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Old 12-05-2006, 03:03 PM   #51
Mike Sigman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
Dunno how quickly they can be learned in a form deep enough to be applicable to a system's external techniques.
I think that one of the problems is that a few "applicable" things can be learned fairly easily and that's enough for a lot of people to say "Oh sure... we got ki skills" when in fact they've probably got a few pieces. The trick would be to get an idea what the full range of ki skills really is, delineate the ones for complete usage in Aikido, and set that as a nominal standard. IMO.

What I find over and over is that too many people are quick to think they've got 'em or are so close to having got 'em that it's not a big deal, when looking at the large picture of their already fine and subtle understanding of Aikido, Karate, Taiji, you name it. Sorry to be such a cynic, but seriously... I find that everytime I get positive and encouraging about these things, it comes back to haunt me and I feel that I'd have been more helpful if I'd been reserved.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 12-05-2006, 03:34 PM   #52
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Mike,
Perhaps a lot of that situation is a Western phenomenon. How many people in our "gotta get it now" society are committed to a long-term, deep -- even lifelong -- pursuit of something so esoteric? Especially when an external kick, punch or joint lock is instant gratification?

Maybe the "moral-ethical" question is, does one offer it up to all comers, in hopes that some will stick it out and learn fully? Continue to be a voice crying in the wilderness? Or does one save it and "give" it only to the ones that prove their mettle?

In the ideal world, I'd love to see it re-integrated into aikido (which, of course, would change the way aikido is done, and looks) and elsewhere where it "should" be. In our hi-tech age, to keep these things as "secrets" does not serve the purpose it did 700 years ago, when family combat systems meant life or death to a clan.

Given human nature, I believe that the mainstream and its "good enough for us" curriculum will always be the norm, while the deeper skills will persist and be perpetuated in small, relatively obscure pockets. But rather than be cynical, I choose to accept that not all knowledge, no matter how elegant we think it is, will ever be given its due. It's there for those who truly seek and want it, though.

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 12-05-2006 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 12-05-2006, 03:52 PM   #53
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Practical internal training ?

A thought on the teaching style: even someone like Kuroda Testuszan who was born into a family with a tradition of jujutsu, did not begin to comprehend the power of the kata until well into his thirties. His father and grandfather used to say that their ideal is to leave behind the kata as an inheritance. If the kata remained in existence in some form, then someone or other with the right mind would be able to see its meaning and train themselves. If that could happen, they would have succeeded in their duty. There was never thought to explicitly teaching all the details to anyone, althought the number of hints might be greater or lesser. Specifically, Kuroda states that with respect to the kata, his grandfather only ever used to say one or two things repeatedly, and when Kuroda finally started to grasp the truth behind the kata, he realized that what he had been told was true, but not in the sense that he had though before. So, as far as I am concerned, the teaching tradition in Japan and possibly the rest of Asia simply does not premise a good practitioner actively teaching students anything. In a Western sense that could be interpreted as "purposely showing only in order to maintain an edge" but that is not necessarily the case.
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Old 12-05-2006, 03:59 PM   #54
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
That UEshiba allegedly didn't explicitly instruct after the war means little in my opinion. Perhaps the students, bored and distracted from the "god stuff" weren't paying attention when he showed exactly what to do.
Best
That may be so, but it's hard to believe that a dedicated student could watch a small, frail old man do amazing things that seem to defy reality, and not want to be able to do that. But, of course, I'm speaking from the standpoint of someone who finds it fascinating and wants to pursue it deeply. The crowds love a good magic show, but that doesn't mean they want to learn prestidigitation.

I do see the possibility that Ueshiba may ultimately have gotten tired, fed-up, or just figured no one thought the internal stuff was as important or awesome as he had found it, and decided that if anyone really wanted to learn it, they could bloody well pick it apart themselves without his having to go to the effort of instilling it in them.

Anyway, it's all armchair musing. What I'd give for a time machine and a Cloack of Invisibility...

