Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Non-Aikido Martial Traditions

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-25-2007, 07:23 AM   #676
Gernot Hassenpflug
Dojo: Aunkai, Tokyo
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 319
Japan
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Heres my take FWIW. Ballet dancers seem relaxed too. Often what we perceive as relaxation is really a flow of well-connected tensions rather than a lack of tension. When Tohei does a vertical "spring" action, you can see his legs compressing actively (he wouldn't need to make it visibly so, since the essence is not in the joint articulation), but his chest would be doing something similar (either as a result of the legs, or in conjunction with), which is less visible. Since that power moves the arms and sends energy into uke, he doesn't have to do any isolated and overt arm/shoulder motion. So he seems relaxed. Except for the parts that have to power the entire system, that is.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 07:59 AM   #677
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,499
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
... a spiral wave has a what???...A linear component!!! The stuff we're talking about, at a very basic level (i.e. BASELINE) is LINEAR... How do spirals and waves exist without a linear component????

Seems like we keep getting sucked into your rotational dynamics black hole... 665 posts later and we're still going in circles...
Is it linear? Fair enough -- Offer a dynamic model of waves and spirals that does not require consideration of angular momentum. I'll suggest one and offer my counterargument.

As a side point, gravity waves in a fluid such as water have no linear structural connections or actuations at all (and certainly none rigid). Yet the molecules of water circulating in the wave form obey the laws of angular momentum and conservation. They even concentrate angular velocity and kinetic energy by reduced radius of circulation. It is the conservation of that angular momentum that allows a body of water to lift, against gravity, from the surface of the surrounding fluid for a moment - without anything remotely like a structure, any linear push or pull, or any functional "springs." It is almost completely a momentum conservation process.

It is not a linear compression/decompression cycle like sound waves in air (which are mass-effect 'springs' of a sort), because water is incompressible. I suppose it boils down to whether you treat the body as a compressible or incompressible medium in the transmission of forces. Eighty year-old people don't compress so well (or at all, safely) so I know where I lay my money based on O Sensei's example.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 12:07 PM   #678
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 405
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

So, 30 or so pages later we're still debating whether this is or is not... aikido? This seems really backwards to me.

So, where's the meat and potatoes? If I just cram enough intellectual knowledge into my head about what is or is not aikido, will that make intuitive and spontaneous expression of movement in a martial venue magically better? When in a fighting situation, do I really want to be limited by what my "super-ego" thinks is the "correct" thing to do according to some prescribed dogma?

Or is it in what spontaneously arises as a result of whatever I've been practicing? Does it matter if I call this or that particular expression aikido, or is aikido not just the particular methodology for getting the body to, little by little, come closer to a desired expression?

All this discussion drove me many moons ago to start practicing this "stuff". Is it what O'Sensei, Takeda, Sagawa, Tohei, etc. did? Hell if I know or care. Does it give me an answer on how to refine my body's movement to levels that I didn't find an answer for in aikido as it was shown to me? Yes. And the answers seemed... mundane. Not really complex, just require a buttload of practice, rather than a bunch of thinking about it. I can think "turn when pushed, enter when pulled" all I want, but unless my body's "turn" and "enter" can be done as an integrated whole, a unit, and all by itself without ever having to think about it, then it ends up being an ineffective "turn" or "enter" (and indeed it was).

Sure, you COULD use an integrated body to stand immobile. Would you really want to when someone's trying to lay a beatdown on you? No. But that seems the lowest level of application. You can use the integration for movement... ANY movement. ANY exhertion of power. Is that aikido... who cares?

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 02-25-2007 at 12:17 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 12:26 PM   #679
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,499
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
The other thing I wanted to address was about this absolute non-resistence. You still don't get it Eric.
I'll give it to you on two levels
1. Were you to push on me- the more I get out of the way and "I" don't get involved in resisting ...you. the more you feel the ground. I become -for want of a better term- invisible to the current or flow.
Physically, nonsensical. As metaphor, fine.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
... you were not "best buds" with Ueshiba- then I say THAT is what he meant by non resistance.
Since I can comfortably say that we are equal in this regard, you don't have that privilege, either... And as to Mike's comment about the Japanese, I stand by my points already made. Joshua made an able stab at supporting your view, but never dealt with the problem of O Sensei's emphasis on tettei muteikou. "complete" or "absolute" non-resistance. To show idiomatic usage that differs he needs, not a dictionary, which only proved my point further, but contextual examples of idiomatic use where 徹底した無抵抗 has actually been used euphemistically to mean something like judou teikou 受動 抵抗. I'll gladly look at anything offered.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Not your version of whirlin and dancin. Giving way and turning like that is the dumbest, lowest level expression of anything beffiting a trained Budo man.
Whirlin'? Dancing'? You plainly have no conception of what it means for radius of turn to go to zero. Real sudden-like.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Ueshiba, were he alive today, would simply not be quite the same "legend."
As you admit, you do not stand for continuing his legacy in aikido. You have something else to offer, and your own vision of fundamentals. Which is, in part, why my criticism approaching these issues from a traditional training standpoint and a plain vanilla mechnical perspective continues to be valid and needed for some differing persective in an aikido forum.

I don't argue my own conceptions in terms of training, but always look for foundation in those points already made by O Sensei, Doshu, or other senior students who have discussed these things. I don't invent mechnical concepts to apply, but apply the commonplace understanding of moving bodies and structural stability to my objective observations.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 12:35 PM   #680
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,499
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
John Riggs wrote: View Post
Talk about a spring: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auHbz...elated&search=. The Tohei bounce.
If you are speaking of the one-leg stuff (starting at about 1:15), a general question, then -- for everyone with any interest -- Do you think this illustrates your described "bounce?"

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 12:41 PM   #681
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,499
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
When in a fighting situation, do I really want to be limited by what my "super-ego" thinks is the "correct" thing to do according to some prescribed dogma?
Of course not. We are on a forum talking about methods of training, and more specifically, what we are actually training to accomplish.

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
I can think "turn when pushed, enter when pulled" all I want, but unless my body's "turn" and "enter" can be done as an integrated whole, a unit, and all by itself without ever having to think about it, then it ends up being an ineffective "turn" or "enter" (and indeed it was).
Amen to that.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 12:47 PM   #682
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,633
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

I think that, while this discussion is quite fascinating for many of us Aikido folks, it is also frustrating. As I have stated several times, Mike and Dan are clearly quite knowledgeable and competent. I absolutely do not debate with them that the finest Aikido practitioners have the internal energy and physical structure which they describe. I do not believe that Eric is correct that what Mike and Dan are talking about is different than what O-Sensei and his top deshi, including my own teachers, Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei, have developed as PART of their essential skill set (which includes a fundamental physical change in body structure due to certain types of training methods). I absolutely agree with them that most Aikido folks do not understand this set of issues very well.

But, having said that, one notices that many of the senior Aikido folks who regularly post on this site and the other Aikido forums, have not participated in these discussions. I believe that this is because there is so much more to Aikido than what these fellows understand. As I have said before, the majority of Aikido's most incisive critics have some Aikido background. Of the group, I think that Ellis Amdur, despite the fact that he chose to leave Aikido and pursue classical martial arts training and is now engaged in the pursuit of Chinese internal arts, is the most sympathetic to what O-Sensei intended Aikido to be. This would probably be the result of his original Aikido training with Terry Dobson Sensei for whom O-Sensei's message was very important.

