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Old 11-24-2006, 08:31 AM   #26
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote:
But it does worry me. I'm not sure how to fix it.
Hi Clark:

I don't worry about it too much, although I do make an effort to bring what little I can to the table and to keep looking. The reason I don't worry about it is that I've kept my own world very small. I don't teach or do anything in martial arts that has any real effect on my livelihood or family. I avoid martial organizations or anything that gives me "status" that I might feel be tempted to defend.

What I think of is 3 things:

1. I've been there, learning from teachers who were "nice guys", good with techniques, etc., and who simply didn't know these basics, so I was frustrated. I always picture that somewhere out there are younger versions of me who don't get into the rol-playing BS and who simply want good information about this puzzle of the movement/body skills.

2. It would be a complete and utter shame to watch a soap-opera where people are claiming intense loyalty and love for a certain martial art and yet who won't expend their every effort to find out all there is to know.

3. If I was a teacher and truly concerned about students instead of my own life, the "how to fix it" would be paramount in my mind. The way my mind works, the thought that I might have wasted some other human being's life and loyalty by being his/her "teacher" and then having not been able to give them what they wanted and needed ... that thought is repugnant to me. I would and do automatically move to correct holes in what I know, particularly if I have put out a shingle as a teacher.

But that's just my sad story. I worry about people.

Best.

Mike
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Old 11-24-2006, 11:12 AM   #27
crbateman
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Nothing wrong with worrying about people, Mike. I wish more folks did that. As for me, I just try to put what I have learned, little as it is, out there for others to benefit from if they so choose, and go about my business looking into those things I haven't learned (which could fill libraries, I'm afraid). I try to ask productive questions of everyone, and I encourage others to do likewise. It is my feeling that whenever two people meet, there is ALWAYS something each can learn from the other.

Change will naturally occur. But I think it's important that much of what O'Sensei put together for us during an extraordinary lifetime be made available for those down the road, and that is what I see disappearing. People should at least have the chance to evaluate those lessons and decide for themselves. But with time, the authenticity of the transmission is fading, methinks.
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Old 11-24-2006, 11:17 AM   #28
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote:
Change will naturally occur.
Hi Clark:

Well, it's been my experience that change of this sort only comes about by a lot of effort by a few people.... and gradually and grudgingly the others follow (that's the operative word) along.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 11-24-2006, 04:14 PM   #29
jeff.
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

as someone pretty young in the art (3rd kyu -- two years in), but who has read a lot of the lit (been reading books on eastern thought, esp aikido, for 15+ years of my 31), i think i can back up the notion that being told, in a sense, doesn't really do anything for you. i can recite to you osensei's bio, discuss the finer points of ki theories (including as related to chi & shakti / prana, etc.), etc. but applying these to technique, my life, or even really understanding the feel is, i think, beyond me.

i got all excited yesterday because i made a rather minor breakthru while practicing aikitaiso and bokken kata on my own... but i'm sure its nothing that could not have been helped along by a teacher ready to teach such things. not that my sensei isn't awesome, but its not his focus.

but, esp here in west virginia, there is so little access to anything. i don't know who to talk to, and even if i did i'm not sure how much time i have. and i certainly do not have the money to back up expanding my practices or traveling.

i'm sure for me some of the gaps could be filled by training in serious yoga and sincere internal chinese arts, but again the time and money issues and the simple fact that its frustrating that its not all available to me via aikido. that this hole even exists. i watch videos of abe-sensei or sunadomari-sensei and feel like this knowledge is out there. but how do i access it? here in west virginia, with limited resources?

so i see the value and problems in this training methodology. and i am certainly aware of the holes. i'm in love with aikido, but...

jeff.
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Old 11-24-2006, 11:23 PM   #30
crbateman
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Jeff, just do the best you can with the resources you have at hand. Get in the dojo and train. Continue to reach out through the 'net. Read more books (most libraries will borrow the ones you want if they don't have them). No, you can't learn everything from books, but books make you think, which gives rise to questions, which presses you forward to get more answers. (But remember, just because you read something in a book does not mean it's factual, so keep a lively mind.) There are many online articles and videos that may prove useful. Get in the dojo and train. Check out any seminars you may have access to, particularly those with several instructors from different backgrounds. And get in the dojo and train. You'll be surprised how many things you experience there will remind you of something you've read. At 31, you are still young. Give yourself time to experience, and don't be frustrated if your resources are lacking, as it will likely get better with time. Enjoy the journey. And did I mention to get in the dojo and train?
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Old 11-25-2006, 09:27 AM   #31
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
...The thrust of my comment is that while I like a few parts of the perspective that Tohei gives for developing Ki, the whole of his instruction is needlessly vague, given the clues that he indeed knows how to be clearer. Just relaxing and "breathing in the ki of the universe" won't magically develop any skills. I think that many of the Ki Society upper dans know this by now... they should speak up, perhaps. Ki skills are a part of all Aikido, not just Tohei's branch.

