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Old 05-28-2006, 12:53 PM   #376
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
Emitting Strikes:
They don't use fajin, or breath work really to do punches (as far as I recall), but that doesn't mean the bodyskills garnered from the basic exercises of pushups and squats don't affect them. In fact both Vlad and Michaeil ('never remember how to spell his name^^ have mentioned at one point or another, that the "secret" is in the pushups and squats, and the related breath work. I'd tend to agree knowing what I know now.
The direct overlap is the use of equal pressure across the entire arm (using visualizations of your arms being to heavy weightchains, with cannon balls at the end) and then using the straight spine to deliver them (via the figure eight pattern you have running inside you). I'd say Vlad probably uses compression of the spine as well, but doesn't talk about it.

It's a different "mechansim" for delivering the strike in that it relies on the figure eight pattern internally, and it uses "pathways" developed through the breathing in the basic exercises (a la pushups/squats etc), but it doesn't use the "explosive" force that you see in sometimes in other IMA.
Excellent description (in a nutshell). I agree, it's my understanding as well, that one really can't separate the breath control development from the squats, sit-ups, and pushups. I absolutely agree that these are crucial to how they wish to train the body. I've been told by some of their senior instructors that this is one of the problems in that many folks who have joined up and are doing Systema out there in the hinterlands have taken a pick and choose approach to the training. There are quite q few who don't get and don't do these physical exercises and focus just on the movement. This goes completely against what Michael, Vlad and the other seniors say.

As for the striking... it is my understanding that the breathing is crucial for that as well but, as you noted, perhaps in a different way than in a Chinese internal art. The level of relaxation required to strike properly is fascinating in itself. One of my students is seriously pursuing Systema and has gotten to the point at which he is getting some extra input from Vlad when they are at seminars. This guy is one of the loosest, most flexible people I have known. At the dojo we called him "Gumby". This has been increased with his Systema work.

At a seminar recently he was practicing strikes with a partner who was practicing receiving and dissipating the energy of the strikes. Vlad was all over my student for too much tension... My students said Vlad spotted areas of tension of which he was completely unaware. Vlad proceeded to strike my student all over the arm and shoulder area which he was using for the strike. When he was done, my student told me that his whole right side was hanging down a couple inches lower than his left. He then did another strike which basically buckled the guy he was working with it was so powerful. My student said that it had felt "effortless", as if he had done almost nothing. That was the one that Vlad said was correct. So from the standpoint of getting to the point at which one could do such a strike the breathing is central to removing the tension which prevents one from doing so. I don't know to what extent it has to do with generating power at the time of the strike itself, I'll have to ask my friends.

Their strikes are one area that I am quite interested in for my own Aikido, since the spiral, figure eight movement you aptly described is completely compatible with Aikido movement principles. I had been telling Gleason Sensei about their striking and at the last Expo he somewhat reluctantly went to Vlad's class and he experienced it directly. He told me later that Vlad had hit him with a strike that looked like nothing and it had hit him harder than the hardest Karate punch he'd ever been hit with.

Anyway, a very interesting thing about their striking is that the mental aspect is so important. They practice having zero "intention" in their striking. As I understand it, the very desire to inflict injury and be powerful creates tension that actually reduces the effectiveness of the blow. So when they strike, they strive for a completely neutral intention. I am sure that the breathing is, once again, central to developing this attitude. Also, the conditioning aspect of the pushups, sit-ups, and squats is also central here in that they teach how to maintain relaxation of the body and mind even when the physical structure is load bearing.

Thanks for your addition; it seems as if you have some good background which allows you to bridge that gap in descriptive terminology between Mike S and myself.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 05-28-2006 at 12:56 PM.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 05-28-2006, 01:29 PM   #377
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Thanks for your addition; it seems as if you have some good background which allows you to bridge that gap in descriptive terminology between Mike S and myself.
Well, to be accurate, George, I think that we're mainly feeling for some relational dialogue. I understood the general thrust of what Rob was trying to say, but if you notice, he was careful to indicate "internal martial arts", not Aikido. So at best I got the idea of what Rob's impression was about Systema *perhaps* having a relationship to internal martial arts, but he gave no indication that there was a solid relationship to Aikido.

The anecdotal perceptions you just mentioned are fine as part of a discussion, but there's not much I can use firmly. One of the problems I have is that in too many of the Systema vids that I've seen the students are far too dramatic and cooperative in the same way that some Taiji, Aikido, you-name-it, students are. I've had a number of people who've had personal experience confirm that this appears to be the case too often. So let me be ambivalent and polite and just say "maybe, but so far I have seen nothing definitive"... which was more or less my first statement.

All the Best.