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 12-05-2006 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 12-05-2006, 04:17 PM   #55
Mike Sigman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
Perhaps a lot of that situation is a Western phenomenon. How many people in our "gotta get it now" society are committed to a long-term, deep -- even lifelong -- pursuit of something so esoteric? Especially when an external kick, punch or joint lock is instant gratification?
I'm not sure, Cady. It's *possible* that part of the problem also could have been some get-it-now-got-it-now Japanese teachers could have been part of the problem in the chain, too. I'm just not sure... so I don't want to download on just the westerners.
Quote:
Maybe the "moral-ethical" question is, does one offer it up to all comers, in hopes that some will stick it out and learn fully? Continue to be a voice crying in the wilderness? Or does one save it and "give" it only to the ones that prove their mettle?
Personally, while I tend to be fairly open with what little I do know, there are things beyond basics that I wouldn't freely give to people I thought didn't meet certain criteria. Each person has to make their own decisions in that regard, though.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 12-05-2006, 04:40 PM   #56
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
It's *possible* that part of the problem also could have been some get-it-now-got-it-now Japanese teachers could have been part of the problem in the chain, too. I'm just not sure... so I don't want to download on just the westerners.
That is a good point. Human nature doesn't have cultural boundaries.
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Old 12-05-2006, 11:31 PM   #57
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
[[Summarizing]]Cady - I'm seeing more and more evidence that, pre-war, Ueshiba taught these things. How else did Tomiki learn ... AND Shioda M-A-Y have learned a little ...
I think after the war,... he was not interested in making an effort. I will assert that he openly showed things [but] If you didn't get it from seeing it, maybe you weren't worth it. ... I think anyone is on the wrong track when one assumes that a) ueshiba didn't teach any of the good stuff b) that he was inferior in his attainment to the other best students of Sokaku
Is this anything but argument in search of evidence of the preferred outcome?. Isn't the better practice to look at the evidence presented and then make decisisons about what conclusions it can concieveably support and then weigh those theories that it best supports?

Both the Doka quoted above [#18 ] that deny the existence of or any purposes in seeking "secrets" beyond the omote technqiue are from Budo Renshu (1933), not post- war, at all. There is no discontinuity. The only response seem to be that he could not know what he was saying [because it disagrees with their argument].

Why is O Sensei NOT the best witness of what Aikido was, where its revelation came from (kenjutsu) and what it was supposed to accomplish. Internal arts and "the skills" as advocated here are all fine and a venerable tradition, but, and I mean this as a frank and honest question, why does the theory that aikido has lost the secrets of their use, as the proponents say, require contradicting what he actually said about these things?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 12-06-2006, 02:36 AM   #58
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Re: Practical internal training ?

For me at least, the interesting question about all this concerns O Sensei, Tohei and Kisshomaru.

If you look at some footage of Kisshomaru (on for example the aikidojournal postwar greats DVD) there's a scene where he is demonstrating funakogi undo, watching his father do the same exercise with Terry Dobson (in his endearingly short 'foreigner can't get the right sized' hakama) it's quite obvious that O Sensei is using his centre a LOT more and is displaying quite openly some of those 'internal skills'. Kisshomaru however looks like his just copying the motion and isn't using his centre.

Tohei Sensei doing the same exercise appears to most definitely be using his centre quite strongly. However we know that while he was a careful observer of O Sensei, his 'internal skills' came mostly from the Tempukai and some Bell misogi. Tohei's aikido wasn't the same as O Sensei's (I can give some good examples I think of techniques that look to me as though Tohei is trying to throw people like O Sensei, using similar kuzushi but in a different way with different connection to uke).

Tohei started training in 1939 was drafted not long after this. When people say O Sensei wasn't teaching internal skills after the war (or that he was but nobody noticed what he was doing), does this put a date of 1939 on the 'decline' in this actively taught aspect of O Sensei's aikido? Certainly Kisshomaru didn't begin taking an active interest in aikido until the late 1940s early 1950s from what I understand. So that would work out chronologically at least.

One thing that interests me is that the misogi Tohei did at the Ichikukai (spelling?) basically seemed to involve making one so physically exhausted that you had no choice but to do the technique in a coordinated 'internal' way with relaxed power. Your muscles simply wouldn't listen to you otherwise. I can recall my teacher seeing one of my sempai being too physical during randori practice, his solution was to make my sempai do a handstand against a wall and from that position do 20 pressups, after this of course the guy couldn't use his arms properly and so his kokyunage improved.