Just my 2 cents.

Mike Sigman
This breathing in the ki of the universe is becoming one with the universe. This is aikido on a universal or absolute level.
Quote:
Koichi Tohei wrote:
...To unify mind and body and become one with the Universe is the ultimate purpose of our study. - Ki Society Motto
Where did he get this concept of becoming one with the Universe? From the founder.
Quote:
Morihei Ueshiba wrote:
(Aikido) is the path that brings our hearts into oneness with the spirit of the universe to complete our purpose in life by instilling in us a love and reverence for all of nature. "Enlightenment through Aikido" pg.8
Quote:
Kanshu Sunadomari wrote:
The Founder often spoke of "becoming one with the universe." "Enlightenment through Aikido" pg. 100
Because of the political fall-out that is still around from K. Tohei's leaving Aikikai, it might be wiser for those in Aikikai who want to study "ki" skills to label them "kokyu". This distinguishes them from the focus that K. Tohei had and links them more closely to traditional training.

However since many people studying aikido are only interested in how to win a fight, kokyu skills are not really needed.
Quote:
Kanshu Sunadomari wrote:
The cultivation of kokyu power is a state that comes through a lifetime of training and the attainment of the highest level of unity of body and spirit. "Enlightenment through Aikido" pg. 136
Why waste the time? Those who are actively seeking these skills will find them. You did.

Last edited by tedehara : 11-25-2006 at 09:30 AM.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 11-25-2006, 09:39 AM   #32
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Quote:
Jeff Miller wrote:
i watch videos of abe-sensei or sunadomari-sensei and feel like this knowledge is out there. but how do i access it? here in west virginia, with limited resources?
Personally, I don't think many people understand that a lot of the arts we think of as having "been around a long time in the U.S." are simply incomplete versions of the full art. I was reading some comments from some of the old-timers on rec.martial-arts about how they had been sure that they were the cat's meow with the Karoddy, Judo, and things that they practiced "back in the day". Now they realize how embarrassingly incomplete it was.

I think the same thing is going on here. We're on the cusp of some fairly big changes in terms of the ki-skills, etc., and they're not just levels of sophistication.... they're basics that got missed by a lot of the current teaching population (although most will brazenly tell you they have those skills, in my experience).

In other words, Jeff, think of it like this. Instead of being the beginner who is far behind, you're actually out in the front wave of some very exciting things. Learn what you can, but keep your mind open to the idea that there's usually some glaring omissions that you'll have to leave room in your head to correct for later.

One of the things in my thinking is the possibility that if some of this stuff can be openly broken out into the open, more of the old deshi will perhaps begin to share more of what they know.

Mark Reeder and Ron Meyer at the Boulder Aikikai Dojo attempted to write a book on how to use the "Center" and they did a lot of interviews with Hiroshi Ikeda. In some ways, I think their questioning forced Ikeda to think more about these things. When Ikeda damaged his knees in hard practice, I think he thought even more about the necessity of the ki/kokyu skills and hence the next step winds up with his getting Ushiro Sensei involved. The dam has a big crack in it, so I have pretty positive feelings.

In terms of "just practice", I don't believe in that because too often you have a teacher who doesn't really know as much as he should and the "practice" is not really practice that moves you forward.... it's just Aikido-like exercise.

Do what you gotta do, but keep your eyes open and go see the real "big dogs", not just the usual seminar circuit, whenever you can. That's what I do.... I try to go and see only the best so I can find out what the "best" do and then I can set my sights on the real "best", not someone else's "take on what the best might be".

Regards,

Mike
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Old 11-25-2006, 09:41 AM   #33
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

I have a quote to show that the final part of Ted's post is contradictory to the subject matter of a budo or bujutsu forum: "From the start, that which is called bujutsu is not something to cause victory and defeat or distinguish strong from weak between people. If a person is studying bujutsu for that purpose, it is better for him not to have started at all. Instead, that which cannot exist as competition is bujutsu."

Kuroda Testuzan, from "Ki-ken-tai-icchi no bujutsu-teki shintai wo tsukuru"
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Old 11-25-2006, 10:01 AM   #34
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
This breathing in the ki of the universe is becoming one with the universe. This is aikido on a universal or absolute level.
Where did he get this concept of becoming one with the Universe? From the founder.
Hi Ted:

There was an old story (and I think it's discredited now, but what the hey... it's a good story) told by D.T. Suzuki in which a man used a knife to carve the flesh from animals (he was a butcher, I think) and because he always allowed the blade of his knife to follow the path of no resistance when cutting through the meat, the knife never got dull. This is a symbolic story that is very much in line with the actual idea of "becoming one with the universe", Ted. It is not a some mental high, some ethereal "zoning out", that makes you a spiritual partner with far-away galaxies.

Aikido is supposed to lead to this same sort of "no resistance; one with the universe" state, in theory, but it is speaking of the real-world, not world of shared water-pipes in rooms with colorful pictures of the "Energy Body" on the wall.
Quote:
Because of the political fall-out that is still around from K. Tohei's leaving Aikikai, it might be wiser for those in Aikikai who want to study "ki" skills to label them "kokyu". This distinguishes them from the focus that K. Tohei had and links them more closely to traditional training.
Maybe I'm a dullard, but I just don't see it. Other than Tohei's quasi-religious, self-help stuff, I don't see any of his physical stuff that is really and different from the things Ueshiba espoused. My only problem was that in the earlier days of Aikido, there wasn't as much information about all the things Ueshiba did... so we thought Tohei was doing new and different stuff.

The point being... Tohei did good Aikido using ki/kokyu, Ueshiba certainly did, Shioda did, Sunadomari did, Abe does, and so on. Some of the factions have indeed gone off on, IMO, tangents that lead away from Aikido, but few of the founders of the original groups were doing anything much different from good Aikido. So rather that fostering a separation of the factions, I think the commonalities should be enjoyed.
Quote:
However since many people studying aikido are only interested in how to win a fight, kokyu skills are not really needed.
Why waste the time? Those who are actively seeking these skills will find them. You did.
Whoa... Ted. There are some people doing martial arts who want to fight?????? Can you pm me with some names???

There is a comment by Shioda Koncho in his "Aikido Shugyo" where he mentions that both he and Ueshiba did a lot of the ki stuff "for old age". It's an investment in old age. And how long and healthily you live is a fixation in the Orient.

Health and strength, Ted. Not fighting. Cynic that I am, I'm willing to testify, from personal experience, that my strength and physical health have improved in ways I would not have imagined possible when I first heard all the hyperbole about Ki and "health". That's why I do it. That's why I recommend it.

Best Regards,

Mike
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Old 11-25-2006, 10:06 AM   #35
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
This breathing in the ki of the universe is becoming one with the universe. This is aikido on a universal or absolute level.
Ted, if you will follow the simple directions I gave in the "deep breathing" thread, it's a *start* to making you "one with the universe" and it will "condense the ki at your navel" and all the other ancient ways of describing it. When you breathe correctly, you can feel a part of you under the skin (and more places, later) expanding and contracting. If you are breathing without that, you are not doing Ki breathing. Imagination isn't enough.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 11-25-2006, 10:07 AM   #36
DH
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

I agree with Mike except to add that thinking the big dogs "have it."
Will prove to be a long path frought with many winding turns that may lead nowhere.

In truth, I think a lot of the guys at the top ain't got squat. Just technique, and maybe a relaxed body, technique, and a good measure of cooperative students.
It would be facinating to see just how few have truly worthwhile pieces.

Here's another unpopular opinion.
Men hide what they don't have just as often as what they do have. It is a long road to discover which is which if you don't have the tools to discern the difference in the first place.
Last
It is my opinion that you don't get there unless you train solo bodywork.
Where are the solo training drills to build the connections that have been there under which Big dogs?
Takeda trained solo, Sagawa did, Ueshiba did.
When I talked about solo training eleven years ago no one knew, gave a rats ass and even scoffed at the idea on the net.
What changed? Or never was, but now has become... something that was always there.
Another big question is who has what?
I find it hard to believe that some-one- has it all.
I find the concept of "exploring the internal landscape" intriquing. But in itself is a life long, difficult road.
Who has a -great kernal of truth- but has not trained it or learned it well... so is dissmised as having real depth.
Who has a -lesser kernal- that he trained really, really, well so he sends folks down a lesser path.
Its hard to tell the difference.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 11-25-2006 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 11-25-2006, 10:48 AM   #37
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
In truth, I think a lot of the guys at the top ain't got squat. Just technique, and maybe a relaxed body, technique, and a good measure of cooperative students.
Well, maybe that's true (although nactherly I is too genteel to say it like that), but many times the guys at the top (GATT's) have *something*, but it turns out to be charisma, body-size, fighting skills from other arts than the one they're supposedly training people in, aggressiveness (particularly in relation to the stoog.... er, students whom they train), and so on. It's a morrass out there.

What interests me over and over (through the years that I've been around) is the number of GATT's who will demonstrate with unmistakeably external strength, no jin, lots of body mass, etc., and *still* think they've "got some of this stuff". Even with the obvious clues staring them in the face. I see it time and time again. There are more guys who have a piece here and there who are satisfied that "they've got it", than I can shake a stick at. This is what most beginners have to watch out for. Everyone wants to be a "teacher" and wear that cool black skirt. Digging deeply into this stuff is like going to Heaven... everyone wants to do it; but not yet.

Mike
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Old 11-25-2006, 01:01 PM   #38
Joe Jutsu
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Ki Symbol Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Do what you gotta do, but keep your eyes open and go see the real "big dogs", not just the usual seminar circuit, whenever you can. That's what I do.... I try to go and see only the best so I can find out what the "best" do and then I can set my sights on the real "best", not someone else's "take on what the best might be".

Regards,

Mike
Shaner sensei, Dec.8-10th in Denver, I believe at the Denver Aikikai. It's on the Denver Ki Aikido website. I'll be there, and can't wait!

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Old 11-25-2006, 04:01 PM   #39
raul rodrigo
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Mark Reeder and Ron Meyer at the Boulder Aikikai Dojo attempted to write a book on how to use the "Center" and they did a lot of interviews with Hiroshi Ikeda. In some ways, I think their questioning forced Ikeda to think more about these things.

"Attempted" to write a book? Would that be a criticism of the book that eventually appeared? In your opinion, how effective was the Reeder/Meyer book as a guide to developing internal power and using the center?


R
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Old 11-25-2006, 04:07 PM   #40
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
"Attempted" to write a book? Would that be a criticism of the book that eventually appeared? In your opinion, how effective was the Reeder/Meyer book as a guide to developing internal power and using the center?
Hi Raul:

Just take it as a garbled attempt on my part at saying "while they were attempting to write the book, Ikeda had to think how to say things...".

I haven't read the book in a while, but I think that it was a start in the right direction, although not really complete. You have to remember that when they wrote that book (not all that long ago) they were essentially trying to come to grips with how to say something that the Aikido population at large would have nothing to do with (other than to try to imply "we already do that", of course).

Best.

Mike
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Old 11-25-2006, 08:45 PM   #41
Thomas Campbell
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

"This is the first book that seriously discusses how Aikido works. Buy it."
---Mike Sigman, former editor of "Internal Strength Magazine"

from the back cover

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Old 11-26-2006, 02:34 PM   #42
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Quote:
Gernot Hassenpflug wrote:
I have a quote to show that the final part of Ted's post is contradictory to the subject matter of a budo or bujutsu forum:...
No judgments, I just tells it like I sees it.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
...There is a comment by Shioda Koncho in his "Aikido Shugyo" where he mentions that both he and Ueshiba did a lot of the ki stuff "for old age". It's an investment in old age. And how long and healthily you live is a fixation in the Orient.

Health and strength, Ted. Not fighting. Cynic that I am, I'm willing to testify, from personal experience, that my strength and physical health have improved in ways I would not have imagined possible when I first heard all the hyperbole about Ki and "health". That's why I do it. That's why I recommend it.

Best Regards,

Mike
There seems to be a real difference between your view of old age and Jon Bluming

Quote:
Jose Fraguas wrote:
Don't forget that the injuries you get when you are young stay with you, and the ones you get when you are 70 years old will not go away as easily as they did when you were a young kid. Trust me. The old injuries will play a big part in your daily life after you are 55 or 60 years old. Arthritis will set in on these joints and old fractures. I can honestly say that I have hardly had a single day without any pain for the last 30 years. And it is getting worse as we speak. My doctor says I'd better stop fighting right now. But I told him it is my hobby and that is the price I must pay. If I stop, I will die.
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
...Imagination isn't enough.
You can call it imagination or daydreaming. However because of the structure, I would consider it guided imagery.

After looking around, I have to agree with you on your position concerning K. Tohei. From Dec. 1997 Seidokan Communicator "Shodo-O-Seisu"
Quote:
Doug Wedell wrote:
He (Rod Kobayashi) related all this to Tohei Sensei one day in a private lesson and his teacher said, "Oh yes, that's shodo-o-seisu. (control the first move)" Kobayashi Sensei saw that he was on the right track and continued to develop applications of the principle. He was surprised when his teacher never mentioned it again or described its importance to others.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 11-26-2006, 05:18 PM   #43
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
There seems to be a real difference between your view of old age and Jon Bluming
Heck, I thought we'd already seen that Bluming disagrees with a lot of famous Japanese martial artists. I know the classical view of the ki skills are for...and that's as an investment in old age because it allows an older person to be unusually strong without having to be big and mean. Shioda and Ueshiba appear to agree with that classical view. You may agree with the big and mean view. Each to his own.

Mike
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Old 11-26-2006, 09:48 PM   #44
Nick Pagnucco
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

I own the Meyer & Reeder book, and I like it. Aikidokas often like to talk about one's center, and it definitely does that.

Just as Mike predicted, I had a 'we do that already' reaction when I started the book... Then I very quickly ate my words (thoughts?) when I started realizing that I have rarely experienced the effects of a good center-to-center connection. I've felt something I think qualifies twice, when I got to feel Takeguchi Shihan and Konigsberg Shihan at seminars. It gave me some things to think about involving connection.

It also is very much in line with the ground-path stuff that Mike talks about. It uses that vocabulary instead of others. As such, it reads very differently than Tohei's books, to the point that its hard for me to connect them (caused by my lack of experiential knowledge, I suspect). Meyer & Reeder seem to associate connection to ground path, and Tohei seems to promote kokyu / extending ki through visualizations & metaphor (as has already been mentioned).

Last edited by Nick Pagnucco : 11-26-2006 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 11-26-2006, 10:29 PM   #45
Thomas Campbell
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

[
Quote:
Nicholas Pagnucco wrote:
I own the Meyer & Reeder book, and I like it. Aikidokas often like to talk about one's center, and it definitely does that.

Just as Mike predicted, I had a 'we do that already' reaction when I started the book... Then I very quickly ate my words (thoughts?) when I started realizing that I have rarely experienced the effects of a good center-to-center connection. [snip]
I like the Meyer and Reeder book, too. I bought copies for local libraries in towns I was living and working in, largely because of Mike's recommendation and the clarity of exposition in the book taking the idea of ground path and connection to center and putting it into an aikido context. Playing with some experienced aikidoka at the time, they were able to put the material into real-life physical context.

My limited practical understanding of the concept of "ki" as Tohei presents it in "Aikido in Daily Life" does differ from what I see Meyer and Reeder writing about . . . but there's got to be a bridge somewhere.

I was talking about this with someone else, who suggested that the tanren "body skill" paradigm hinted at in Akuzawa Minoru's training methodology and Dan Harden's descriptions, which focus on the practitioner's development and control of his own body, and the "ki extension" Tohei taught, which seems to focus more on what the uke is feeling, are two sides of the same coin.

As Mike pointed out, it is worthwhile to go back to books and teachings like Tohei's and re-evaluate what was being said and taught at the time, in light of what we're investigating today. Ellis Amdur's multi-part writings on (possible) sources of Ueshiba Morihei's skill and practice, which you can find at his aikidojournal.com blog, are very worthwhile reading as well.
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Old 11-27-2006, 09:01 AM   #46
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Thomas and Mike's personal "discussion" has been excised and moved here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11366

... although, in the future, please take this kind of exchange to private e-mail/messages and not here in the Forums.

-- Jun

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Old 11-27-2006, 09:15 AM   #47
Thomas Campbell
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Thanks, Jun.
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Old 11-27-2006, 09:20 AM   #48
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
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Re: "Aikido in Daily Life" & Ki

Hmmmmm..... Jun, wouldn't it be better to change the subject header, too, so that there's not two threads of the same name?

Mike
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