Mike
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Old 05-28-2006, 04:43 PM   #378
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Vlad was all over my student for too much tension... My students said Vlad spotted areas of tension of which he was completely unaware.
Lol, nice I've heard that from several people that've worked with vlad here in tokyo. Another annecdote I've heard, and which fits in nicely from what I've learned is that, it's not so much about relaxing, but knowing which parts to tense, what KIND of tension (or in other words the quality) to use, and when to use it, within the body which is key.
Problem is, so many people have too much excess tension that Vlad starts out with basically getting people to "get rid" of as much as possible.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
He told me later that Vlad had hit him with a strike that looked like nothing and it had hit him harder than the hardest Karate punch he'd ever been hit with.
Most Karate punches are surface anyways. It impacts the surface, and then quickly dissipates. That being said, the shock is still enough to break things if you get the angle and timing right
The main difference is that the "other" kind of strikes attack your "core", or the supporting "structure" , taking away your base.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
They practice having zero "intention" in their striking. As I understand it, the very desire to inflict injury and be powerful creates tension that actually reduces the effectiveness of the blow.
Again, this ties in partly with what Ueshiba was talking about in so far as being "one" with nature, in harmony etc etc and driving the intent inwards.
(Mike I'm excluding the Ki from heaven, Ki from earth bit here)
Driving the intent "inwards" means you simply seek to "maintain" certain physical and mental properties within yourself, and as a result your opponent/partner is downed. Painfully. Or not painfully, depending on how you execute
Sagawa used to talk about this, and often said "you can't show any intent to attack, everything has to remain exactly 'as is'".
(Take a look at his pics sometime, they look almost fake in their execution )

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Also, the conditioning aspect of the pushups, sit-ups, and squats is also central here in that they teach how to maintain relaxation of the body and mind even when the physical structure is load bearing.
Kind of, but I think the conditioning is a side effect, and not something that needs attention. What's more important is feeling exactly how you keep proper posture as naturally as possible, as the load increases in your physical structure. Then you take the same "Physical" sensations and put them in other movement.
This goes with any other kind of "tanren" movement, whether its from Shingon, Shiko stamp, spear thrusting, or whatever. All the exercises feed off of each other.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Thanks for your addition; it seems as if you have some good background which allows you to bridge that gap in descriptive terminology between Mike S and myself.
Np, I'm still just a beginner tho
I'm glad you could make headway out of my spur of the moment post.
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Old 05-28-2006, 04:57 PM   #379
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Well, to be accurate, George, I think that we're mainly feeling for some relational dialogue. I understood the general thrust of what Rob was trying to say, but if you notice, he was careful to indicate "internal martial arts", not Aikido. So at best I got the idea of what Rob's impression was about Systema *perhaps* having a relationship to internal martial arts, but he gave no indication that there was a solid relationship to Aikido.

The anecdotal perceptions you just mentioned are fine as part of a discussion, but there's not much I can use firmly. One of the problems I have is that in too many of the Systema vids that I've seen the students are far too dramatic and cooperative in the same way that some Taiji, Aikido, you-name-it, students are. I've had a number of people who've had personal experience confirm that this appears to be the case too often. So let me be ambivalent and polite and just say "maybe, but so far I have seen nothing definitive"... which was more or less my first statement.

All the Best.

Mike
I guess that it's the issue of making a statement about whether something is or is not part of or relqated to Aikido is where I have the problem. It is my belief that it is difficult if not impossible to actually point at anything and say "that is Aikdo" except in the most surcae sort of way.

I write something about this on the Aikido Journal site:
Article

Most of us never trained with the Founder. The lucky ones trained with someone who did, most haevn't been able to do that. So we look for information wherever we can get it based on who and what seems most likely to get us to where we think we would like to be. That idea changes all the time as we know more. So talking about whether something is in Aikido or nor is difficult. Talking about whether it is in or could be in what I am trying to do in Aikido is more manageable.

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Old 05-28-2006, 06:15 PM   #380
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I guess that it's the issue of making a statement about whether something is or is not part of or relqated to Aikido is where I have the problem. It is my belief that it is difficult if not impossible to actually point at anything and say "that is Aikdo" except in the most surcae sort of way.

I write something about this on the Aikido Journal site:
Article

Most of us never trained with the Founder. The lucky ones trained with someone who did, most haevn't been able to do that. So we look for information wherever we can get it based on who and what seems most likely to get us to where we think we would like to be. That idea changes all the time as we know more. So talking about whether something is in Aikido or nor is difficult. Talking about whether it is in or could be in what I am trying to do in Aikido is more manageable.
I understand what you're saying, George, but I don't really think it's a matter of "there is no way to define Aikido". Even the legendary Taiji can be defined in fairly distinct terms of what it is and what it isn't. The idea of "the Tao that can be spoken is not the True Tao" is a bogus one when applied to various martial arts... they are reasonably defined, while the real Tao may indeed be something that can't be put into words well.