Could it possible be that the internal skills displayed by the prewar uchideshi such as Tomiki simply be due to the severity of the training at 'Hell's Dojo'? I recall hearing a story of one deshi in the Kobukan being able to push an iron nail into a lump of wood using only his thumb. Could that be it or a part of it? Could it be that Ueshiba never actually explicitly taught internal skills at all but they were fostered by the severity of the early Kobukan training environment? Perhaps aided by hints and tips and the careful observation of his students?

Mike Haft

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
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Old 12-06-2006, 05:50 AM   #59
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Erick - Stating that the essence is in the omote is a reflection of a "commonplace." The gokui are in the first technique. In one sense, this is true in both koryu that I'm licensed - the first cut in each (which, btw, use radically different body mechanics) contains the whole. But without understanding of breathing in coordination with movement, and specific kiai (which includes manipulation of "internal pressure," it's a waste of time. I am quite willing to agree that ikkyo - open/close/dropping power/rise-fall is the essence of aikido. That still begs the question as to what he was doing that his son (whose ukemi I took on regular occasion) and the other top shihan at Honbu (whose ukemi I also took) did not manifest. (as to the old man "manifesting" it, I have to rely on other's accounts and films - I'm not quite that old).

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Old 12-06-2006, 06:45 AM   #60
Mike Sigman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Both the Doka quoted above [#18 ] that deny the existence of or any purposes in seeking "secrets" beyond the omote technqiue
Erick, everything has an "omote" face and an "ura" face. Those are common terms.... i.e., the douka is not referring to the "omote technique".

FWIW

Mike
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Old 12-06-2006, 07:19 AM   #61
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Practical internal training ?

And even it if does refer to the omote waza..."hidden in plain sight"; to quote Ellis. It's amazing that people still don't get that...

Best,
Ron

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Old 12-06-2006, 09:01 AM   #62
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Personally, while I tend to be fairly open with what little I do know, there are things beyond basics that I wouldn't freely give to people I thought didn't meet certain criteria. Each person has to make their own decisions in that regard, though.
Out of curiosity, what are your criteria?
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Old 12-06-2006, 09:42 AM   #63
Mike Sigman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

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Robert Rumpf wrote:
Out of curiosity, what are your criteria?
Just to keep it simple, I avoid saying anything to anyone (like Chris Moses and I discussed yesterday) who would use this sort of stuff strictly to maintain his pecking-order edge. Also, I tend to favor people who are into these things for functional practice, as opposed to the people who want to add some more talk-theories to their already sizeable repertoire.

Best.

Mike
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Old 12-06-2006, 11:15 AM   #64
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote:
[snip]
One thing that interests me is that the misogi Tohei did at the Ichikukai (spelling?) basically seemed to involve making one so physically exhausted that you had no choice but to do the technique in a coordinated 'internal' way with relaxed power. Your muscles simply wouldn't listen to you otherwise. I can recall my teacher seeing one of my sempai being too physical during randori practice, his solution was to make my sempai do a handstand against a wall and from that position do 20 pressups, after this of course the guy couldn't use his arms properly and so his kokyunage improved.

Could it possible be that the internal skills displayed by the prewar uchideshi such as Tomiki simply be due to the severity of the training at 'Hell's Dojo'? I recall hearing a story of one deshi in the Kobukan being able to push an iron nail into a lump of wood using only his thumb. Could that be it or a part of it? Could it be that Ueshiba never actually explicitly taught internal skills at all but they were fostered by the severity of the early Kobukan training environment? Perhaps aided by hints and tips and the careful observation of his students?

Mike Haft
That's an interesting question, Mike.

Specifically with regard to prolonged nikkyo as one indication of training severity . . . back on 11-26 in the "Non-Compliant Ukemi" thread, Ellis Amdur wrote:

"I believe that Ueshiba, pre-war,taught in a way that ukemi itself was a means of learning internal skills (Shioda describes Inoue continuing nikkyo long after he and Shirata were frantically tapping - I think this was all about teaching the redirection of forces through the body)."

Exhaustion as a training tool in Chinese martial arts and karate . . . often it's justified in terms of "forging spirit," but the student also needs to learn to move more efficiently, use proper alignment, breathe . . . just to endure and persevere.