People who look at Aikido through the lens of straight martial application tend to believe that the Founder was at his peak in the thirties. They believe that Aikido technically peaked when it was barely evolved out of Daito Ryu (which was actually before the art was even renamed Aikido). If the point of Aikido was purely martial application this might even be true to a large extent, not completely, but largely.

But that was never the intent of O-Sensei's development of Aikido. He flat out stated that all the way back in the early days. Mochizuki Sensei, after he returned from France reported to the Founder that he was concerned that, in order to win the various challenge matches that he had to accept (very common in the early days when Aikido had to prove itself) he had to resort to tricks that came from his experience in other martial arts. O-Sensei was completely unconcerned by this and replied by asking Mochizuki Sensei "Haven't you understood the point of what I have been teaching?"

Mike and Dan are pretty outspoken about these issues. Eric is one of the very few Aikido folks who is willing to stand in the line of fire and debate them head on, which I appreciate greatly, even though in this particular discussion I think they prevail. Most Aikido folks simply find that this discussion, while interesting, has very little to do with what they see as their own training, with what they are looking to get out of the pursuit of the art.

While we all, myself included, make fun of the "aiki fruities" because they really have less than no idea how to connect their philosophical / spiritual ideas to actual waza in a way that makes sense, in terms of intent, they understand what the Founder was trying to do in creating Aikido more than Mike and Dan will ever do. They simply cannot understand Aikido because they do not do the art. They do not do the art probably because they are temperamentally unsuited to it. This in no way questions their own high level of expertise in areas that impact on Aikido practice. That is why I strongly recommend that every Aikido student who gets a chance go out of his way to get some experience with these folks.

Aikido is essentially a practice about whose purpose is to open ones heart. Teachers like Sunadomari Sensei, Anno Sensei, and others are very straightforward about this. To really appreciate how Aikido as an art can do this, one must actually practice the art and take that practice to a fairly deep level. You cannot understand it from the outside.

So what I am trying to say is that, Mike especially, has a tendency to evaluate everything from one set of criteria. He isn't much interested in something if it can't be talked about using that set of criteria. And while Dan is much the same in this regard, Mike is more apt to actively try to pull every discussion in which he participates back to these criteria. I can say, for myself, that his set of criteria for evaluating our art touches on only a small part of what I think is central to the pursuit of the art in terms of how O-Sensei intended it to be.

There are Aikido teachers out there that most of us would give our right arms to equal. It is of virtually no concern to me whether Mike thinks they are using internal energetics as defined via his pursuit Chinese martial arts. There are teachers whom I emulate in my own practice whom I think Mike would basically write off as offering nothing of interest to him. For instance, on several occasions I have mentioned Vladimir Vasiliev and Systema. Mike's response was to say that he had looked at what they do and he didn't think that what they were doing utilized the energetic concepts which he understood to be central to good martial arts. I simply do not care whether what they do can be described using those terms or not. But when I look at the results of lengthy Systema training in terms of both ability and even more especially in terms of character development and what folks would probably consider the "spiritual" side of things, I see an art that embodies exactly what I want out of my Aikido and an art that I think O-Sensei would instinctively have understood. I don't care whether Mike can describe it in his terms or not.

There are an array of Aikido teachers who I think have taken their Aikido to an extremely deep level. Mike would look at each of them and consider whether they were doing what he understands. If not, he would be uninterested in pursuing any further investigation. It is clear what he is interested in knowing and it is clear that he will go far out of his way to find folks who can better his understanding in that area. But there are folks in Aikido that I would train with at every opportunity whom Mike and Dan and the folks with similar approaches would write off in an instant, I think. For instance, it would surprise me greatly if either of these folks would spend ten minutes of their time looking at Endo Sensei. I could be wrong, but it would seem to me that what Endo Sensei is doing and the intent with which he is doing it would pretty much be irrelevant to the concerns of these folks. On the other hand, what he is doing is absolutely central to what I am trying to do with my own Aikido.

The failure to understand what Aikido is and could be is not limited to outsiders. There were plenty of Aikido folks of great achievement who simply couldn't go the distance with the Founder as he kept developing the art. Most of the thirties deshi would be in this category. It is my opinion that we do not have to be apologetic about our art when we deal with folks like Dan and Mike etc. We can acknowledge their great expertise and their ability to articulate it while at the same time seeing that they do not understand what we are doing, what we aspire to make out of our art, why we love the art so much, etc.

It is quite fascinating to me that a couple of guys who clearly believe that most Aikido folks are incompetent and have nothing to teach them will spend the huge amount of time they have communicating with all of us.I think that the fact that most of the very senior Aikido folks who post here don't participate in these discussions much, if at all, simply speaks to the fact that on a fundamental level what Mike and Dan are expressing, while it may be an important set of issues technically for all of us, is not central in our concerns. And the issues which are central to our concerns are simply not very important to these fellows.

So, I repeat, I know that both Dan and Mike are experts in what they do and are to be regarded with great respect. What they know could make all of our Aikido practices better. But I do not believe that either of them really "gets it" either when it comes to what we do and why we do it. Neither of them does it and Mike actually used to and walked away from it. That's fine. Aikido isn't for everyone, no art is. You find your art and you find your teacher. Perhaps as one grows one even changes these over time. But someone who is temperamentally unsuited for a given art will never really understand it, period. I am the first one to say that we in Aikido should be better at what we do. But I am certainly unwilling to concede that folks from outside can speak to the central issues of what Aikido should be and we do not need to let outsiders define the parameters for evaluating our art. They fundamentally do not "get it" nor do they particularly wish to.

I know that for every person posting there are hundreds who browse but never express themselves. Many of these folks are at the beginning of their Aikido careers and I think often find these discussions a bit confusing. Reading these discussions would often give someone new an impression that we don't know as Aikido practitioners who we are and what we do. So there is a lot of discussion about sources for practice outside our art. But for most of us, this is simply to get more understanding to bring back into our own art of Aikido and make it better. It isn't an expression of loss of focus or dissatisfaction with the art. It is folks who have trained a very long time talking about where they go to keep their training and ideas fresh; how we keep growing in our practice.

Aikido is a very alive and evolving art. The intention is completely different than koryu in which the intent is to preserve something intact from the past and keep it going. Aikido is new, it has very little past. The evolving nature of the practice is both its strength and a weakness. We have a tendency to charge forth and walk away from important elements of the practice. There is not set system to keep this from happening so it relies on the sincerity of the practitioners themselves that they do not let this happen. When we stray it is important to look at where we have become deficient and reacquire those skills and get them back into the art.

At the same time, no art can be all things. There will be things our art isn't well designed for. I do not think that we need to worry terribly about that. It is not important, I think whether an Aikido guy can be in the UFC and prevail. If I wanted to do that, I would do mixed martial arts. Integrity on our practice comes from paying attention to what we are trying to do and why and making sure we develop our practice honestly along that path. This forum has many many folks who have substantial backgrounds in other martial arts and have found what they were looking for in their Aikido practice. Introspection is good for our art but we don't need to have an inferiority complex about it either. As important as a thread like this is in defining many important technical issues for us as aikidoka, it also doesn't even touch on areas which I think are central to defining Aikido as Aikido and not aikijutsu or some other soft or internal style. I just wanted those folks with only a little experience to understand that point so they don't get confused by thee discussions.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 01:30 PM   #683
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,219
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Absolutely brilliant post George, thank you very much.

respect

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 02:43 PM   #684
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

George
Great post

I agree with just about everything you've said and wanted to clarify a few things.