An outsider from Aikido (which I'm not, BTW) looking at the art can say a number of things definitively because Aikido is not unique in a number of the things it does. The throws, joint-locks, ways of taking falls, etc., etc., are not unique items. For instance, Irimi-nage is a well-known and commonly used throw in many Asian martial arts, although many people in Aikido who don't have a lot of exposure to other arts are probably quite unaware of this. Nikkyo is a common joint lock. And so on.

While a lot of people who have been insulated in Aikido or Japanese culture have obviously been blissfully unaware of it, Ueshiba used and demonstrated such an obvious relationship to known ki/qi development and usages derived from China that it would be naive to say something like "I don't know that so it must not be true." I.e., the confirmation of that statement is pretty easy to find, for anyone willing to look. The same words and terms, the same cosmology, the same demonstrations, etc., etc... they're there. Recognizing the obvious things, the obvious well-known throws, locks, ki-demonstrations, standard allegories for ki skills, etc., etc., is so easy I have no problem imagining a lot of people I know wondering why it should be much of a discussion. Simply put, I think your contention "it is difficult if not impossible to actually point at anything and say 'that is Aikdo' " is wrong. If you want to argue that the deep, high-end essence, the "spiritual understanding", yada, yada, is just impossible to quantify, I'll simply avoid that part of it (I don't think it's a true statement, but I don't feel it's important enough to debate) and say, "yeah, but if you think these other things that are 'in Aikido' aren't that obvious, then we have a serious disagreement."


All the Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-29-2006, 10:40 AM   #381
Nick Pagnucco
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

One of the themes in this thread (and a few other places) seems to be that something was 'lost' from o-sensei to his students, something important. The thing that makes me scratch my head about that is how total a statement it is; none of his students, not even people like Saito, Shioda, or Tohei, were able to reproduce what Ueshiba was able to do in its full form.

Was O-sensei just not interested in passing down his art in a complete way, even to his son? Did he put it all out there 'in plain sight' (to steal a phrase from mr. amdur) with no one noticing? What am I missing?

Thats one of the things that always urks me about these discussions; the central problem of a lack of 'something' being transferred.
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Old 05-29-2006, 11:42 AM   #382
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Nicholas Pagnucco wrote:
One of the themes in this thread (and a few other places) seems to be that something was 'lost' from o-sensei to his students, something important. The thing that makes me scratch my head about that is how total a statement it is; none of his students, not even people like Saito, Shioda, or Tohei, were able to reproduce what Ueshiba was able to do in its full form.

Was O-sensei just not interested in passing down his art in a complete way, even to his son? Did he put it all out there 'in plain sight' (to steal a phrase from mr. amdur) with no one noticing? What am I missing?

Thats one of the things that always urks me about these discussions; the central problem of a lack of 'something' being transferred.
First, O-Sensei did not, especially in his later years, teach technique at all. Even in his earlier years when he was teaching the thirties deshi I don't believe that he was as systematic about he was passing on as the Daito Ryu style is in its progression.

Anyway, the whole thing is like a detective process. We know O-sensei could do certain remarkable things as could his teacher, Takeda Sensei. The deshi all agree that they only got a portion of what O-sensei was doing. Despite some of them being fairly remarkable themselves, they still didn't measure up to the Founder.

So what did O-Sensei have that the students didn't? Or if there were students who did get more of "it" than others, what was the "it"? Another question of interest is did Tkeda sensei do a better job of passing "it" along than O-sensei did? Are there more people in Daito Ryu who attained something like the level of their teacher or was it pretty much the same as in Aikido where no one seems to have reached the level of the teacher.

If there were / are people who did get as good as Takeda Sensei in Daito Ryu, what elements of their training accounted for this and why did they drop out of Aikido? If no students have gotten as good as these early teachers, what did these guys do that produced this incredible skill that we have not included in contemporary training.

The problem here is that it is difficult to get answers to these questions. Mike sees all sorts of connections to Chinese internal arts. That may be but since one does not generally see that in contemporary Aikido training, it stays unclear how one would incorporate that into Aikido unless one does Chinese internal arts as well. I'm not saying that this isn't an excellent idea, I'm just saying that it is still unclear how Takeda and Ueshiba got it.

People like Dan Hardin seem to have a better idea of what there is in Daito Ryu that produces this level of skill but unfortunately they won't talk about higher level technical issues to non-practitioners. So that's a dead end in terms of finding out what was there that isn't any more.

