intense Kihon Waza training sessions (e.g. training at lighter levels, training with a peer and not your Shihan, etc.), and some of us may be able to adopt them even under extremely intense Kihon Waza training sessions. As a result, relative to our capacity to adopt such thoughts we gain or lose the benefit of such imaginings in regards to our physical applications of Aiki in Kihon Waza.

I do not want to say that such mind/body connections are not an important part of training overall -- they are. Nor do I want to say that this is not a vital part of both Kihon Waza training and thus then not of Spontaneous training -- it is. I also do not want to say that there is no value in going from a life that cannot imagine such things to a life where one can imagine such things even under very intense martial settings -- there is a great value in such a thing. However, something entirely different seems to be going on in Spontaneous training -- something very different from a corresponding of mind to body via attributes like the imagination.

In spontaneous training, we are looking at a state of being -- not merely an imagined state of being or merely a disciplined state of body - nor any kind of connection between the two. There is no relevance (but for how it hinders us) to what we are thinking or how we intend to move in spontaneous training. There is only who we are. For it is who we are that creates the experience itself. No other reality, no other experience of the drill, exists outside of this our being. Moreover, it is the rawness of our being that dominates what we are able or unable to do in the drill since it is our being that is manifesting the reality we are experiencing. Thinking this, or attempting that, only comes to make us succeed less as we struggle to resist the rawness of our own being and the experience of our own being/reality by attempting to create some sort of intermediary between the doer and the deed being done.

In form's training, this intermediary is possible because the form itself exists as an ideal and the subjective self is then able to coast along its spine -- constantly measuring itself against it. In forms training, there is a division between being and reality -- since "reality" has been idealized and thus somewhat separated from being. Thus, for example, there is the form, the person doing the form, and the person measuring him/herself against the form. Meaning, as the form is an idealized space/time, it creates the possibility for the subjective self to be separated from its objective aspects. Because of this, we are able to do the form, trying to blend (for example), and we are able to do the form thinking, "blend" (for example). In spontaneous training, such imaginings manifest into the experience/being/reality only as a fettered mind. As a result, such imaginings do something very different from what they may do in forms training. In spontaneous training, such imaginings will corrupt our physical capacities at performing Aiki because they remain what we think and not necessary who or what we are (i.e. being/experience).

To be sure, there is much overlap here, and indeed then, many aspects of this come up in forms training -- especially during the early stages of our practice. However, what is important to note here is that when we experience frustration or fettering, for example, in these drills, we are not ever going to experience them in light of some idealized space/time, and, as a result, we are not merely experiencing frustration and/or fettering, we ARE frustration, we ARE fettering, and the there is no outside experience to these states of being. This is what gives us the overwhelming sense we often experience in these drills. It is that there is no outside to the experience because there is no outside to us -- no idealized space/time that is not us and by which we can measure, experience objectively or subjectively, etc.

Under such a model, I am skeptical of how much progress we can achieve through simply gaining more insight to how we react and thus to who we are. To be sure, this is a vital part of the training, however, it seems that at some point we are going to have to address the being we are so as to address the experience we are/have. Under such a model, we cannot simply intend to move with Aiki -- to blend, to connect, to harmonize. Under such a model, we cannot simply imagine "Aiki," "blend," "connect," "harmonize." Nor can we under such a model simply hope to get used to the intensity levels being experienced. Etc. Under such a model, if our being/reality/experience of the drill is plagued by various habitual reactions to Fear, Pride, and Ignorance, for example, we are going to have to address these things as the very "I" we are. In my opinion, this would mean that rather than attempting to address our fear reactions with more drilling, etc., we may want to adopt a practice more geared toward a cultivation of who we are/experience as Fear. For example, to offset fear then, let us throughout our lives practice compassion so as to cultivate more compassion within us. In addition, for example, to offset pride, let us practice mercy so as to cultivate more mercy within us; to offset ignorance, let us practice faith so as to cultivate more faith within us. To develop compassion, let us practice more servitude in our lives; to develop mercy, let us practice more charity in our lives; to develop faith, let us practice more prayer in our lives. After all, the goal here is not to think or imagine Aiki, nor even to move with Aiki. The goal here is to be Aiki. At some point then, we are going to have to ask, for example, "How is continually observing myself ducking down when I should be looking up going to allow me to be Aiki?"

Other topic:

Here are two videos I put together so folks can see a different stage of learning in the drill.

See the videos here:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/learning.html

dmv

Last edited by senshincenter : 09-17-2005 at 01:10 PM.

David M. Valadez
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Old 10-07-2005, 06:01 PM   #29
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: David's Drills

Hi again,

as it happened I ended up leading all three classes that we offer last week, and with a cold this week. So it's been a while since I got to train at all. Finally got better and went to the dojo tonight, yay.
Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
We do not really use a set time. It is more that we use reps -- usually three or four attempts (or successes) per set, then you trade roles.
Ok. That's more or less what we've been doing as well. Just felt good.