1. It appears you are ackowledging these skills-having felt some of them- are great for AIkido and you may agree they -are- aikido. I have had an older Japanese student of O'sensei look me right in the eye and state to me, and another fellow you know, that "This is Ueshiba's Aikido. They don't teach this anymore you know. Its not in modern Aikido." These skills are the skills Aikido was based off if. Whether you look at it from a DR perspective or CMA. They are in fact, the basis of the art and what many teachers have knowingly held back. if they knew at all. What does that say for them?
What does it say for the men training in vain when these skills were available to them all along? I have more to say about this in my closing remarks about why I am here.

2. The use and goals.
I give you that I -may- not understand Aikido. I said "may not." But wish to add once again -I've said it so many times- that it is my belief that these skills hold the best potential to achieve that "open heart" you are talking about. In fact I think they make a quantum leap into resolving the oft seen passive/agressiveness prevelent in Aikidoka. Gentle folks will have actual power -real and whole- to stop attackers in a much more adroit and uninvolved fashion. These skills are the engine! It is where it came from in the first place. They are Aikido. Without them, no real AIkido.
It is the way, and no other.
As I have said Takeda had the skills that gave Ushihiba what he needed to fulfill his vision. It is this power that comes closest to allowing someone to defend without causing harm. AND THAT was the real vision of peace. These skills are better able to get folks there.
Most Aikido men I have met and felt me, find the potential they both see and feel ...abso..freakin..lutly thrilling. As they have stated here after meeting me. And I -actually-teach them how to do it.
No I'm not much into Aikido. Not my cup of tea. But I am fully able to understand the mindframe and completely respect it. Even admire it.

So , though no person is unstoppable I'd place my money on folks having these skills in their aikido over anyone else in aikido without them. I woud like to add that I have been surrounded by aikidoka lately. I tell them to take these skills and work them and use them in their Aikido to make it better. Further, to not even tell folks where they got it. My focuse is to build them. I understand what its like to have been lied to and have had things held back.

3. Why here?
Read the last sentence of the last paragraph. I get it Bud. I know what its like to see the magic and want it. I recognize sincere people who are hungry and genuine in their search. I hope to help them in a way that works. ANd also has to work for me.
While I will take the many digs I have received here, I offer you this in closing.
What can you say regarding -my- open heart.
I don't try to talk folks into MMA who visit. I tell them to stay in it and do what ever they wish.
That I teach for free.
That I hold no thing back.
That I open my dojo to folks from the CMA, MMA, Karate, Judo and...AIkido and I give time, many times 5 hours at a wack.
I ask no money and no recognition.
I even tell them to call me at night when they are solo training if they have questions
I hear and I understand do others?
What did you say..."Open heart?"
I think some "teachers" In Aikido need to sit up and take notice of what some kind hearted men with open hearts who have seen men lied to by Budo teachers, physically damaged and abused, and seen things held back...... are in fact willing to do to help.
With nothing asked for in return.
My hand is out ...only for a handshake. We laugh and have a great time. Kinda sounds like what Ueshiba was hoping for afterall.
And that ain't so bad.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-25-2007 at 02:50 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 02:51 PM   #685
Kevin Leavitt
 
Kevin Leavitt's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Germany
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Yes George, very good post.

I have spoken up on occasion when I have either caught something that I felt was incorrect, or when I detected a incongruency in their logic, or wanted clarification on a particular point.

I read pretty darn near all of the post, really in an attempt to understand better what it is that they are really talking about.

However, I do not see the value in discussing something that must be described through touch, feel, and doing. Not discussion on aikiweb.

The only two issue I have ever had was:

one, dealing with the criteria/situation/conditions in which they could or were willing to demonstrate within.

two, that they can unequivocally stand judge over who gets it and doesn't get it.

Dan has gone so far to say that my description of what I do when I grapple using kokyu skills because of the verbage I use here on aikiweb shows him that I don't get it! Maybe I don't...I don't know.

To me it becomes like trying to discuss comparative religion with a fundamentalist. You simply cannot establish common ground or a base as they are so stuck in what the define as right and true, that we can never have a rational conversation. We cannot agree on a common ground in which to have this conversation.

As far as doing it. I think certainly given a set of controlled conditions with a training and a set of defined parameters that people can darn near demonstrate whatever they'd like to.

Heck, when I was in Beijing last year I was simply amazed at the Beijing Circus watching a guy jump up a set of stairs, inverted on one hand with another guy balanced on his foot on one hand.

One might say that is simply impossible, but I saw it, and I think it exhibits a extradinary mastery of many,many things to include many of the so-called internal skills that we talk about here.

How about those russian roof jumping guys on Youtube? Pretty impressive and they defy gravity and all paradigms of what we thought possible.

However, what do these things have to do with budo and martial arts?

Maybe they have application and we can learn from them. Maybe not. Maybe the skills that Dan and Mike have are useful...maybe not.

One would have to bring those skills into a martial enviornment and effectively apply them.

In my eyes, and criteria, if you cannot demonstrate that you can perform these things in a non-compliant, dynamic way..that is...using aliveness...or within the parameters as generally accepted in budo/marital arts...then you do not impress me from this stand point.

The Bejing Circus dude, and the Russian Roof jumpers may not be able to show us how to use their internal skills in a non-compliant, alive environment....that does not discount their skill, just means that they have nothing to offer to aikido, or it is possible that they could show us a few things that are g-whiz or may be helpful...i don't know until we try.

I have felt the power of Saotome and Ikeda sensei. Bob Galeone, and Jimmy Sorrentino have been my primary instructors within aikido over the years. I have felt the power of a few great world class brazillians too.

I am told that these individuals do not "get it". Even though they have never worked with them. Not sure how they know this, but..okay.

So, until I work with Dan or Mike, and we can agree to the martial criteria and conditions in which to demonstrate and work on these things in...I simply have nothing to say about it.

I have yet to see any video on Youtube or the like that has impressed me martially that these things are overwhelmingly so important that it is worth focusing this much effort on. Neither have I ever experienced a power so special that it warranted me dumping all my BJJ training and AIkido training to study.

Frankly I think it is all there anyway, that has been my debate with Dan and Mike.

Yes George, I agree that there is much more to budo, aikido, MMA, and martial arts than all this talk about this very, very detailed discussion on this topic.

So, until I have the opportunity to work with the likes of Dan and Mike, I refrain from judgement, and discussion...as I see it to be pointless.

  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 03:07 PM   #686
Kevin Leavitt
 
Kevin Leavitt's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Location: Stuttgart, Baden Wurttemberg
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Germany
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Dan Wrote:

Quote:
I give you that I -may- not understand Aikido. I said "may not." But wish to add once again -I've said it so many times- that it is my belief that these skills hold the best potential to achieve that "open heart" you are talking about. In fact I think they make a quantum leap into resolving the oft seen passive/agressiveness prevelent in Aikidoka. Gentle folks will have actual power -real and whole- to stop attackers in a much more adroit and uninvolved fashion. These skills are the engine! It is where it came from in the first place. They are Aikido. Without them, no real AIkido.
It is the way, and no other.
Quote:
So , though no person is unstoppable I'd place my money on folks having these skills in their aikido over anyone else in aikido without them. I woud like to add that I have been surrounded by aikidoka lately. I tell them to take these skills and work them and use them in their Aikido to make it better. Further, to not even tell folks where they got it. My focuse is to build them. I understand what its like to have been lied to and have had things held back
Dan, if it is so core to the essence of aikido and the whole open heart/understanding/enlightment thing...AND if that is what is really important as the core reason to study aikido...it would seem to me that we would have aikidoka abandoning the art outright...at least the ones that are honest with themselves in their search for this secret key that unlocks the door.