This is an issue for us because there are really almost no people floating around who have extenisve experience in all of these different areas... To my knowledge there are no Shihan level Aikido people who also have a deep knowledge of Daito Ryu. Of the major teachers of Aikido I do not know of any who have extensive backgrounds in Chinese internal arts. The converse is true as well...
The folks I know who were Aikido people who left to do Daito Ryu were not very advanced in their Aikido when they left. There are a few people like Mike Sigman, Ellis Amdur, Bob Galleone, etc who had a substantial background in Aikido who now have a substantial background in Chinese internal arts... This is probably the best place to get some idea of what might have been left out and how we might re-introduce these elements into our training (since the Daito Ryu folks aren't talking).

It's just a difficult proposition. The standard training methodology is different so it takes some doing to try to change it. Despite the stylistic differences, most Aikido is done relatively the same in terms of how we train. One can go from dojo to dojo and not have any problem participating. To place an emphasis on developing internal power using Chinese methods would entail some substantial refocusing. So I remain unclear about how the process of re-discovering what was lost and re-introducing it to our training should proceed in a way that the larger mass of Aikido practitioners would benefit.

This is a difficult area. I am an Aikido teacher. Aikido is my main focus and my great love. I am interested in elements from other arts that would make my Aikido better but generally these elements are part of the higher level teachings in these other arts. Most teachers are not interested (and justifiably so) in dishing out the goods to anyone who isn't making the full committment to study of their art. So you find very few people who end up at the highest level in non-closely related arts. At some point they end up having to choose and run with one or the other.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 05-29-2006, 12:10 PM   #383
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

From what I've read over the years I've observed a positive correlation between people talking the loudest about things being lost, and these same people claiming they really know what it is all about. They can never quite coherently explain how it was lost for everyone except them, or for all 'Westerners' except them, for some reason.

One can think of some possibilities why things Ueshiba did are not done by others. For one, he was very skilled. Unique skill, by definition, is not repeatable by others. This is not a very satisfying answer though.

Second, it could be that these various feats of timing, position, body mechanics, and strength, were not emphasized by Ueshiba as being essential to aikido and were not emphasized in his cirriculum. This is also not very satisfying.

Lastly, people could be misunderstanding what a videoclip or a photo shows, as articles like this point out. And, the article explains, one can duplicate this feat if one understands the parameters differently. This is also not very satisfying.

What is satisfying, I hear, is training in what was clearly emphasized.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 05-29-2006, 12:30 PM   #384
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Toward the end of Bob Galeone's tenure as a Instructor in our dojo in Alexandria...we spent a fair amount of time doing things in aikido that were very similar to things I have done in taiji or bua gua. We would spend almost an entire class on foot work, transitioning weight, breathing, and turning...all as a part of say iriminage or Ikkyo. I learned alot about connecting things during this time!

Bob didn't really seem to make a distinction between Uechi Ryu, Aikido, or Bua Gua, or kali...he simply applied the same principles to whatever "kata" we happened to be doing for whatever style we aerer doing.

For what it is worth.
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Old 05-29-2006, 12:39 PM   #385
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Mike sees all sorts of connections to Chinese internal arts. That may be but since one does not generally see that in contemporary Aikido training, it stays unclear how one would incorporate that into Aikido unless one does Chinese internal arts as well. (snipsky) To place an emphasis on developing internal power using Chinese methods would entail some substantial refocusing.
Hi George:

Good points. At a certain point in time, the enormity of the Chinese information within Japanese martial arts becomes so obvious that it's not worth much of a discussion. Ellis and a number of others with extensive backgrounds in Japanese martial arts have told me that I'm preaching to the choir... the only people who don't understand the magnitude of the Chinese involvement are ones who haven't taken the time to look. However, the signs are all over the place, so it doesn't take much looking.

I went into Aikido trying to track down an unusual form of strength that I had felt in a visiting Sandan from Hombu Dojo (at a drunken party in Miami, many years ago). I've pretty much focused on finding out how these things work and I haven't been particularly concerned with martial style or country-of-origin, so I can probably add a little bit to what you're saying.

First of all, the whole ki/kokyu or qi/jin thing is now (or was originally), to my chagrin, obviously in every Asian martial art that I've ever encountered. Those body training skills are not style specific. I.e., you don't have to take karate or a Chinese martial art to learn them. You could do what Tohei did, which was the equivalent of taking a good-level of qigong studies and then turning around and putting it in your Aikido.

In other words, this is not something that is karate or Chinese martial arts or kalaripayattu or whatever.... it's a kind of core physical skill/training that is apart from being any particular style. Where people get fooled is in the fact that the basic principles can be studied using various different "favorite way to develop it" and that gives outside observers the impression that there are different things different arts are doing. In fact, they're just doing variations of a few core basics and the extensions of those basics.