Well. I got to reading my last entry, and your last, and this got me thinking in a new direction.
Quote:
In spontaneous training, we are looking at a state of being -- not merely an imagined state of being or merely a disciplined state of body - nor any kind of connection between the two.
In other words, not thinking about accepting the attack for example? Or more effective footwork, or maintaining maai, or something like that.
Quote:
There is no relevance (but for how it hinders us) to what we are thinking or how we intend to move in spontaneous training.
There were a couple brief moments tonight, where my partner exclaimed "nice" (and I couldn't say what was nice about that moment, in that moment, myself) that were times where I wasn't thinking anything in particular, just moving.
Quote:
Thinking this, or attempting that, only comes to make us succeed less as we struggle to resist the rawness of our own being and the experience of our own being/reality by attempting to create some sort of intermediary between the doer and the deed being done.
I'd read your post when you first posted it, and didn't make any sense of it the first time. Reading it again, this does describe very accurately my experience with the drill so far, apart from a couple short (but sweet) moments.
Quote:
For example, to offset fear then, let us throughout our lives practice compassion so as to cultivate more compassion within us. In addition, for example, to offset pride, let us practice mercy so as to cultivate more mercy within us; to offset ignorance, let us practice faith so as to cultivate more faith within us. To develop compassion, let us practice more servitude in our lives; to develop mercy, let us practice more charity in our lives; to develop faith, let us practice more prayer in our lives. After all, the goal here is not to think or imagine Aiki, nor even to move with Aiki. The goal here is to be Aiki. At some point then, we are going to have to ask, for example, "How is continually observing myself ducking down when I should be looking up going to allow me to be Aiki?"
I was going to protest that I don't see how compassion would offset fear. But to be honest with myself I do see it. I just don't want to think of actually practicing it.

I don't quite see how to make the connection from what you write here to the drills though. Maybe a bit absurdly put...maybe not...a perfectly compassionate, merciful and faithful person, in a spontaneous training situation like the drills...wouldn't have trouble with it?

Tonight's training was firmly of the kind you described in the beginnings of your post, and it was useful and enjoyable, but I feel that even though we could go on in the same way, and I could get increasingly effective at dealing with the intensity and so on, that I'm in a way repeating the same.

kvaak
Pauliina
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Old 02-04-2006, 12:44 AM   #30
Edwin Neal
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Re: David's Drills

i couldn't get the videos... maybe that would help, but i have no idea what you guys are talking about... sounds like you are sparring, but then going all stream of consciousness afterwards and saying stuff that honestly makes no sense to me... i understand some of the words and concepts, but... duh it reads like i don't know just random words or speaking in tongues... if someone could break it down for me... i still can't get quicktime to play... maybe it would make sense... but you're just sparring right???

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-04-2006, 12:47 AM   #31
Edwin Neal
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Re: David's Drills

"Thinking this, or attempting that, only comes to make us succeed less as we struggle to resist the rawness of our own being and the experience of our own being/reality by attempting to create some sort of intermediary between the doer and the deed being done."

what???

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-04-2006, 05:33 AM   #32
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Re: David's Drills

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
"Thinking this, or attempting that, only comes to make us succeed less as we struggle to resist the rawness of our own being and the experience of our own being/reality by attempting to create some sort of intermediary between the doer and the deed being done."
what???
Here's my interpretation:
Yes, they are sparring exercises.
And the above sentence can partly be summarised by :"You're trying too hard. Go with the flow. Let the technique happen. Be in the moment. etc."
However, he builds a 'philosophy' on that which results in ... a specific use of language? The advice I quoted above is useful, but how does one go with the flow? How does one stop trying? Can you learn how to switch 'being in the moment' on/off at will
I think David is trying to discover, analyse, etc. the mindset needed to be succesfull in sparring (and thus actual fighting). And not just for martial reasons, but for ethical, philosophical, ... reasons as well. Since is aikido is supposed to be this compassionate kick ass martial art.
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Old 02-04-2006, 12:10 PM   #33
Edwin Neal
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Re: David's Drills

thanks Joepn, thats sort of what i thought, but like you said the language was kind of confusing... i was just thinking that it was like in some dojo's they have different names for techniques and concepts and the descriptions of them are sometimes hard to understand... i am interested in watching the drills... if i can just figure out why i can't get the video... thanks again for your help...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-04-2006, 07:27 PM   #34
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Re: David's Drills

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote:
Here's my interpretation:
Yes, they are sparring exercises.
And the above sentence can partly be summarised by :"You're trying too hard. Go with the flow. Let the technique happen. Be in the moment. etc."
However, he builds a 'philosophy' on that which results in ... a specific use of language? The advice I quoted above is useful, but how does one go with the flow? How does one stop trying? Can you learn how to switch 'being in the moment' on/off at will
I think David is trying to discover, analyse, etc. the mindset needed to be succesfull in sparring (and thus actual fighting). And not just for martial reasons, but for ethical, philosophical, ... reasons as well. Since is aikido is supposed to be this compassionate kick ass martial art.

That's a very good summary Joep!

Thanks.

Edwin, I'm sorry you can't see the videos - are you running the latest quicktime?

d

David M. Valadez
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Old 02-05-2006, 12:18 AM   #35
Edwin Neal
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Re: David's Drills

still trying to get it together... i need soem kind of upgrade...

Edwin Neal


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