Two, if this were the case, and you have discovered it...AND the majority of aikidoka don't get it, then why would you waste your time hanging out here with us? Why not hang out with Yoga people, TKD guys, or another group of people? as aikido would be as irrelevant and invalid as the next art.

Unless you see the potential for prosetlyzation of the ignorant masses that are looking for what you possess.

Why bother making their aikido better? what would be the point? What is it that aikido offers if this is true? What would be the point of studying it if the so-called internal skills were so important and salient? Why not just study these skills and acheive the open heart?

As usual I am confused as to why you waste your time with us aikido types?

What is in it for you? are you really that altruistic with your supposed unique gift of understanding, or do you gain some benefit from aikido types?

It sounds like prostelyzation to me. Which is fine. Just define the martial critieria upon which we can work on these unique skills, then we can come and experience.

If you could do this in an acceptable manner to me, that demonstrated that aikido and Saotome Sensei's organization did not have anything to offer me as far as a better understanding of true martial arts, budo, and acheiving a open heart understanding, then I would definiitely join your gang!

Until then.

  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 03:42 PM   #687
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Kevin
Don't swing the pendulum so far. I've never said everyone doesn't get it. I have said the stuff is here and there and either the teachers withhold it to make themselves look good or others simply don't know it.

The enlightenment angle is another thing your blowing up. Come on bud don't do that stuff. Just talk to me. I don't claim enlightment. I said the folks would be able to adroitely handle agression in a more impassive and nuetral fashion. At least better then they do without these skills. And that would come closer to fullfiling -Ueshiba's- vision of peace thru the art.


Your suggestion that everyone would be leaving aikido is perfectly ridiculous and not even the point. I say stay in Aikido.
But I'll take your dig and run with it.
"If you love it, you don't have to leave it. Learn what the basic core of what it really was about and then do it the right way......." Hey ...you shot first. kidding... kidding. Where are those damn smiley's, mine are gone.

Passive agressive
Some of the least passive agressive and more well balanced men I know are judoka, wresttlers and MMA types. When you mix it up, everything speaks for itself. Ki, shmee, if ya can't make it work its back to the drawing board. Any art that breeds so much cooperation breeds passive/ agressive tendencies. Having good internal skills will make Aikidoka more powerful...and here's the key..... All within Aikido. That's it and thats all.

And the reason I argue on two fronts is that I firmly believe in MMA training. It is the great equalizer of everything. Sorry, I can't help but feel that way. I've both seen and been part of so many theories blown to hell in the hands of a good fighter. A fact I believe you are familair with and agree to. We are after all talking about body conditioning that brings about enhanced skills not martial technique. Lighten up. Ya don't have to join anyone elses gang nor are you being asked too. :-)

I already said why I am here. as well as other places and yes ya pinhead (kidding) I am that altruistic.
My freely giving and sharing (although on my own terms) is a matter of record. I teach for free and pay the bills. I have now taught some dozen guys from the list and didn't charge a penny. And some of them have written in here in the past.
Why?
I answered why in the last post

Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-25-2007 at 03:54 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 04:08 PM   #688
Brion Toss
Dojo: Aikido Port Townsend
Location: Port Townsend, Wa.
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 104
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Thank you George, Kevin, for your wonderful posts. Getting back to the origin of this thread, I would say that you have demonstrated the only really important basic skill in Aikido: an open heart.
I believe that the "powers" that Mike and Dan speak of are available to us, if we choose to find them, in Aikido waza and elsewhere. I also happen to believe that the mechanics of those powers are simply not what Mike and Dan think they are, but are rather more like what Eric thinks they are. But does any of that truly matter? The point for me is that Aikido, whatever its mechanical underpinnings may be, and however successfully or not it might be taught and learnt, is an art that speaks to me. It is an art that has, on extremely rare occasions, been helpful in physical conflict, but which, far more important, has informed my behavior, mood, and character every day since I found it, so many years ago.
So while Mike and Dan pursue their path, I will continue with what seems to be working for me. Their words (and I have read every one of them) have caused me to think, reconsider, and reprioritize, and I am grateful to them for that.

Regards,

Brion Toss
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 05:02 PM   #689
eyrie
 
eyrie's Avatar
Location: Summerholm, Queensland
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,126
Australia
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Good post George... however, this thread is not about what Aikido is or isn't.... I don't think that's what Mike, Dan or anyone is debating, well except for Erick maybe....

This thread is about baseline (foundational/core) skills that are common to the Asian martial arts. Skills that open a door to whatever form of martial expression takes your fancy - whether it be Aikido, CMA, MMA, BJJ, JJ, Karate and what have you... I believe this is what O'Sensei intended when he mentioned... "[absorbing and] clothing [the venerable traditions] with fresh garments...to create better forms", or that it is "...the religion that perfects and completes all religions".

The idea that none of what's being discussed here is or isn't Aikido, per se, is not the real issue. It's whether these baseline skills can or can't be applied to Aikido, which I think you agree, if it makes one's Aikido better, then why not. What Mike and Dan are saying is that it already is in Aikido, but was misunderstood or knowingly or unwittingly withheld, or that the way in which these skills are being transmitted is obscured, or a combination of the above.

That you could use such skills for peaceful or aggressive means is merely a choice - I believe Dan has already mentioned this... several times. Whether that can be considered "Aikido", as a form of spiritual practice, or whatever... is also a choice. But I think you would also agree, that one's level of spiritual practice is also limited by the "strength" of one's foundation in the physical side of the practice. I don't think anyone is specifically discussing martial applications or interpretations. Again, whether these skills can be applied in a martially-valid venue is outside of this discussion. That it *could* give you an edge in such a venue, is by the by, and largely a conscious choice.

I also believe that what Mike and Dan are saying is that, their particular approaches to training these skills are essentially grounded on the same core principles as other venerable traditions that purport to develop these skills. It is to these core principles that I believe is what is being discussed.

So, if such discussion aids in one's own introspection of what their own practice of Aikido encompasses, or can encompass, then so much the better. As to how they choose to take the things being discussed here and where they wish to take their own physical practice and expression, is largely a choice molded by their own teachers and their own experiences.

I think it would be prudent to be aware of what "baggage" one is carrying in that regard. For those, like myself, who prefer to travel "light"... make of it what you will. If it helps someone perceive the threshold and the doorway, well and good. But they will have to walk through the door first... and it helps if one wasn't lugging all that baggage in at the same time...

Ignatius
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 05:04 PM   #690
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,633
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
George
Great post

I agree with just about everything you've said and wanted to clarify a few things.

1. It appears you are ackowledging these skills-having felt some of them- are great for AIkido and you may agree they -are- aikido. I have had an older Japanese student of O'sensei look me right in the eye and state to me, and another fellow you know, that "This is Ueshiba's Aikido. They don't teach this anymore you know. Its not in modern Aikido." These skills are the skills Aikido was based off if. Whether you look at it from a DR perspective or CMA. They are in fact, the basis of the art and what many teachers have knowingly held back. if they knew at all. What does that say for them?
What does it say for the men training in vain when these skills were available to them all along? I have more to say about this in my closing remarks about why I am here.