One of the interesting things I've noted is that these things are still in Aikido, but the people that have them, like Tohei, Abe Sensei, and others, don't give out the information all that much. They don't even give it out that freely to their own students... a student is expected to work for it. The information is there, in other words, it's just darned hard to get, as it's always been.

Another thing is that it's not that easy to get it fully. It's pretty easy to get a few rudiments and impress the peanut gallery, but to get it at the level O-Sensei seems to have gotten it takes a long and extensive amount of practice. The people who think that they can go to a couple of workshops and they've "got it"... it'll never work like that. It's a never-ending process.

This reminds me of that piece of a video clip we were talking about on the Aikido Journal forum... when O-Sensei was doing the Fune-kogi undo and he suddenly starts adding power-releases to it, he cuts his eyes at Terry Dobson to see if Dobson got it, I think. Dobson apparently didn't. On various film-clips and in a number of martial situations I can recall seeing or being part of, a lot of these things are briefly shown... so it's not hidden as much as all that. On the other hand, the same experiences have shown me that aside from the occasional hints, little explicit direction is ever given except for a chosen few.

I used to say what I thought were pithy comments like "you really have to know these qi/ki things if you do Taiji, Aikido, etc., because the core art is built around how those skills work; you don't really have to know them if you do something like Hun Gar, Choy Li Fut, Karate, etc.". I was wrong. I can get away with a statement like that to fellow amateurs, but in reality, if someone *really* knows karate, Choy Li Fut, etc., they use the ki/qi skills very deeply and only the superficial practitioners think they can get away with just physical conditioning, techniques, and a gift of gab/buzzwords. I say that to reinforce the point that these physical/mental skills are very important.. they're not just some side issue.

All the Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-29-2006, 12:43 PM   #386
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
From what I've read over the years I've observed a positive correlation between people talking the loudest about things being lost, and these same people claiming they really know what it is all about.
I must have missed it... has someone posted a thread claiming these skills are "lost"? Could you point out the thread please? I hope this wasn't just another of your negative, nothing-to-contribute-but-a-wet-towel posts. If you could give us the cite, please.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-29-2006, 12:50 PM   #387
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

I believe Justin's "lost" means "not found in the masses and/or not easily found by the masses." I read him as referring to rarity and not to extinction.

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Old 05-29-2006, 01:08 PM   #388
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
I believe Justin's "lost" means "not found in the masses and/or not easily found by the masses." I read him as referring to rarity and not to extinction.
Justin was replying to my post, and I used 'lost' to mean what you just said.

As for his comment about satisfaction lies in training, I basically agree with that, so long as training involves an active mind as well as body. The only hope for avoiding false confidence in what you know is to have your mind actively engaged. This forum in general (not just this thread) helps me keep thinking about aikido, which has essentially a dialectic relationship with my actual training.
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Old 05-29-2006, 01:21 PM   #389
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Nicholas Pagnucco wrote:
Justin was replying to my post, and I used 'lost' to mean what you just said.
Here's what Justin said:

From what I've read over the years I've observed a positive correlation between people talking the loudest about things being lost, and these same people claiming they really know what it is all about. They can never quite coherently explain how it was lost for everyone except them, or for all 'Westerners' except them, for some reason.

Nick, you didn't mention anything other than a "theme". Justin is taking a swipe at someone who purportedly said things were "lost" and then "these same people claiming they really know what it is all about". I asked him for a cite, assuming he's not just being a snipe.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-29-2006, 01:34 PM   #390
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He is kinda doing the same thing on Bullshido as well. He doesn't really have much background other than what he has "read" on the internet from what I can tell. I smell someone simply trying to "stir the pot".

Frankly all this is too complicated and intense to have someone do a "drive by" on it for me. I hope I have you pegged wrong Justin, and you are being sincere...because most of us here are serious about what we are training for.
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Old 05-29-2006, 01:45 PM   #391
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

The issue has already been explained.
(and by using the word 'lost' that Nicholas used in his post, I didn't mean to imply that Nicholas was "talking loudly" or making any claims at all - sorry if it came across like that!)

If one reads this entire thread and does not find many examples of claims that Westerners (especially) are missing things, I'd have to ask if they are reading the same thread.

I can only say that I've not read emphasis in any of the Ueshiba's (and other top masters) writings about jo tricks, so I can only conclude that they were not stressed as important.