Today we're a lot more verbal and explicative in trying to reverse-engineer these internal body skills . . . which suits a "modern" learning style, and helps guide practice and motivate . . . but is no substitute for hands-on feeling and diligent solo practice. During the Kobukan era, it seems like Ueshiba Morihei was simply teaching in the same manner he learned (from Takeda and others), by doing.

Just some thoughts.
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Old 12-06-2006, 03:35 PM   #65
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Erick, everything has an "omote" face and an "ura" face. Those are common terms.... i.e., the douka is not referring to the "omote technique".
Is it that the intensive training in the secret "skills" in immoveability inevitably results in this degree of density, does it just occur naturally, or do you have to consciously will it to happen ?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 12-06-2006, 03:43 PM   #66
ChrisMoses
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:
Summarizing again:
Mark, you bring up some excellent questions in this thread and did a great job summarizing what's being said and implied (and pointing out just how obtuse this issue really is). So, here goes…


Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:
Could learn this stuff via:
o Maybe Ki Aikido, might not be the same stuff.
o Maybe some external art but would probably get involved with something useless left to my own devices.
o Maybe my own dojo, if the senior people are working on this.
o Ask sempai. More experienced folks may have some clues.
I'd say that most people will never learn ‘this stuff' in the typical Aikido environment as I've seen it. This might lead one to question if it really has a place in Aikido then, but I'll get to that in a bit… A few will either just do it naturally or will stumble onto something similar. I think Aikido has a long history as a ‘gateway drug' to other arts for this very reason. People who aren't satisfied with good enough start looking elsewhere with the hope of adding new skills or understanding to their Aikido practice, but by the time they're deep enough into whatever external (meaning not Aikido) system that they're studying to enhance that understanding enough to bring something back, they're already deeply entrenched in a new study. I compare it to the "Brain Drain" they talk about in the inner cities or in some countries.

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:
Importance: I don't have enough experience to evaluate this. Nothing that I've read on the web seems convincing that the internal stuff is a serious loss. Many of the comments assume background I just don't have which may explain my not being convinced. Excerpted quotes tend to be able to prove anything, so I trust them almost not at all. No comparisons with my favorite alternate theories of why aikido works.
My question is, are you disappointed with what you're learning or how you are progressing? Are you getting what you want from your experience of studying Aikido? For most people, the answers are emphatically, "Yes." They love what they are studying, the changes it makes in them and being part of a community that's different than most other aspects of our Western society. If your answer is, "Yes," then I'd say it wasn't very important. I'm not being dismissive or making light of the subject either, I honestly believe what I just wrote there. If Aikido wasn't filling a valuable place in peoples' lives AS IS, it wouldn't be as popular as it is today. End of story.

Personally, I experienced a sea change at the first Aikido Journal Expo in Vegas. I was struck simultaneously by how generally disappointed I found myself with the level of skill in the literally hundreds of aikidoka present and awed by how good the non-aikido guest instructors and their students were (namely: Don Angier, Toby Threadgill, Kondo Sensei and Ushiro Sensei). Further, I was impressed with the methodology and clarity of their teaching. Angier would do something incredible and then show you what you needed to do to achieve it. You might not get it right away, but you had a sense for what you were working on. The aikido teachers would then show some techniques and let people practice, or if they were explaining things, would offer some medaphors or mental imagery. I realize both of these are valid tools in teaching, but in my mind, they should fill gaps of understanding rather than form the base of that understanding. Let me preface this next comment with the following disclaimer: I love Ikeda Sensei, I think he's one of the best Aikidoka in the US. His waza is clean, his throws efficient and if he was any kinder I don't think people could stand it. BUT, I don't know how many seminars I've been to with him where he was working his wrist twist thing and ‘teaching' by saying, "See? Working. Not working. Working! Not-working… Ok you try." I've read his guidelines for teachers and they basically say, "Don't." The old "you must steal the technique" teaching paradigm worked in small groups where teachers took the traditional role as uke. I do not believe that it works in larger organizations or perhaps at all in the West. We simply aren't taught to learn that way. After training with Neil for a fairly brief period of time, I could see what Ikeda was doing and replicate it to a large degree. Same with some of the other senior teachers that I've trained with since. The context that I've gotten from outside of Aikido lets me see what's going on with a clarity that I never got from someone in Aikido. I've had multiple experiences where a senior aikido teacher was demonstrating something and sayng, "I don't understand why this works…" and found myself thinking, "I do. Why don't you know why it works?"