2. The use and goals.
I give you that I -may- not understand Aikido. I said "may not." But wish to add once again -I've said it so many times- that it is my belief that these skills hold the best potential to achieve that "open heart" you are talking about. In fact I think they make a quantum leap into resolving the oft seen passive/agressiveness prevelent in Aikidoka. Gentle folks will have actual power -real and whole- to stop attackers in a much more adroit and uninvolved fashion. These skills are the engine! It is where it came from in the first place. They are Aikido. Without them, no real AIkido.
It is the way, and no other.
As I have said Takeda had the skills that gave Ushihiba what he needed to fulfill his vision. It is this power that comes closest to allowing someone to defend without causing harm. AND THAT was the real vision of peace. These skills are better able to get folks there.
Most Aikido men I have met and felt me, find the potential they both see and feel ...abso..freakin..lutly thrilling. As they have stated here after meeting me. And I -actually-teach them how to do it.
No I'm not much into Aikido. Not my cup of tea. But I am fully able to understand the mindframe and completely respect it. Even admire it.

So , though no person is unstoppable I'd place my money on folks having these skills in their aikido over anyone else in aikido without them. I woud like to add that I have been surrounded by aikidoka lately. I tell them to take these skills and work them and use them in their Aikido to make it better. Further, to not even tell folks where they got it. My focuse is to build them. I understand what its like to have been lied to and have had things held back.

3. Why here?
Read the last sentence of the last paragraph. I get it Bud. I know what its like to see the magic and want it. I recognize sincere people who are hungry and genuine in their search. I hope to help them in a way that works. ANd also has to work for me.
While I will take the many digs I have received here, I offer you this in closing.
What can you say regarding -my- open heart.
I don't try to talk folks into MMA who visit. I tell them to stay in it and do what ever they wish.
That I teach for free.
That I hold no thing back.
That I open my dojo to folks from the CMA, MMA, Karate, Judo and...AIkido and I give time, many times 5 hours at a wack.
I ask no money and no recognition.
I even tell them to call me at night when they are solo training if they have questions
I hear and I understand do others?
What did you say..."Open heart?"
I think some "teachers" In Aikido need to sit up and take notice of what some kind hearted men with open hearts who have seen men lied to by Budo teachers, physically damaged and abused, and seen things held back...... are in fact willing to do to help.
With nothing asked for in return.
My hand is out ...only for a handshake. We laugh and have a great time. Kinda sounds like what Ueshiba was hoping for afterall.
And that ain't so bad.
Cheers
Dan
Hi Dan,
You and I are no disagreement as far as I can see... I am the first person, which can be seen by my posts over the years, to point out that the Aikido being put forth in many places is not O-Sensei's Aikido and I don't just mean in terms of the kokyu power skill sets under discussion here. Aikido is in danger of losing it's identity as Budo both in terms of the art as "martial art" and in terms of it's vital spiritual core. Much Aikido today isn't good martial art and it isn't deep spiritually.

To remedy this, one must find the few teachers who are presenting a version of the art which hasn't yet lost it's edge so to speak. Then after one finds that, one is still faced with the issue of whether the teacher(s) ones finds can actually systematically present what they do. Galleone and I have talked about this at length and once again, I think I have been as clear as I could be in my posts that the "transmission" or lack thereof, is as big a problem as the watering down of Aikido. Which is precisely why folks like yourself and Mike are so valuable. You know about things that are important for us to know. Aikido teachers often either do not have these skills or are not sure how to systematically teach them to the growing number of people doing the art.

I just see too many promising students leaving Aikido because it isn't what it should and could be. I have lost people to kenjutsu and Systema. These were top notch people who loved their Aikido training but found greater depth in this other training. I couldn't argue with their decisions, if i were younger I might have done the same... But my greatest hope is for the ones who didn't leave. Their are a number of people all over the country who are doing other training but staying with their Aikido. They learn to appreciate what Aikido has which other arts don't and they are actively looking to see what other arts offer that can be brought back into Aikido to make it what it was.

I think there is great hope for the art. Although I would consider O-Sensei's Aikido to be on the "endangered list" I have hope. If we can bring back the Bison from the brink of extinction we can revive Aikido. But it will be the work of individuals not organizations. I think that large organizations are often the enemies of this effort. Almost everyone I see really making it happen out there are busy looking beyond what their own associations are offering. I don't think it is necessary that this should be so, but I think it is currently.

I have spent my entire adult life in Aikido. Nothing else has ever spoken to me as this art has. I am glad that there are folks from outside our art who are willing to take the time to offer their knowledge to us. But i also don't want our own people to get discouraged and leave because they feel they can't get what they want out of Aikido. Because when they leave, they lose that which makes Aikido unique. I feel it is our mission to put it all together for ourselves. To the extent that folks outside are interested in helping us do that, it's wonderful. I think in those instances in which it starts to come together, we will find that folks from other arts will perhaps look to us for help making their arts better. Lord knows, there is enough martial arts practice out there that could use what we know. Aikido isn't by any means the only art which is danger of losing what was deep in its roots. At least many of us realize that it is an issue and are working on it. I see that consciousness almost completely lacking in much of what passes for martial arts these days. I'm sure we wouldn't be in disagreement on that either...

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 05:30 PM   #691
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,499
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I think that, while this discussion is quite fascinating for many of us Aikido folks, it is also frustrating. As I have stated several times, Mike and Dan are clearly quite knowledgeable and competent. I absolutely do not debate with them that the finest Aikido practitioners have the internal energy and physical structure which they describe. I do not believe that Eric is correct that what Mike and Dan are talking about is different than what O-Sensei and his top deshi, including my own teachers, Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei, have developed as PART of their essential skill set (which includes a fundamental physical change in body structure due to certain types of training methods). ... Mike and Dan are pretty outspoken about these issues. Eric is one of the very few Aikido folks who is willing to stand in the line of fire and debate them head on, which I appreciate greatly, even though in this particular discussion I think they prevail.
Just for the record, Dan and Mike have repeated this strawman in argument often enough that people start to believe I said that when I didn't. I have not claimed that what they do is not done; that the essence of what is done is different from what O Sensei did, or that proper training does not change one's structural sensiblities. Mike, Dan and I have a hard time coming to a commonly agreed way of describing what we see done, and what we feel in doing. The persectives we bring out differ very sharply. I happen to think their perpecitve is wrong mechanically, whatever value it has for practical training, and that is likely considerable. But I have never thought that we were looking at anything fundamentally different in this or any other art.
Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Most Aikido folks simply find that this discussion, while interesting, has very little to do with what they see as their own training, with what they are looking to get out of the pursuit of the art. ... I know that for every person posting there are hundreds who browse but never express themselves. Many of these folks are at the beginning of their Aikido careers and I think often find these discussions a bit confusing. ... I just wanted those folks with only a little experience to understand that point so they don't get confused by these discussions.
I am concerned that they use these things to a different end. It only makes sense therefore that they train for them differently. It therefore makes sense to critically examine their training recommendations, particularly when folks new to aikido are reading them seeking guidance, because they may be problematic for other things that aikido is directed toward.

It is those new folks who are among the reasons I continue to respond critically on these topics.

Practice is not a place for analysis -- that's what this is for. New folks should not surrender their own critical minds, but neither should they learn to distrust the value in the body of the knowledge as a living tradition. Dan and Mike often slip into an air of that distrust that is not warranted -- and distrust can be infectious. People as varied in style and approach as Saotome, Abe, Shioda, and many others, have not themselves plumbed the depths of what the traditional kihon and kokyu undo have to offer. There is no reason whatsoever to distrust them.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 07:37 PM   #692
eyrie
 
eyrie's Avatar
Location: Summerholm, Queensland
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,126
Australia
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
The persectives we bring out differ very sharply. I happen to think their perpecitve is wrong mechanically, whatever value it has for practical training, and that is likely considerable. But I have never thought that we were looking at anything fundamentally different in this or any other art.
I think we are only discussing general principles of how to get to "step 1". You are obviously looking at it from a very different perspective - no disagreement there. So, to say that their mechanical perspective is wrong, is firstly incorrect, and secondly implies that you believe yours is the correct perspective, which is also questionable.