Until evidence shows otherwise,
Justin

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"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 05-29-2006, 01:48 PM   #392
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
He is kinda doing the same thing on Bullshido as well. He doesn't really have much background other than what he has "read" on the internet from what I can tell. I smell someone simply trying to "stir the pot".
The same thing was tried on Bullshido by referring to me being over here (to the same effect- me saying "and...?"). I guess some people dislike opinions that conflict with theirs? I think I've managed to avoid talking about specific personalities pretty well and tried to stay on the actual issues, and I don't plan to deviate from that.

If one disagrees with an point/opinion they are welcome to say so. Me not helping an old lady across the street in 1995 has no bearing on if Ueshiba emphasized jo tricks either. But I think next time I read a movie review I'm going to dismiss it outright because the review has never made a movie him/herself.

Last edited by statisticool : 05-29-2006 at 01:56 PM.

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Old 05-29-2006, 01:50 PM   #393
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Justin wrote:

Quote:
I can only say that I've not read emphasis in any of the Ueshiba's (and other top masters) writings about jo tricks, so I can only conclude that they were not stressed as important.
Tohei thought they were important.
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Old 05-29-2006, 03:21 PM   #394
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
He is kinda doing the same thing on Bullshido as well. He doesn't really have much background other than what he has "read" on the internet from what I can tell. I smell someone simply trying to "stir the pot".

Frankly all this is too complicated and intense to have someone do a "drive by" on it for me. I hope I have you pegged wrong Justin, and you are being sincere...because most of us here are serious about what we are training for.
Seriously, I don't think anyone takes Justin for anything other than he is... "drive-by" is pretty accurate. Look at his previous posts in this thread alone. But just the same, he arrives at a good time to make a point about another aspect of this whole issue on the mechanics, the "secrets", and so forth.

There is a lot of emphasis in traditional martial arts on character and attitude. No teacher feels obligated to show hard-won information to losers with attitudes. Can you imagine someone with an attitude getting Ueshiba to show "the Secret of the Jo Trick", for instance?

Abe Sensei knows how to do a lot of the ki training things, but he's pretty sparing in showing them explicitly, as I understand some of Gernot's remarks. This is common behaviour. There's also an element of "I showed you x-percentage of it; you figure out the rest or you're not worthy of knowing it".

But all of that contributes to the overall comments that George Ledyard was making. By assumption, to capture some elements of the ki-related training, George indicates that standard approach of sincere devotion to some other art, etc., because he understands the drill. In a lot of ways, I've always been somewhat against that approach. My interest is purely in the mechanics and how-to's of those skills... that's my focus, not some martial art. My reasoning is that the truly interesting thing about Asian martial arts are these kinds of training techniques. Self-defense I could already do a long time ago.

And while I enjoy talking about these things (you'd be surprised how many helpful pointers I glean just in all these dialogues with people) and I enjoy meeting a lot of fine people who are in the martial arts, I would have to put the character issue as part of the mechanics things... I wouldn't show some jerk how to do anything either. I don't want some "jerk" to know how to do things that might put him in a position of power of some nice-guy neophyte in the future. I.e., if you really care about good martial arts, you do your best to help the "good" people and stymie the losers, the ego-centric, etc.

If you notice from Dan Harden's posts and from Rob John's (I can think of others, but I have to draw from the ones this forum is familiar with), there's always the undercurrent issue of trying to be nice and say "there's something here" and yet have to put up with what often amounts to affronts. I think Dan spoke several times, in essence, of having tried to say something to people in various martial arts that "there is something missing", but only getting red-assed for his efforts.

So yeah.... attitude is important. I think if you watch for the ideal attitude among the people that "got it", they worked hard, thought hard, asked intelligent questions, and remained emotionally neutral. And sure, there's bogus people with bogus claims... some are easy to spot, but often it's a matter of asking the right questions until they're unmasked. Sniping just wastes everyone's time, of course.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 05-29-2006, 03:32 PM   #395
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Mike Wrote:

Quote:
think Dan spoke several times, in essence, of having tried to say something to people in various martial arts that "there is something missing", but only getting red-assed for his efforts.
It is tough to have invested years of effort, blood, sweat, and tears into your training...only to have someone come along and say this! RIght or Wrong.

I am really trying hard in my martial career to avoid having this happen to me. Part of the risk is that I have become a "jack of all trades" and a "master of none" at this point. I am hoping one day when I retire...that I will be able to assimilate much of my experiences and be happy and content!

If I get that far...that would be nice...but how would I know that I am not deluded???