So to tie this back into "this stuff" ie internal skills/training and its importance: What I have felt from those who do this stuff (Ark, Don, Neil…) is so similar to what I've felt from the really good aikido teachers (Ikeda, Takeda Yoshinobu, Anno Motomichi…) that it's hard not to make the comparison. Further, their students can replicate these skills to a very large extent and after no where near the length of time that would be expected in aikido. I know when I train with someone and I can't make them budge and I can feel that they're not just messing with me I'm impressed. The first time I trained with Rich Elias was at that same Expo (in Ikeda Sensei's class no less!). I bowed into him about ˝ way through class after training with a lot of people and thinking, "Man what is wrong with these people, they suck…" After a few attempted throws and then getting tossed about like I was a 3 year old (hi David!) I was forced to think, "Man what is wrong with me, I suck!" If you've felt people who really have these skills and then look back on the videos of OSensei or read the accounts of taking ukemi from him you are struck by the similarity. Or maybe it's just me. Ask Robert Chang or Brian Concle about some of the stuff we did where I showed how some of the stuff I've been working on relates to what Ikeda Sensei teaches (and that was before meeting Ark!).



Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:
Criteria for judging the real thing:
Little new. Ask more experienced folks. No reliable way for the uninitiated to evaluate this stuff or the people that may be able to do it. For instance, I've seen many videos that some say exhibit great internal skills. I can see more than a year ago, but not enough to tell what's really going on. As an amature magician let's say I know how easy it is to fool folks.
Man this is really a hard one. When I visited Rob, we talked about the "Oh yeah, we do that too…" thing. It gets really hard to explain or even demonstrate something similar but different to someone without their brain shaping it into something they already know. I was guilty of the same thing with him and Akuzawa. What they were doing looked similar to what we were studying. It was a LOT more different than I expected. But then after working with it for a while, it feels like while it was different, it fills gaps and solves problems that I've been struggling with for years, and even with the very little exposure that I've had to it, I can see real and significant results in my waza. So I guess the criteria comes down to actually feeling it. That sucks, but there ya go. But then you also have to go back to my earlier comments about really looking at what you're getting from your training and what your expectations are. I could very easily imagine someone meeting Ark and thinking, "That's cool, but it has nothing to do with Aikido," the same way lots of people have met Don and had the same reaction. Who knows they could very well be right. After all, most of the detractors on this forum who go on and on about what Aikido's missing are outside of Aikido, looking in. At this point, I'm guilty of that as much as anyone. I suppose I still love Aikido for what it could be, rather than what it is today, I don't know what Dan and Mike's reasons for posting here are. Perhaps, like me, they just like arguing on th3 int3rw3bs…



Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:
Again I hope this passes as a fair summary. Like so much in life someone wanting to learn this stuff will have to dig, know people and work hard. And that's for something they won't know if it's any good or not. My opinion is that there's something useful and amazing out there in the internal area. But my opinion is based on some very shakey grounds. I really need to get out more.

Thanks and best wishes,
Mark
Thanks Mark.

PS: you can ask Nat about his take on what the "push out" exercise felt like, I showed him on Saturday. He probably thought it was a bunch of crap.

Chris Moses
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Old 12-06-2006, 03:52 PM   #67
Mike Sigman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Is it that the intensive training in the secret "skills" in immoveability inevitably results in this degree of density, does it just occur naturally, or do you have to consciously will it to happen ?
I was just going by what you said, my boy.

Besides, do you understand that these exercises will actually make you denser, when done correctly? Your bone density will increase... but for understandable physiological reasons. Sorry... you probably already know all that.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 12-06-2006, 04:20 PM   #68
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Thanks Chris. I did realize when I started the thread that for my own purposes I could just ask you or Jeremy. (Chris was one of my first aikido instructors.) But without you guys I wouldn't have found much of anything I could trust. I got PM's that pointed out local resources I would never have checked out on my own. The danger of ending up a student of and believing someone like that poor old man getting hit by the karate guy in the recent video is all too real.