FWIW, I was teaching Aikido in largely the same mechanistic terms as Mike and Dan are talking about, well and truly before I even encountered Mike or Dan. Not only that... what I've been teaching has also been validated by my senpai (although in not so many words), and which was immediately apparent to him, in the quality of my students, particularly my 9yr old who has been training with me for over a year now. So that blows THAT perspective out of the water...

Quote:
I am concerned that they use these things to a different end. It only makes sense therefore that they train for them differently.
To what different end? What possible different end could that be? The true meaning of Budo? To stop the spears?

Quote:
It therefore makes sense to critically examine their training recommendations
I think that generally goes without saying... in case it bears repeating... thinking is not only recommended but required!

Quote:
Dan and Mike often slip into an air of that distrust that is not warranted -- and distrust can be infectious. People as varied in style and approach as Saotome, Abe, Shioda, and many others, have not themselves plumbed the depths of what the traditional kihon and kokyu undo have to offer. There is no reason whatsoever to distrust them.
Distrust!? Dan and Mike have been far more open than some of the "high-ranking" lurkers here. And in fact, Gernot has already mentioned that even Abe Sensei has openly admitted that he will not teach *some* things... Distrust? Who?

Ignatius
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 09:11 PM   #693
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,499
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
Distrust!? Dan and Mike have been far more open than some of the "high-ranking" lurkers here. And in fact, Gernot has already mentioned that even Abe Sensei has openly admitted that he will not teach *some* things... Distrust? Who?
Of whom. You mistake my meaning. They have an distinct distrust for institutional elements in aikido. It is not a criticism, per se, skepticism of authority is healthy. It is simply a very strong perspective of theirs. It can stand a little balancing of points of view in the discussion.

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
... to say that their mechanical perspective is wrong, is firstly incorrect, and secondly implies that you believe yours is the correct perspective, which is also questionable.
It is more correct to say that mechnical terms that they use do not explain the energy manipulation advantages gained. I do not imply mine is completely correct, merely that it explains far more than theirs can, both in concentrating and dissipating energy of large magnitude.

I am open to anything that provides a better and more consistent explanation. They have not explained their idea of the mechanism that will concentrate momentum or increase effective kinetic energy, or to dissipate large amounts of kinetic energy directed at them. I would love for someone to propose a physical model for the "bounce" mechanism they describe that does not rely on angular momentum. .

Last edited by Erick Mead : 02-25-2007 at 09:21 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 10:12 PM   #694
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Abe admits holding back, so have many others whether -they- admit it or not. It is all too obvious that these skills were and are-rare in your art. How did that happen if they have been openly taught all this time? We have even been told to our faces to expect to have to steal them. That’s not just in other Asian arts, but yes…yours too.
Its not a distrust to simply look, see what is known but not being shown, and then call them on it.
I have been pointing it out for ten years
If we are wrong in our distrust, then I ask you why is it that your own teachers -like Ikeda- are now....only now...saying the same things. AND going outside the art to bring men in to show the skills missing?
It appears he doesn't agree with you either. I understand you are not interested in anyone's agreement as you stated. But your opinion doesn't alter the reality that these things are largely absent in the open teaching of your art.

……or to dissipate large amounts of kinetic energy directed at them. I would love for someone to propose a physical model for the "bounce" mechanism they describe that does not rely on angular momentum.
I don’t debate your mechanic and physics. I’ve no need. I can do things you admit you cannot do and now openly tell me I don’t understand how –I- do them.
Sometimes it’s a struggle to maintain my good nature….
I’ll be happy to continue teaching your adepts how to do what they admit they cannot do, while you tell me I don’t know what I’m doing. I find the work speaks for itself. And now I and these others training with me -from Aikido- will continue to experiment and improve -thier- Aikido.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-25-2007 at 10:24 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 10:32 PM   #695
eyrie
 
eyrie's Avatar
Location: Summerholm, Queensland
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,126
Australia
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Of whom. You mistake my meaning. They have an distinct distrust for institutional elements in aikido. It is not a criticism, per se, skepticism of authority is healthy. It is simply a very strong perspective of theirs. It can stand a little balancing of points of view in the discussion.
There ya go....equivocating again... what you say is not what you mean, and what you mean to say is never meant... Distrust of institutional elements? That's a rather strong accusation.... and I don't think that really is the case. As for balanced perspectives... that's questionable too... although I s'pose you could technically say a diametrically opposed "model"... is "balanced".

Quote:
It is more correct to say that mechnical terms that they use do not explain the energy manipulation advantages gained. I do not imply mine is completely correct, merely that it explains far more than theirs can, both in concentrating and dissipating energy of large magnitude.
That it is far more involved than the (simplified) mechanistic examples that have been used, is absolutely true. However, the reasons for doing so were made clear initially - they are intended to convey "first" principles. (If they were not, I apologize - it should have been made clear).

As far as your model goes toward explaining far more than what Dan & Mike have said, that's what YOU claim... and according to YOU. Whether your claim is correct or not is a totally separate issue. More is not necessarily better, nor does it make it more correct.

Unless you mean something else altogether???

Ignatius
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 11:17 PM   #696
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,499
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
There ya go....equivocating again... what you say is not what you mean, and what you mean to say is never meant... Distrust of institutional elements? That's a rather strong accusation.... and I don't think that really is the case.
I say what I mean. I presume Mike does as well. Dan? .. maybe Mike's statements are too broad a brush to paint him with, but the feel of his approach is not a far cry ...
Quote:
Mike Sigman -- various posts wrote:
....What I'm saying is that within the hierarchy of Aikido, most people (well, from a westerner's perspective in a western land) don't know how to do these things, .... if you take the number of Aikido practitioners that can do these things, it's a small (but not negligibly small) number in comparison with the whole of Aikido. .... Always the same pattern that some of the skilled at the top know how to do these things, the knowledge is somewhat guarded, and the majority of practitioners don't really know. ....

....Think about it. Everything is there for some serious mind-shenanigans. Uniforms. A "leader" and pecking-order hierarchy. Exotic rituals. Foreign words that must be used as part of the ritual. Cooperative training that helps confirm that the play is "real" as long as it's kept within the secret meeting hall (the dojo). And so on.

.... [Someone] ...making noises about kokyu power, I assure you that the established hierarchy would react very negatively toward anyone who made such a suggestion. Their status is at stake; in some cases their livelihood is involved. They would try to blow the topic off and personally attack anyone who suggested such a thing. Pretty much what you'd expect.
Not exactly a balanced picture of the functions of institutional continuity and conservation of knowledge, even an instituional model as loose-fitting as that which exists in aikido. Fine as personal perspective. There are other valid potins of view on that.
Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
Whether your claim is correct or not is a totally separate issue.
Entirely true. It stands or falls on its own. A thorough attempt at knocking IT down on a substantive basis is a worthwhile effort. Like Joshua's challenge to to justify O Sensei's statement on non-resistance.

If you succeeded in knocking me down the ideas are still there. It is wasted effort trying to knock me down, cause I really don't count for much. I just pointed to the ideas and the things that call them into play -- I didn't invent them. They don't travel on my merit, and good thing, too. If I were run out on a rail, somebody else will eventually point to the same ideas and ask naughty questions, too.