It is a tough road to travel!
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Old 05-29-2006, 03:49 PM   #396
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Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
It is tough to have invested years of effort, blood, sweat, and tears into your training...only to have someone come along and say this! RIght or Wrong.
True. I see both sides of it, though. Remember that my interest/curiosity was about the mechanics of something truly odd that I felt.... *after* I had already had a goodly amount of experience in competition judo, karate, and many physical disagreements in many settings. So I tend to come from "clinical curiosity", not from any martial style or martial status where I would be defensive. If someone says, "I know something you don't know", my immediate reaction is to say "yeah, what?". If you see what I'm saying. Additionally, there's this "Dumb Ole Asian" thing I've talked about before. Here we are saying that they have these brilliant martial arts styles, but the ki stuff they were talking about, ALL of them, was just bunkum. Or maybe we're arrogant and wrong, eh??? So I look or ask questions until I'm dead sure... I don't take offense very easily.
Quote:
I am really trying hard in my martial career to avoid having this happen to me. Part of the risk is that I have become a "jack of all trades" and a "master of none" at this point. I am hoping one day when I retire...that I will be able to assimilate much of my experiences and be happy and content!
Good. Each to his own. Me... I look at this interest in the body mechanics and ki-related stuff as being an honest investment that will pay off in my old age. The strength of just muscles and youth will fade... this kind of stuff (for obvious reasons, once you get into it) pays off with strength and quality of life in old age. And that's a common perspective all throughout Asia.
Quote:
If I get that far...that would be nice...but how would I know that I am not deluded???
If you can't show it or use it realistically, it ain't real. Notice how I always try to avoid saying "it works in a fight"? That's because I don't have any hangups about fights and I've been in a lot of them, so the testosterone stuff doesn't mean a lot to me. If this stuff is realistic and it will realistically benefit the 105-pound young lady that consistently attends class but who doesn't have that male hang up about "fightin", I don't want to dissuade her by all this talk about "it's gotta work in the ring". If that's all it was good for, I'd say it, but these kinds of strengths are really good for just daily usage around the house and work. So, yeah, it's gotta work, but I don't say, "It's gotta kick butt in a fight".

FWIW

Mike
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Old 05-29-2006, 04:35 PM   #397
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Mike Wrote:

Quote:
If you can't show it or use it realistically, it ain't real. Notice how I always try to avoid saying "it works in a fight"? That's because I don't have any hangups about fights and I've been in a lot of them, so the testosterone stuff doesn't mean a lot to me. If this stuff is realistic and it will realistically benefit the 105-pound young lady that
I am over it too. RIght now though, my main focus is training soldiers for very specific conditions...so naturally my mind, thoughts, and perspective will tend to center around practical applications.

The interesting thing is that we ((Modern Army Combatives) is really geared toward teaching principles of proper movement and muscle memory vice "step 1,2, 3...Kiah!". However, our focus tends to be very narrow, specific, and physical in nature. A good base to build upon.

It does favor the physicality, full speed, and resistance though...which will build skill quickly in young soldiers.

What I am findng here lately though is that I cannot "hang" anylonger in the speed, endurance, and agility categories with these younger guys.

So, yes, there will need to be "something else" if I stay with it....there is an old saying about old warriors.....something about they "never die.....they just fade away!"

Anyway, continues to be a great discussion.
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Old 05-29-2006, 06:37 PM   #398
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

I just got back...Wow. Been busy here.

Just to respond to my name being brought up twice.

George

Daito ryu and Ueshiba
As you know and have mentioned; Ueshiba is a Daito ryu man. Folks can say what they like. But it is what it is. The aikido seen today, came later as a product mostly of others. The paperwork and interviews are all there. The body connection and structure of Ueshiba, even many of the demonstrations, including the Jo work, is shared by his teacher, contemporaries and seniors; Takeda, Sagawa, and Kodo. With these men and Ueshiba- you see body skills. Serious body training.
One only need look at the breadth of Aikido as an art today, the players –father to son-to later students and then draw a corollary to Daito ryu to see what is equally telling- that even in Daito ryu, as with Aikido, it missed most players. And there are those in Daito ryu today who openly dismiss these skills as unimportant and are public about that view.
With my new CMA friends I am discovering it is not widely trained there either.


Replication
It is worthy of note that Takeda did NOT leave many who displayed these skills.
I will leave it up to the pundits to wonder why.
What makes a Sagawa?
A Kodo?
A Ueshiba?
Why did most miss it?
But equally interesting is why was Takeda capable of leaving us Sagawa? Kodo? And Ueshiba?

On the whole this type of training is just not for most people. One needs to allow for talent, and obsessive solo work, then constant, never ending….failure. Anyone in this for an ego boost or fast results will quickly leave. In fact I think it is the pervading reason for the lost skill idea people are talking about. It isn’t “lost” but it is so far flung and rare it might as well be. Even then there are pieces here, some knowledge there. And not all of it may be in one pair of hands. With that you have to be open minded and look. One piece of advice. Never…..ever…..lie to those so gracious to share information. Never kid yourself and be so prideful as to say “I already knew that.” That leaves folks bitter. And overall give credit where credit is due. Once that is in place you can make friends and explore together

Some general thoughts
IMO The immediate connection is Daito ryu and not China. Now, that said, the overall "real".....connection –is- China. I think it is inescapable. Folks can argue all the day long about where it is a better fit. Mikes argument for learning Kokyu/jin /ki –for-Aikido and not in other places has some merit. I learned most from Daito ryu and other things now from CMA. But I work jujutsu. So as I continue to explore and learn I think in those terms or themes.

I am saddened that folks have missed out. But finding teachers for these skills is very hard. Even when you do, most don’t show. I have seen men train for twelve years and not be shown things others were shown privately after a few. It is a difficult road of talent, obsessive training and tangible results. Teachers do guard inner things.

Fighting, tricks, and demonstrations
The fight connection and Internal skills keeps coming up. That they have merit, significantly so, in fighting is without question in my mind. But if we are seriously trying to talk as like minded friends we need to acknowledge the effort put forth in thousands of words by myself and others for these skills being of use for day to day strengths, health benefits and an overall better way to move I gave up trying, but come on you guys, how many times do we have to say the same thing?
In martial arts use any measurable scale of interest you may have. These skills can and are useful to that degree “you” use to gauge your current interest. You don’t have to join me on the heavy bag or on the floor. Who cares? You can do what “you” do. And just do it better.
In the end, it just may be a better way to move. The smaller guys I have taught these things too love the fact that it makes them –in effect- stronger in feel and heavier to move. And various aspects of being able or prepared-heck even fighting acumen-.go far beyond the narrow confines of a ring venue.

Last, I am grateful that someone noticed I am almost always nice.

Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 05-29-2006 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 05-29-2006, 07:04 PM   #399
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Mike Wrote:
It is tough to have invested years of effort, blood, sweat, and tears into your training...only to have someone come along and say this! (somethings missing) RIght or Wrong.

I am really trying hard in my martial career to avoid having this happen to me. Part of the risk is that I have become a "jack of all trades" and a "master of none" at this point. I am hoping one day when I retire...that I will be able to assimilate much of my experiences and be happy and content!

If I get that far...that would be nice...but how would I know that I am not deluded???

It is a tough road to travel!
Here's the thing though Kevin. What you just said is exactly what I walked into as well. I just never attached ego -or myself- to it. I have a saying. “I don’t care who’s right or wrong. I care what is right or wrong.
Lets just say I was very jaded about Martial arts in general, and teachers who either sucked or had "personal issues." Not many guys were going to impress me much past 5 min.

I saw and felt something that I could not explain-not more pretzel logic stuff. Real body skill and power. And I watched as guys shrugged, could not see any use or reason to spend so much time on it and went…..for more techniques.
I have now met other people who like Mike, Rob, Ark, and me cared less about what we "thought" we knew and were smart enough to say.."Will you show me how to do that please?"

As for hanging with the younger guys?
This helps! Even when you lose they’re gonna tell you what a handful you were. And no one will want to get hit or kicked by you more than once.
After that it’s a better way to be young or old and to work.


Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 05-29-2006 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 05-29-2006, 07:37 PM   #400
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
To place an emphasis on developing internal power using Chinese methods would entail some substantial refocusing. So I remain unclear about how the process of re-discovering what was lost and re-introducing it to our training should proceed in a way that the larger mass of Aikido practitioners would benefit.
Just a quick comment,
I don't think it necessary to use Chinese methods to develop the body skills. I think there's a general lack of knowledge in traditional japanese methods of solo training.

In fact the ways you can train are numerous, even within a Jp only cultural context...Shiko, Spear training, Sumo exercises, understanding how to actually train with sword, other various body aligment exercises within jp styles etc.

At the bare minimum, if this were addressed, I think you'd see a jump in skill in those people that are willing to put the time and effort into this kind of repeitious training. (I will say it's hardly boring tho, once you get into the groove of things).

Really though, most "masters" were innovative in their exercises, and created their own custom made curriculum for themselves, once they understood exactly how they needed to train their bodies. This goes for Takeda, Sagawa, Ueshiba etc etc. Really I think that's what set them apart from everyone else.

Quoting Sagawa
(I am NOT a sagawa nutrider, I don't even do Daitoryu, lol, and I think the guy was a cocky SOB, but he is so quotable it's hard to resist )

"All you people, you try so desperately to learn from me, want me to teach you everything, while I've been innovating on my own for the past 20 years. Use your goddamn heads for once!
That's why you'll never be as good as me. "
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