I very much appreciate the effort and attention. Nat is one of the people I bounce off of and can't move unless he lets me. His opinion should be interesting. I may have other TC specific questions but that's what PM's are for.


Thanks again,
Mark


Some folks were offended by some of my posts and sent me PM's. My apologies.
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Old 12-06-2006, 04:28 PM   #69
ChrisMoses
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:
Thanks Chris. I did realize when I started the thread that for my own purposes I could just ask you or Jeremy.
I'm glad you posted, you offered a much needed call for clarity.


Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:
Some folks were offended by some of my posts and sent me PM's. My apologies.
Wow, that's too bad. I thought you asked some very reasonable questions.

Chris Moses
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Old 12-06-2006, 06:08 PM   #70
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
I'd say that most people will never learn ‘this stuff' in the typical Aikido environment as I've seen it. ... The old "you must steal the technique" teaching paradigm worked in small groups where teachers took the traditional role as uke. I do not believe that it works in larger organizations or perhaps at all in the West. We simply aren't taught to learn that way. ... I've had multiple experiences where a senior aikido teacher was demonstrating something and sayng, "I don't understand why this works…" and found myself thinking, "I do. Why don't you know why it works?"
Western thinking has been bound up in reductionist dialectical learning for about three or four hundred years now (OK, thousands if you count Plato) and we're not about to give it up now -- it has taken us too far.

Has it occurred to anyone else that the reason why there is this sense of lack or ill fit in the learnign of such skills, is because the Western means of learning does not facilitate learning them in the way that the Eastern knowledge paradigms are prepared to teach them? They quite literally get taken out out of the Western learning process, because they are not reductive enough to pass through the fine seive of physical knowledge that is used here. They need to be broken down more.

O Sensei said this very thing. In Budo Renshu, he wrote "Today, it is important to train thinking (all this) in terms of scientific warfare." He also wrote in that same book that students should always be "keeping in mind the principle where...the spirit of Yagyu Jubei [and others] meet." Hiroshi Tada Shihan (9th dan) wrote in an IAF conference address in 2004, and quoted Yagyu Jubei saying "... the root of the art of warfare lies in the understanding of the reason of the mind and its underlying principle. Therefore, the root of the art of warfare is based on the training of mentality..."

What Aikido (and these internal arts) lack is a rigorous theory of action. If that deficit were remedied, then it would make the knowledge more reductive and it would then better pass through the Western seive. These thoughts would have a much better chance of continuity here, if that were the case. It would also put the knowledge back into an intellectually toughened mode of budo rigor that Westerners innately comprehend -- and away from the airy, navel-gazing associations that Westerners (unfairly) give to such knowledge presented in the traditional manner of ki and kokyu skills.

What they have now is the classical East Asian empirical complex of correlations organized into an coherent, organic sytem of reference. Don't get me wrong -- it is useful and rich stuff to mine -- but it must be mined to find the essential nuggets in the cast-off rock. The nearest thing the West ever had to the Chinese traditional knowledge or the Japanese metaphysical tradition used by O Sensei was alchemy.

That type of system enables access to the knowledge and understanding of the correlation schemes that produce reliable results. But it must be duplicated rigorously to ensure the result, since the operative elements are never reduced to explicit terms. Much must be done that is not necessary, because those things were always associated with the process, and there is not a mechanism to test and eliminate them as non-functional agents. They achieve the result and transmission of knowledge -- but do not form a rigorous physical theory -- not in the Western sense of reductive learnign that we so excel at, and therefore prefer.

The closest that anyone I have seen come to this type of Western theory of action is Adele Westbrook and her husband, may he rest in peace, Oscar Ratti. Oscar Ratti's illustration work is particularly valuable in this regard. He had a keen sense of dynamics and a gift for representation in simplified schematic form. His images, if not their attempt at overall sytemization are a serious start. They basically interpreted the traditional mode into non-jargon English. They did not critically examine the nature of the system itself or really even attempt to describe a theory of action in physical or mechanical terms. Of course, no one else really has either.

I am not trying this because I am the best man for it (OH, HARDLY!), but because no else seems to be trying. I am doing it in discussions such as this, because ideas that attempt rigor need knowledgeable criticism and serious challenging to achieve it, without any excuses or apologies for the points scored, either way. Even if we get bogged down in terminology debates. Mike (when his rhetoric allows), Dan and many others have offered useful criticism to me -- which I frequently counter and argue, and they agai in fine counterpunnch fashion. It is all valuable even when wrong nonetheless for a fair swing at a valid target. Meeting and entering into those criticisms allows me to work out the issues even further as I go along this path.

To forestall one objection -- just becasue you put more rigor into a physical description does not mean you sacrifice intuiton and the innate "feel" of the art. Far from it -- the body must still be trained, but with rigor of description will come greater sharpness and rigor in training. Most advanced physics travels on well-trained intiution first and then confirmation for the advancing frontiers of those arts. Aikido should be no different.

By all means, someone please find a gifted physicicist or engineer with good knowledge of aikido to do this and I'll happily watch from the sidelines. Until then, ...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 12-06-2006, 06:17 PM   #71
Mike Sigman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
(trivializing mixed with tap-dancing and verbal aerobatics, par excellence)By all means, someone please find a gifted physicicist or engineer with good knowledge of aikido to do this and I'll happily watch from the sidelines. Until then, ...
Until then, Erick... until then. Auf Wiedersehen and good luck. It's up to others to satisfy your requirements or you won't learn....

Mike
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Old 12-06-2006, 06:33 PM   #72
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Oh no. Someone had to go evoke the spirit of Oscar Ratti...
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Old 12-06-2006, 06:40 PM   #73
ChrisMoses
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
The closest that anyone I have seen come to this type of Western theory of action is Adele Westbrook and her husband, may he rest in peace, Oscar Ratti. Oscar Ratti's illustration work is particularly valuable in this regard. He had a keen sense of dynamics and a gift for representation in simplified schematic form. His images, if not their attempt at overall sytemization are a serious start. They basically interpreted the traditional mode into non-jargon English. They did not critically examine the nature of the system itself or really even attempt to describe a theory of action in physical or mechanical terms. Of course, no one else really has either.
While I appreciate their effort and realize their work had the best intentions, it's my opinion that "The Dynamic Sphere" has done more to obfuscate the real core of aikido than just about any other published work. They simply were not in a position (in terms of their own understanding or training) to offer THE book on the nature of Aikido. I'm sure others will disagree with me greatly (although I would be surprised if Dan, Rob or Mike do).

Chris Moses
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Old 12-06-2006, 07:04 PM   #74
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
While I appreciate their effort and realize their work had the best intentions, it's my opinion that "The Dynamic Sphere" has done more to obfuscate the real core of aikido than just about any other published work. They simply were not in a position (in terms of their own understanding or training) to offer THE book on the nature of Aikido. I'm sure others will disagree with me greatly (although I would be surprised if Dan, Rob or Mike do).
Back in the seventies, none of the Americans had a clue... the senior folks in American Aikido were 4th Dans when I started which was when that book was out.

Everybody just assumed that "circular" or "spiral" movement was what Aiki was about. There are still plenty of folks, as evidenced by this forum, whose limited view of what is doing on has to do with the outer form of the movement. That book was fine in its day but it had absolutely nothing to contribute with regards to the principles of kokyu, aiki, musubi, etc that are under discussion.

However, I will say this for the book... it was by far the single biggest source for Aikido illustrations for all of our publications in the early days before desk top publishing and general ownership of scanners. There was a period of time when every Aikido ad or flyer used their illustrations. Good thing they didn't feel like going after all of us for copyright issues...

George S. Ledyard
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Old 12-06-2006, 07:33 PM   #75
Mike Sigman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
While I appreciate their effort and realize their work had the best intentions, it's my opinion that "The Dynamic Sphere" has done more to obfuscate the real core of aikido than just about any other published work. They simply were not in a position (in terms of their own understanding or training) to offer THE book on the nature of Aikido. I'm sure others will disagree with me greatly (although I would be surprised if Dan, Rob or Mike do).
I think this 3D Aikido now out is exactly along the same lines of missing the point as "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere". Don't get me wrong... I didn't know any better back then and I had a copy of the book and I looked through it for patterns, understanding, etc., too. None of us starts out knowing things (even though there is a tendency to want to pretend that)... and the Dynamic Sphere was just a step along the way, neither good nor bad, IMO.

Mike
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