I made a long list of questions that no one really answered yet.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 11:50 PM   #697
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 608
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I think that, while this discussion is quite fascinating for many of us Aikido folks, it is also frustrating. As I have stated several times, Mike and Dan are clearly quite knowledgeable and competent. I absolutely do not debate with them that the finest Aikido practitioners have the internal energy and physical structure which they describe. I do not believe that Eric is correct that what Mike and Dan are talking about is different than what O-Sensei and his top deshi, including my own teachers, Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei, have developed as PART of their essential skill set (which includes a fundamental physical change in body structure due to certain types of training methods). I absolutely agree with them that most Aikido folks do not understand this set of issues very well.

But, having said that, one notices that many of the senior Aikido folks who regularly post on this site and the other Aikido forums, have not participated in these discussions. I believe that this is because there is so much more to Aikido than what these fellows understand. As I have said before, the majority of Aikido's most incisive critics have some Aikido background. Of the group, I think that Ellis Amdur, despite the fact that he chose to leave Aikido and pursue classical martial arts training and is now engaged in the pursuit of Chinese internal arts, is the most sympathetic to what O-Sensei intended Aikido to be. This would probably be the result of his original Aikido training with Terry Dobson Sensei for whom O-Sensei's message was very important.

People who look at Aikido through the lens of straight martial application tend to believe that the Founder was at his peak in the thirties. They believe that Aikido technically peaked when it was barely evolved out of Daito Ryu (which was actually before the art was even renamed Aikido). If the point of Aikido was purely martial application this might even be true to a large extent, not completely, but largely.

But that was never the intent of O-Sensei's development of Aikido. He flat out stated that all the way back in the early days. Mochizuki Sensei, after he returned from France reported to the Founder that he was concerned that, in order to win the various challenge matches that he had to accept (very common in the early days when Aikido had to prove itself) he had to resort to tricks that came from his experience in other martial arts. O-Sensei was completely unconcerned by this and replied by asking Mochizuki Sensei "Haven't you understood the point of what I have been teaching?"

Mike and Dan are pretty outspoken about these issues. Eric is one of the very few Aikido folks who is willing to stand in the line of fire and debate them head on, which I appreciate greatly, even though in this particular discussion I think they prevail. Most Aikido folks simply find that this discussion, while interesting, has very little to do with what they see as their own training, with what they are looking to get out of the pursuit of the art.

While we all, myself included, make fun of the "aiki fruities" because they really have less than no idea how to connect their philosophical / spiritual ideas to actual waza in a way that makes sense, in terms of intent, they understand what the Founder was trying to do in creating Aikido more than Mike and Dan will ever do. They simply cannot understand Aikido because they do not do the art. They do not do the art probably because they are temperamentally unsuited to it. This in no way questions their own high level of expertise in areas that impact on Aikido practice. That is why I strongly recommend that every Aikido student who gets a chance go out of his way to get some experience with these folks.

Aikido is essentially a practice about whose purpose is to open ones heart. Teachers like Sunadomari Sensei, Anno Sensei, and others are very straightforward about this. To really appreciate how Aikido as an art can do this, one must actually practice the art and take that practice to a fairly deep level. You cannot understand it from the outside.

So what I am trying to say is that, Mike especially, has a tendency to evaluate everything from one set of criteria. He isn't much interested in something if it can't be talked about using that set of criteria. And while Dan is much the same in this regard, Mike is more apt to actively try to pull every discussion in which he participates back to these criteria. I can say, for myself, that his set of criteria for evaluating our art touches on only a small part of what I think is central to the pursuit of the art in terms of how O-Sensei intended it to be.

There are Aikido teachers out there that most of us would give our right arms to equal. It is of virtually no concern to me whether Mike thinks they are using internal energetics as defined via his pursuit Chinese martial arts. There are teachers whom I emulate in my own practice whom I think Mike would basically write off as offering nothing of interest to him. For instance, on several occasions I have mentioned Vladimir Vasiliev and Systema. Mike's response was to say that he had looked at what they do and he didn't think that what they were doing utilized the energetic concepts which he understood to be central to good martial arts. I simply do not care whether what they do can be described using those terms or not. But when I look at the results of lengthy Systema training in terms of both ability and even more especially in terms of character development and what folks would probably consider the "spiritual" side of things, I see an art that embodies exactly what I want out of my Aikido and an art that I think O-Sensei would instinctively have understood. I don't care whether Mike can describe it in his terms or not.

There are an array of Aikido teachers who I think have taken their Aikido to an extremely deep level. Mike would look at each of them and consider whether they were doing what he understands. If not, he would be uninterested in pursuing any further investigation. It is clear what he is interested in knowing and it is clear that he will go far out of his way to find folks who can better his understanding in that area. But there are folks in Aikido that I would train with at every opportunity whom Mike and Dan and the folks with similar approaches would write off in an instant, I think. For instance, it would surprise me greatly if either of these folks would spend ten minutes of their time looking at Endo Sensei. I could be wrong, but it would seem to me that what Endo Sensei is doing and the intent with which he is doing it would pretty much be irrelevant to the concerns of these folks. On the other hand, what he is doing is absolutely central to what I am trying to do with my own Aikido.

The failure to understand what Aikido is and could be is not limited to outsiders. There were plenty of Aikido folks of great achievement who simply couldn't go the distance with the Founder as he kept developing the art. Most of the thirties deshi would be in this category. It is my opinion that we do not have to be apologetic about our art when we deal with folks like Dan and Mike etc. We can acknowledge their great expertise and their ability to articulate it while at the same time seeing that they do not understand what we are doing, what we aspire to make out of our art, why we love the art so much, etc.

It is quite fascinating to me that a couple of guys who clearly believe that most Aikido folks are incompetent and have nothing to teach them will spend the huge amount of time they have communicating with all of us.I think that the fact that most of the very senior Aikido folks who post here don't participate in these discussions much, if at all, simply speaks to the fact that on a fundamental level what Mike and Dan are expressing, while it may be an important set of issues technically for all of us, is not central in our concerns. And the issues which are central to our concerns are simply not very important to these fellows.

So, I repeat, I know that both Dan and Mike are experts in what they do and are to be regarded with great respect. What they know could make all of our Aikido practices better. But I do not believe that either of them really "gets it" either when it comes to what we do and why we do it. Neither of them does it and Mike actually used to and walked away from it. That's fine. Aikido isn't for everyone, no art is. You find your art and you find your teacher. Perhaps as one grows one even changes these over time. But someone who is temperamentally unsuited for a given art will never really understand it, period. I am the first one to say that we in Aikido should be better at what we do. But I am certainly unwilling to concede that folks from outside can speak to the central issues of what Aikido should be and we do not need to let outsiders define the parameters for evaluating our art. They fundamentally do not "get it" nor do they particularly wish to.

I know that for every person posting there are hundreds who browse but never express themselves. Many of these folks are at the beginning of their Aikido careers and I think often find these discussions a bit confusing. Reading these discussions would often give someone new an impression that we don't know as Aikido practitioners who we are and what we do. So there is a lot of discussion about sources for practice outside our art. But for most of us, this is simply to get more understanding to bring back into our own art of Aikido and make it better. It isn't an expression of loss of focus or dissatisfaction with the art. It is folks who have trained a very long time talking about where they go to keep their training and ideas fresh; how we keep growing in our practice.

Aikido is a very alive and evolving art. The intention is completely different than koryu in which the intent is to preserve something intact from the past and keep it going. Aikido is new, it has very little past. The evolving nature of the practice is both its strength and a weakness. We have a tendency to charge forth and walk away from important elements of the practice. There is not set system to keep this from happening so it relies on the sincerity of the practitioners themselves that they do not let this happen. When we stray it is important to look at where we have become deficient and reacquire those skills and get them back into the art.

At the same time, no art can be all things. There will be things our art isn't well designed for. I do not think that we need to worry terribly about that. It is not important, I think whether an Aikido guy can be in the UFC and prevail. If I wanted to do that, I would do mixed martial arts. Integrity on our practice comes from paying attention to what we are trying to do and why and making sure we develop our practice honestly along that path. This forum has many many folks who have substantial backgrounds in other martial arts and have found what they were looking for in their Aikido practice. Introspection is good for our art but we don't need to have an inferiority complex about it either. As important as a thread like this is in defining many important technical issues for us as aikidoka, it also doesn't even touch on areas which I think are central to defining Aikido as Aikido and not aikijutsu or some other soft or internal style. I just wanted those folks with only a little experience to understand that point so they don't get confused by thee discussions.
Amen.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-25-2007, 11:52 PM   #698
Erick Mead
 
Erick Mead's Avatar
Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,499
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
……or to dissipate large amounts of kinetic energy directed at them. I would love for someone to propose a physical model for the "bounce" mechanism they describe that does not rely on angular momentum.
I don't debate your mechanic and physics. I've no need. I can do things you admit you cannot do and now openly tell me I don't understand how --I- do them.
Then it will remain only with you and those you meet with -- because it is not amenable to communicaiton in deatils by other means. There are some means that provide that ability of critical detail. I don't actually know what you mean to do, or what you can do, nor you of me. I don't pretend otherwise, although I give you the benefit of reputation here. I don't do that. There is no point. I am not travelling on my reputation, as you do, nor could I, and so your attempt at dismissal of me on that basis is misplaced, even if it were sound.

When I say you are wrong on a mechanical understanding of what you describe you are doing or that we see on video, it is not a personal affront, nor a call for the defenders of your reputation to chime in a vouching contest to put me down. I am merely saying that there are very useful mechanical concepts for what is happening, and that concepts that come down the metaphorical road from a holistic tradition lose their utility to critique movement at a level of detail where mechanical principles are just getting going. Sometimes detail is not useful in training critique, but many times it can be.

There is a very great deal of information that can be observed and then communicated about this stuff in purely mechanical terms. Not all of it, surely, and not the most imporatn parts. But very great depths of detail. Close observation can only aid practice. Mechanics is really little more than very refined methods of observation and description. Really, it can lead to some pretty cool stuff. It lets people defy gravity with some clever shapes and moving air.

Our collective understanding of the principles involved in aikido and martial arts generally can be enlarged by the comparisons of different ideas about its functions in mechnical terms. You leave me thinking that for you there is nothing left to learn and nothing new to find in what you already know. I doubt that is true. I have lived and learned too long to believe that about anything I ever learned. Don't avoid it just because someone might be a little better at it to begin with. It's just time and experience, like anything else. Your observations have great value. The language to describe them more precisely can be learned.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2007, 01:07 AM   #699
eyrie
 
eyrie's Avatar
Location: Summerholm, Queensland
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,126
Australia
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
A thorough attempt at knocking IT down on a substantive basis is a worthwhile effort....If you succeeded in knocking me down the ideas are still there. It is wasted effort trying to knock me down, cause I really don't count for much. I just pointed to the ideas and the things that call them into play -- I didn't invent them. They don't travel on my merit, and good thing, too. If I were run out on a rail, somebody else will eventually point to the same ideas and ask naughty questions, too.

I made a long list of questions that no one really answered yet.
Yeah, we already know... nobody can win unless you say so, right?

I can't imagine how so many people who have not met or know each other from Adam, can all be talking about the same ONE thing and understand perfectly what the other person is saying, and YET, only YOU and YOUR theory stands out amongst the rest as the ONE ultimate, undefeatable theorem of Aikido movement to end all other MA movement theories.

Oh, I apologize, you didn't invent the concepts, you're just playing devils advocate for the heck of it.... because you can, not because it's the right and responsible thing to do... have you considered that this garden path that you are essentially exhorting some ignorant neophytes to follow may not in fact be the right one?

What long list of questions? I thought those were already answered, by various persons? Oh... you mean answered to YOUR satisfaction.... with the answers YOU wanted to hear?

Ignatius
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2007, 05:24 AM   #700
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I do not believe that Eric is correct that what Mike and Dan are talking about is different than what O-Sensei and his top deshi, including my own teachers, Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei, have developed as PART of their essential skill set (which includes a fundamental physical change in body structure due to certain types of training methods). I absolutely agree with them that most Aikido folks do not understand this set of issues very well.
Hi George:

Well, the point is, as you note, that these skills are ESSENTIAL, they're not some side-element like a sword kata,etc. I.e., and this has been said before, these skills are the foundational skills without which someone who does Aikido is only doing the external shell, regardless of whether they can do if for fighting, looks good in a hakama, has many supporting theories, etc., etc. The inference I get is your emphasis of "PART" ... these skills are "PART" of Aikido just like the alphabet is "PART" of Shakespeare's writings.
Quote:
But, having said that, one notices that many of the senior Aikido folks who regularly post on this site and the other Aikido forums, have not participated in these discussions. I believe that this is because there is so much more to Aikido than what these fellows understand.
OK, I will accept that as an assertion, but I want to see it. Any "senior Aikido folk" (westerners who frequent this forum) you want to name who can demonstrate these skills? Because before they can have a "deeper understanding", they must be able to do these "essential" things, right? In your first paragraph, you said these things were "essential". And remember, this isn't just "Dan and Mike".... we're just uncomfortable reminders of things that O-Sensei also said, Tohei says, Abe says, etc., etc. Remember also that "Dan and Mike" (we're not a team, please... we're often arguing from different perspectives) are offset by the crucial circumstance of Hiroshi Ikeda bringing in Ushiro Sensei to teach these same things because they are so important. How many "senior Aikido folks" can already do these things that Ushiro is teaching?
Quote:
So what I am trying to say is that, Mike especially, has a tendency to evaluate everything from one set of criteria. He isn't much interested in something if it can't be talked about using that set of criteria. And while Dan is much the same in this regard, Mike is more apt to actively try to pull every discussion in which he participates back to these criteria. I can say, for myself, that his set of criteria for evaluating our art touches on only a small part of what I think is central to the pursuit of the art in terms of how O-Sensei intended it to be.
Well, the fact that I think someone should learn how to use the alphabet before becoming a writer is somewhat different from your view that you can be a good writer without having to know the alphabet because the alphabet is only a "PART" of the things a writer has to know.
Quote:
But I am certainly unwilling to concede that folks from outside can speak to the central issues of what Aikido should be and we do not need to let outsiders define the parameters for evaluating our art.
Well, the real problem is that you're flatly disagreeing with Hiroshi Ikeda by making these comments, George. He is bringing in an "outsider", even more of an outsider than I am. Yet you're not trying to maginalize Ushiro's comments like "No kokyu, no aikido". Is it because if you ignore Ushiro's and Ikeda's comments about these skills long enough, they'll quit bothering you, go away, and leave the status quo where it is?

Best.

Mike Sigman
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Aikido Transmission and Class Size Kevin Leavitt General 30 03-02-2007 09:14 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:14 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate