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Old 02-26-2007, 06:43 AM   #701
MM
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
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 would respectfully disagree with you here. This is all IMO. Large organizations are usually run by a handful of people. The organization is not to blame, it is the individuals. Just a few individuals running the organization can change the whole organization.

Let me use an example. If Saotome sensei knew of some exercises that built these baseline skills and he decided to implement them into his organization, do you think the dojo cho would resist him? Or would there be a change? You're higher up in the chain of authority, so I'm guessing you'd know what would happen. I'm low enough that I don't have to deal with the politics yet.

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:02 AM   #702
DH
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Re: Baseline skillset

Politics for protection of what?
And for helping and being honest with whom? Assume for a moment these skills and how to attain them are known among your smiling Japanese shihan.They tell you...while smiling "Yup the sectret is in the kata. Go beat up your body for another ten years for another morsel."
I'll be happy to stay outside and help do the job they should have been doing all along. And show how to build-up your body not break it down and at least honestly share the little I know. The exercises are just step one. There is so much more.

The oddest part is that in many ways at least technically-Mike, and I are not outsiders, only Rob is. How's that? We were both in Aikido and were part of the men who left that George just described. Moreover, I have been in aikido dojos every once in a while since then. So I respecfully offer you're not hearing from outsiders- you're hearng from your lowest students.

So what can we say now that the lowest are in agreement with some of the highest in the art? That ain't bad. I can't speak to Mike and Robs expereinces. But to date, I've not met the Aikido person I am showing these things to-many of whom have felt your highest level teachers- who does not think these skills are essential to the art. To say that you are choosing to only search for them from within is to just continue with the "shut-out" that the art has perpetuated for years. Quite honestly that will no longer work.

Aikido-by what I have been reading- is losing numbers- not gaining, The pressure on the art is two fold. I end as I've ended the last few posts, that I argue on two fronts.
First, it is losing because skill-to-skill it is no match for us who do MMA. Young men or those interested in pursuing MA look for things that work in a shorter time frame. then they hear of advanced ten and fifteen year aikidoka "having the stuff" only to see them taken apart just by jujutsu with no real agression. So techncially its available waza and principles are no match and come up short. Why? the power of Aikido was NEVER in its waza. Its in these skills. Which leads me to the next part.
Secondly, It is losing because the higher level skills which can give it power to defend are simply not being taught, and or are not known. This is what men have been looking for after all. How well they can fair against MMA is no matter. These skills will increase their martial veracity exponentially with their studies. Any idiot will tell you that power isd essential. Takeda said the number reason to train was to be strong. He knew what he was talking about.And it ain't lifting weights.

What can you say to your young men who have felt it. The power speaks for itself. Only a damn fool wouldn't want it
I tell them "Go, train it, and stay in Aikido and make it what it was. Don't tell them where you got it from."
In this case "ignore it and it will go away." Has a critical meaning.
You continue to ignore it
your students will go away.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-26-2007 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:14 AM   #703
MM
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
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.
Hi Kevin,
Well, as someone with a before and after experience, let me add my opinion.

Dan, Mike, and Rob are all doing very different things in their training. Mike has talked about CMA, Dan MMA, and Rob is with Akuzawa. But, yet, all three, with different backgrounds, can talk about the same baseline skills and understand each other. They have common ground even though they are not doing the same training. Think about it, Taiji is as different from MMA as you can get.

The ones who aren't sharing this common ground are the ones who don't understand what these baseline skills are. And coming from before, I know what that's like. I remember Dan's posts on E-budo and I struggled to conceptualize what he was doing.

However, if it wasn't for the long threads and efforts of those three, I wouldn't have ever met any of them. So, talking about this is constructive and positive. At least I found it to be so.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
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.
These baseline skills are the "base". If there is no base, there is no foundation or framework. Like building a house on a sandy beach.

Let me put it this way. It's my opinion that these "baseline skills" are the "aiki" in aikido. They are that important.

As an example that someone else has used and I've read before. If you stand in a relaxed manner with feet side by side, shoulder width apart and let someone push on your chest with all their strength, what happens to you? Are you pushed over? Do you lean in and resist? Try it. Have someone put their hand on your chest and push for all they are worth.

Now, if you can stand there and not be moved, then think about what that means. You have someone exerting a force upon your body and you have neither added resistance to it, nor have you given way under it. So, in essence, you haven't added or subtracted away from that force. You have matched that force such that everything has been neutralized.

Let that simmer for a minute. You've matched an incoming force in such a manner that you have neither hurt the attacker nor were you hurt in the effort. Now, that is aiki.

And to answer the last part of your comment. Yes, definitely, it can be put into dynamic situations, using "aliveness".

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
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.
Eh, video is over-rated. Kind of hard to tell what's happening inside someone's body on video, or how compliant an uke is being.

But, as for the dumping part. These baseline skills aren't there for that. They are, as they are called, "base"line skills. That means that you can apply them in some manner in your training. Why do you think that Rob, Mike, and Dan can do vastly different training and yet talk about the commonality so well?

Mark
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:47 AM   #704
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Brion Toss wrote: View Post
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?
Hello Brion,
I disagree. I think you're way off and completely wrong. Well, unless you are a MA genius and can see what's hidden in plain sight. These baseline skills are not in the waza. Eric doesn't get it and any attempts at using simple physics or mechanics to try to explain what is happening is useless and wasting energy. But, if you don't think any of that truly matters ... why post? Obviously, you thought it did. To me, these do matter.

Mark
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:59 AM   #705
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Here's the light bulb that went off in my head. Since I'll be playing the "Osensei said..." game, here's the direct quote, followed by my translation (which I invite any fluent in Japanese to pick part).

From the Seibukan website
合気道の極意は、己を宇宙の動きと調和させ、己を宇宙そのものと一致させることにある。合気道の極意を会得した者は、宇宙がその腹中にあり、「我は即ち宇宙」なのである。 いかなる早技で敵が襲いかかってきても私は敗れない。それは私の技が敵の技より早いからではない。はじめから勝負がついているのだ。敵が「宇宙そのものである私」と争おう とすることは、宇宙との調和を破ろうとしているのだ。

"The secret (gokui) of aikido is to harmonize oneself with the movement of the universe, and to become one with the universe itself. One who has learned the gokui of aikido, the universe will be in his mind (lit. "in his hara, or stomach"), and he will be the universe. No matter how fast a technique the enemy attacks me with, I will not be defeated. That is not because I am faster than my enemy's technique. The contest is decided from the beginning. The enemy, trying to struggle with me, who is the universe, is trying to rend harmony with the universe."

Now, some say this is really just an extended metaphor for aikido's circular movement (with the idea that the universe spins, so so should aikidoka). But really, for me that was not a satisfactory answer. How does one harmonize with the movement of the universe? No teacher that I heard or read in aikido seemed to address it. I guess most just wrote it off as esoteric philosophizing. But what the internal strength guys on here have mentioned does seem to fit what Ueshiba was saying here. It seemed to fit Ueshiba's pushing demonstrations. When I met Rob John, nothing he did seemed "un-aikido". Rather it felt very aikido.

The counter argument for this is that Rob and others speak of using "the ground", while Ueshiba says 宇宙, uchuu, the universe. But that again falls into the translation trap. 宇宙 is certainly used in modern science to refer to what in English is called "space" and "the universe". But the word also has the sense of "everything that exists". Modern folks, used to modern science, say you have to form a connection with the ground. Ueshiba, exponent of esoteric Shinto-ism, said you have to form a connection with existence itself. It's not a one-to-one calque, no, but nothing else in aikido seems to come as close.

That's how it looks to me. I leave others to draw their own conclusions.

Josh Reyer

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Old 02-26-2007, 08:14 AM   #706
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I would respectfully disagree with you here. This is all IMO. Large organizations are usually run by a handful of people. The organization is not to blame, it is the individuals. Just a few individuals running the organization can change the whole organization.

Let me use an example. If Saotome sensei knew of some exercises that built these baseline skills and he decided to implement them into his organization, do you think the dojo cho would resist him? Or would there be a change? You're higher up in the chain of authority, so I'm guessing you'd know what would happen. I'm low enough that I don't have to deal with the politics yet.

Thanks,
Mark
Mark,
I am in complete agreement with you... If organizations were designed properly they would serve an indispensable function in the transmission of the art. With the huge number of people training, the organization creates the structure which would allow a small group of seniors at the top to systematically reach the widest possible range of students at the bottom.

But typically, this is not happening. Instead, what I see is that Aikido gets simplified and dumbed down by organizations in order to make it accessible to the mases, so to speak. Or, the organization becomes a structure designed solely to perpetuate itself by rigidly controlling what its members get to see. Sometimes both happen at the same time. In this case the organization serves to stifle any creativity in its membership and makes it difficult for any person of rare talent to rise above the rest.

If I had to pick a group that has seemed to do an excellent job with the transmission it is the Yoshinkan Aikido folks. They have tried to keep a good quality level, have a systematized curriculum for teaching the fundamentals, but they seem rather open to outside experience when compared to other groups. They have not dumbed down the art but rather created an organization to pass on what Shioda Sensei taught.

So when I say that organizations will not keep Aikido growing and vital in terms of re-introducing the skills that may have been neglected I simply meant that they are not generally constructed with anything like that in mind at the moment.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 02-26-2007, 08:19 AM   #707
HL1978
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
I learned three classes of engineering structural connections:

1) a roller joint which is free to move laterally without friction and to pivot freely at the point of support,

2) a hinge joint which can pivot freely about the point of support but not move laterally

3) a pinned or fixed joint that is not free to move laterally or to pivot.

Trusses or spaceframes must have pinned or fixed joints.

Stable arches can have pinned joints or up to three hinges, but no rollers.

A beam can have any combination of the three. (Continuous beams can have more that two points of support.)

There is a fourth, of a sort, but plastic connections are very non-linear.
Just to add a bit and say that when talking about structure, some of the assumptions are a bit flawed.

What if the fasteners for the various hinges/joints are loose?

Wouldn't that change one type of joint into another?

Would tightness/loosness in the joint change which type of deformation (plastic etc)occurs at varying loads?

What if they are tight? What if some of them are loose and others are tight? That is to say they aren't uniform, or can selectively be chosen which are loose and which are tight?

Think about that for a bit and the grounding sensation that people are talking about might make a bit more sense if you want to talk about it from mechanics/statics. Its like if you played with an erector set and only tightend some of the fasteners, how would that effect how the erector set was loaded.

Last edited by HL1978 : 02-26-2007 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 02-26-2007, 09:26 AM   #708
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Re: Baseline skillset

I'm curious to hear some opinions from senior folks....... How many of Osensei's students have surpassed him in skill level? Heck, do you feel that it is even possible? I'm anticipating that the answer might be none and no. Taken to the next level, for those of you that train with direct students of Osensei, have you or any of your peers surpassed the skill level of your teacher? Where I'm going with this is as follows:

1. If none of Osensei's students have surpassed him in skill level, and none of the students of his direct students have surpassed them in skill level, doesn't that mean that the art is technically weakening with every generation? It's very easy to give an emphatic HELL NO here but I'm interested in hearing why if you believe that this is not true.

2. If the art is technically weakening with each generation then why is this happening? Curriculum? Training methods? Progressively weaker constitution of followers?

3. To use a metaphor, have I spent years and years unknowingly building a house on unsettled ground? I know that each time my house falls down I scrutinize my efforts by looking at the house and trying to figure out why it fell. With some new ideas of how to improve the house I then attempt to rebuild it better than the last time only to have it fall again. So, I spend all of my sweat, blood, and pain trying to keep my house from falling down all the while not being able to live in it much less show others how to build one of their own. Is it possible to start building the house on a solid foundation so that maybe......just maybe......I could expend that same effort on showing others how to properly build a house that can provide them with shelter and enrich their lives as well.

Is it possible that stable ground and the foundation is the "baseline skillset" being discussed and debated here? What would happen to the art if this foundation was passed on efficiently?

Thanks in advance for your opinions.

Best,

Mark

Last edited by mjchip : 02-26-2007 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 02-26-2007, 09:47 AM   #709
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Baseline skillset

Hand me that whip and let me beat this dead horse a little bit.

Words – words - words. So many opinions and such inflated ego. I question the existence of a definitive set of Baseline Skills. There are good foundations on which one builds “their” art and there are bad foundations on which one builds “their” art. Good strong works are built on good strong foundations. Some folks believe a person can short circuit the process and jump right into the higher levels of training without building a strong foundation. Some of us believe a good budoka should take time to develop. Part of that process is the development of the person as a human being and not just an effective martial arts practitioner and we joust on occasion with humility. Waza is just the start, when ones waza becomes ones own then it turns into jutsu and after sufficient time and training under a competent teacher ones jutsu becomes a Do. If Do is the ultimate goal one must get their through waza and jutsu. Now granted some folks in Aikido believe they have an inalienable right to define what they do as a Do. They believe because of their affiliation with Aikido they can lay claim to the process and jump right to the head of the line.

Some on this forum will have you believe your goals should be judged by their parameters and many here are buying into it. Much of what M. Ueshiba did involved circles and spirals. Watch him in rondori, he is not standing still letting people bounce off him. He is moving all the time. In Aikido proper movement, spacing, timing, proper distance use of centrifugal and centripetal energy, breathing and understand energy folws between you and your partners are critical to proper training. To me these are the first thing a student should learn. Then move to waza and do that long enough to let it become jutsu and do that long enough to let it become Do. Some here have said some of my students have been on the mat with them and proclaimed a new insight had been gained. When I ask those same students (one just last week) it seems at lest one teacher has a much greater opinion of his impact on them than they do. Of course opinions are like assholes we all have one.

Now we are all making judgments here, some more than others. Let me preach on. From all report both Dan and Mike and big, well muscled, strong and capable individuals. How much of what they do is based on their physical prowess as opposed to their “inner” power I do not know. I hope one day to find out in a friendly and open way. We have a common friend that says he believes both men could take him down. However, we have both been training in budo for about 40 years and both if us put limited value on being able to take someone down.

Several years ago a 10th dan was touring the United States doing a series of demonstrations. I was ask to be and Uke for one. Inf ornt of several hundred people he did his thing and then pined me with one finger. He said “get Up” I started to and felt his finger bend and his elbow. I ask my self did I want to do this to this old man in front of all these people. I said to myself No. Just because his technique did not work that day I was not going to make a statement that said his technique would never work. Why did I tell you this? I don’t know but it seemed like it needed telling here. Sometimes a kindness needs to be extended I think. Some will say because of this I am weak and complaisant in a lie. I say I was being a kinder person than I had been.

Last edited by Dennis Hooker : 02-26-2007 at 09:51 AM.

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Old 02-26-2007, 09:54 AM   #710
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
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.
Tire screech. Hold on, let's back the truck up a bit.

I was tempted to let the point go after Rob John pointedly suggested that you get some Japanese fluency before arguing the language front. But if you're going to use my non-response as evidence for your argument, well then, I have to respond.

First point. 受動抵抗? Did you just translate the two words and stick them together? 受動的(な)抵抗 at least has use to refer to "passive resistance" beyond joint therapy and role-playing game saving throws. But that's beside the point. I'm not interested in how to translate "passive resistance" into Japanese (which could be accomplished by 消極的(な)抵抗, 受動的(な)抵抗, if I want to take two words and put them together, or indeed 無抵抗 if I just want one word), I'm interested in what 無抵抗主義 means, since that is what Ueshiba actually said.

What I said was that 無抵抗主義, (note the 主義 shugi!) could be translated as "the principle of passive resistance". This is not up for debate. The term is most frequently associated with Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jesus Christ.

Now, as to 徹底した. The quote is 徹底した無抵抗主義で相手に逆らわない. First off, the 徹底した refers to the 主義, not the 無抵抗. 無抵抗 is modifying the 主義, not the 無抵抗. 徹底した〇〇主義 is a common expression in Japanese, and refers to a thorough consistency in thought and attitude, so Ueshiba was certainly not talking about body mechanics. At least not as far as the 徹底した goes in this quote. Secondly, the part that comes next is important; what Ueshiba says doesn't end there. That で connects the first part of the sentence with the second, the 相手に逆らわない part. In other words, the 徹底した無抵抗主義 is that in aikido one doesn't oppose the other person. You can't quote the 徹底した part while leaving off the 主義, and certainly not the part that explicitly elaborates on how that 主義 is realized.

Erick, I've never met you, or felt your aikido. What you describe you do may be some wonderful aikido internal power, and if you were to meet Mike, Dan, Rob, or Ignatius, maybe you'd realize that what you're talking about isn't really that different. I hope that is the case. I can only say, as a person who lives and works in Japan, who has made the study of Japanese a major part of his life for the past 13 years, that linguistically you don't have a leg to stand on here.

この議論がますますこのスレの本題から外れています。これ以上日本語に関して議論をしたいのなら、日本語のフォーラムで続きましょう。そして、日本語でお願いします。合気 道について日本語で話してはいけないとは決して言わないが、日本語について議論するなら、日本語が最適だと思います。

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:08 AM   #711
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mark Chiappetta wrote: View Post
I'm curious to hear some opinions from senior folks....... How many of Osensei's students have surpassed him in skill level? Heck, do you feel that it is even possible? I'm anticipating that the answer might be none and no. Taken to the next level, for those of you that train with direct students of Osensei, have you or any of your peers surpassed the skill level of your teacher? Where I'm going with this is as follows:
I think some direct students of Osensei are better and more talented than others. I have seen students, both Japanese and Westerners, who surpassed their teachers who are direct students of Osensei. In the exception of Tohei and perhaps Shioda, and with all due respect, I have not seen something from the remaining Shihans that really strikes me as extraordinary. They had the privilege to know and train with Osensei, they are great aikido masters, but their students can also become as good or even better. Osensei was an extraordinary man, with exceptional talents and gifts, and he also was a very hard worker, obsessed with what he was doing. Get me someone who trains and lives aikido the same way Osensei did, and I am quite sure he must be damn good.
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:13 AM   #712
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
Much of what M. Ueshiba did involved circles and spirals. Watch him in rondori, he is not standing still letting people bounce off him.
With all due respect, Dennis (and my respect for you is considerable), I have watched Ueshiba in randori, in the 1935 Asahi film to be precise, and seen him stand still and have a person bounce off him. Twice. Well, that's not entirely true. He did move forward ever so slightly, just as the uke reached him.

Shioda does the same thing at about the 2:30 mark in this clip.

Josh Reyer

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Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:21 AM   #713
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
With all due respect, Dennis (and my respect for you is considerable), I have watched Ueshiba in randori, in the 1935 Asahi film to be precise, and seen him stand still and have a person bounce off him. Twice. Well, that's not entirely true. He did move forward ever so slightly, just as the uke reached him.

Shioda does the same thing at about the 2:30 mark in this clip.
But he did move!

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Old 02-26-2007, 10:28 AM   #714
ChrisMoses
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
Hand me that whip and let me beat this dead horse a little bit.
Me too! Me too!

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Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
I question the existence of a definitive set of Baseline Skills. (snippage) Waza is just the start, when ones waza becomes ones own then it turns into jutsu and after sufficient time and training under a competent teacher ones jutsu becomes a Do.
I'm not trying to launch a purely semantic argument, but I think this last line truly outlines one of the differences in thought that we're discussing here. As I have been taught in Aikido, and as you state, "Waza is just the start..." I am arguing (and I believe others in the "Baseline" camp are as well) that waza is NOT the start, but rather a manifestation of strategies that can only really be formed over a more fundamental skillset. That skillset is what I'm currently interested in. In short, it is teaching the body how to exist in a state that readies it for efficient martial movement. For me, I find that it's filling holes, namely, I'm learning how I need to BE (*not* how I need to *move*) internally so that I can really do all the waza that I've been taught over the years. At Rob's workshop, Scott Irey, a friend and MJER godan, stopped by to watch. Scott is one of the best Iaidoka that I have ever seen and he's a sarcastic bastard ready to dismiss anything and anyone at the drop of a hat. He stayed and watched the whole thing, occasionally jumping in with us to feel something (as long as we weren't in horse stance, the lazy bastard...) or feel Rob's arms or back while he was doing something. Later over tastyadultbeverages, instead of commenting on how it looked "Chinese" or "like Yoga" (both valid observations actually) he kept saying, "This stuff is REALLY old, people don't train like this anymore. It's too hard, so nobody does it." No dismissal, no poo-pooing, just interest and the twisted joy of watching grown men want to cry when their quads would no longer support their own weight.

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Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
Now we are all making judgments here, some more than others. Let me preach on. From all report both Dan and Mike and big, well muscled, strong and capable individuals. How much of what they do is based on their physical prowess as opposed to their "inner" power I do not know.
Well, I haven't met Dan or Mike, but Rob's about 6' and maybe 140 lbs. He's THIN. Not to diss him, but I think my forearms are about the size of his upper arms and he was able to bounce our 6'3" 240 lb *Mitz Yamashita trained* Samoan around pretty much at will. I easily have 50 lbs on him and he is almost the only person I have trouble doing the push-out exercise with anymore.

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Old 02-26-2007, 10:35 AM   #715
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Tom Wharton wrote: View Post

Hi Dan

No, I was not able to push Rob, though when I got a chance to try, it was in a different exercise. I didn't meet any Josh.
Josh Lerner was from the KSR contingent, he was on the other side of the <STRIKE>pit of dispair</STRIKE> dojo most of the day.

Finally all that physics talk forces me to write, "Spherical Point Mass Chicken!" That is all...

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Old 02-26-2007, 10:54 AM   #716
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Baseline skillset

Christian these skills being talked about here will develop as we train if we are sponges not a mirrors. Waza, Jutsu and Do equate to Shu Ha Ri and mark the development of a budoka. The skills are transferable to all arts I have trained in and I find my Aikido compliments by sword very well and my sword work fits into my Aikido seamlessly. Some of us believe what is being defined here as a baseline skill set is a natural outcome of proper training. That is one of the big issues that separated the Tohei camp from the Aikikai camp in the late 60's. Dan and others believe you should go for this skill set from the top down and some of use believe in the bottom up method. That is about it. Of course some believe that few of us posses it at all. Of course me, I got it all just ask me

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Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Me too! Me too!

I'm not trying to launch a purely semantic argument, but I think this last line truly outlines one of the differences in thought that we're discussing here. As I have been taught in Aikido, and as you state, "Waza is just the start..." I am arguing (and I believe others in the "Baseline" camp are as well) that waza is NOT the start, but rather a manifestation of strategies that can only really be formed over a more fundamental skillset. That skillset is what I'm currently interested in. In short, it is teaching the body how to exist in a state that readies it for efficient martial movement. For me, I find that it's filling holes, namely, I'm learning how I need to BE (*not* how I need to *move*) internally so that I can really do all the waza that I've been taught over the years. At Rob's workshop, Scott Irey, a friend and MJER godan, stopped by to watch. Scott is one of the best Iaidoka that I have ever seen and he's a sarcastic bastard ready to dismiss anything and anyone at the drop of a hat. He stayed and watched the whole thing, occasionally jumping in with us to feel something (as long as we weren't in horse stance, the lazy bastard...) or feel Rob's arms or back while he was doing something. Later over tastyadultbeverages, instead of commenting on how it looked "Chinese" or "like Yoga" (both valid observations actually) he kept saying, "This stuff is REALLY old, people don't train like this anymore. It's too hard, so nobody does it." No dismissal, no poo-pooing, just interest and the twisted joy of watching grown men want to cry when their quads would no longer support their own weight.

Well, I haven't met Dan or Mike, but Rob's about 6' and maybe 140 lbs. He's THIN. Not to diss him, but I think my forearms are about the size of his upper arms and he was able to bounce our 6'3" 240 lb *Mitz Yamashita trained* Samoan around pretty much at will. I easily have 50 lbs on him and he is almost the only person I have trouble doing the push-out exercise with anymore.

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Old 02-26-2007, 11:06 AM   #717
DH
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Re: Baseline skillset

Dennis
Couple of small points. Speaking for myself I don't expect any WOWS! from these things we are doing. They were/are in the art in various degrees. Its shop talk- not selling anyone on glowing golden clouds rising from the ground-thats your own arts mysterious hide the truth lingo. No one is striving for "great impacts" on people or teacher status.
FWIW I show, then Ask
"OK do you know this?"
"Can you do this?
"Do you want to learn?"
The most I expect... is what I ask them. "Do you think you can use this in Aikido?" THEY typically say they can see it is the basis of the art. No one is telling them anything about "doing" their art or leaving it. I encourage folks to stay. So, no one should be blown away, and no one is asking them- to be so. So
Top down or bottom is an old refrain that has no merit. It is many times the quintessential push away ploy. Many guys in the old days got "gradiated" in a fraction of the twenty-year man route we see now. I've felt twenty year guys I woudn't give you a wooden nickle for. I've also felt shihan who don't get it. And just why was it Ikeda brough in Ushiro and flatly stated the art needed help. And just how many twenty years guys could not do what he was doing? It leads me back to bottom up leading to nowhere as any -one- emporer may have no clothes. Then the other emporer does but held it for the late practitioner.
I call bullshit. These skills can be taught day one and build a better adept-in Aikido- from there.
Since your throwin digs a little, and you authored the "Why are you here?" thread. Just what are your opinions or conclusions as to why?

Second up is Ueshiba. I'm not going to go into details but I'll say the entire basis for turning, and centripedal and centrifcal forces all surround and are greatly enhanced, by these very things. And it all begins with an immovable and strong stationary central axis. The skills advance from there but the "aiki" is created; the drawing, the leading, the empty or full from that contact point.

Strength
Small guys do just fine, in fact in some things even better. They're already underneath. And "well muscled and big." Really Dennis pulease! I find it odd to even hear it raised as a question. The stronger and more flexed, the lighter they are. Since you obviously know better, why would you say that? Seems a bit disengenuous if I were assuming you were talkng to me as a collegue and not talking down to me. I for one certainly know better. And I already think most guys here know better as well.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-26-2007 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 02-26-2007, 11:32 AM   #718
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Baseline skillset

Dan I only know you by what others say and what you say about yourself. For me to say I don't know how much you rely on your physical prowess is natural until such a time as I learn different. I have talked to a few Aikido people that have been on the mat with you. Other than one of your students I have not heard from any other person that has trained with you or knows you. Just as you infer (no as you have said) that most if most all of us Aikido folks lake your skills and understanding. I know the power of small and even physically weak people can generate. I felt it and do it and I teach it. However I don't expect you to believe it until such time as we meet. You yourself are from time to time very boisterous regarding you skills and the general lack thereof on the part of the Aikido community. However, when one of us tends to react in kind you get upset.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Dennis
Couple of small points. Speaking for myself I don't expect any WOWS! from these things we are doing. They were/are in the art in various degrees. Its shop talk- not selling anyone on glowing golden clouds rising from the ground-thats your own arts mysterious hide the truth lingo. No one is striving for "great impacts" on people or teacher status.
FWIW I show, then Ask
"OK do you know this?"
"Can you do this?
"Do you want to learn?"
The most I expect... is what I ask them. "Do you think you can use this in Aikido?" THEY typically say they can see it is the basis of the art. No one is telling them anything about "doing" their art or leaving it. I encourage folks to stay. So, no one should be blown away, and no one is asking them- to be so. So
Top down or bottom is an old refrain that has no merit. It is many times the quintessential push away ploy. Many guys in the old days got "gradiated" in a fraction of the twenty-year man route we see now. I've felt twenty year guys I woudn't give you a wooden nickle for. I've also felt shihan who don't get it. And just why was it Ikeda brough in Ushiro and flatly stated the art needed help. And just how many twenty years guys could not do what he was doing? It leads me back to bottom up leading to nowhere as any -one- emporer may have no clothes. Then the other emporer does but held it for the late practitioner.
I call bullshit. These skills can be taught day one and build a better adept-in Aikido- from there.
Since your throwin digs a little, and you authored the "Why are you here?" thread. Just what are your opinions or conclusions as to why?

Second up is Ueshiba. I'm not going to go into details but I'll say the entire basis for turning, and centripedal and centrifcal forces all surround and are greatly enhanced, by these very things. And it all begins with an immovable and strong stationary central axis. The skills advance from there but the "aiki" is created; the drawing, the leading, the empty or full from that contact point.

Strength
Small guys do just fine, in fact in some things even better. They're already underneath. And "well muscled and big." Really Dennis pulease! I find it odd to even hear it raised as a question. The stronger and more flexed, the lighter they are. Since you obviously know better, why would you say that? Seems a bit disengenuous if I were assuming you were talkng to me as a collegue and not talking down to me. I for one certainly know better. And I already think most guys here know better as well.
Cheers
Dan

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Old 02-26-2007, 11:38 AM   #719
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
And it all begins with an immovable and strong stationary central axis. The skills advance from there but the "aiki" is created; the drawing, the leading, the empty or full from that contact point.
I saw this and had to comment...if I had a dime for everytime I've heard "central axis line" I'd be a rich man...But I still don't have a good, solid relaxed central axis line. I hear the words all the time...but it is really hard to accomplish. It is something my teacher harps on all the time, but I really wonder how much of it I can do in my body.

Best,
Ron

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Old 02-26-2007, 11:55 AM   #720
Ian Starr
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Re: Baseline skillset

"Several years ago a 10th dan was touring the United States doing a series of demonstrations. I was ask to be and Uke for one. Inf ornt of several hundred people he did his thing and then pined me with one finger. He said "get Up" I started to and felt his finger bend and his elbow. I ask my self did I want to do this to this old man in front of all these people. I said to myself No. Just because his technique did not work that day I was not going to make a statement that said his technique would never work. Why did I tell you this? I don't know but it seemed like it needed telling here. Sometimes a kindness needs to be extended I think. Some will say because of this I am weak and complaisant in a lie. I say I was being a kinder person than I had been."

Hi Dennis and everyone,

I have been in similar situations (not with any 10th dans). I think many of us have actually. In fact I feel we are put in an analogous situation every time we step onto the mat to train in Aikido due to the fact that our training is at its core, cooperative. There is no way around that fact (unless of course you change the way that you train "Aikido" - but for the most part that is how Aikidoka practice all over the world, or so I believe...). I appreciate your decision to respond as you did. I have acted in the same manner myself. Whether it be when everyone is watching or during normal training. Again, I believe we all do this to some degree each time we train. This is a real point of conflict for me lately. Acting in this manner has significant implications.

I very much understand and empathize with the choice you made in your story, especially given the context. I believe that we as practioners of Aikido do this constantly.

How to tie this into the thread?

How are we to measure "baseline skill sets" and what is/is not working within the training methodology of Aikido? To me this is a challenge to say the least. The easiest thing to do would be to ignore this problem and keep training as I/we have in the past. Honestly, I will probably do just that to some extent. Even when I am at my most contentious and feeling really cranky? about this, when I do show up and train I will still give in and "go with the flow". There are years of habit forming behaviors that contribute to this not to mention the dynamics of various relationships within the dojo. It would be truly disruptive to challenge the model of training with any consistency. That alone is almost always enough dissuade me. Then I go home and curse myself for contributing to what I believe is often a stagnant form of practice.

I do go outside of Aikido to satisfy/challenge myself and that is fine. But I still am very much connected to Aikido and many wonderful friends I have made over the years. So my struggle continues. I believe it is important to question these things if we really care about the future of Aikido.

Sorry if this sounds like me lying on a couch for a quick therapy session. The story you told inspired me to contribute.

Thanks,

Ian

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Old 02-26-2007, 11:58 AM   #721
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
I saw this and had to comment...if I had a dime for everytime I've heard "central axis line" I'd be a rich man...But I still don't have a good, solid relaxed central axis line. I hear the words all the time...but it is really hard to accomplish. It is something my teacher harps on all the time, but I really wonder how much of it I can do in my body.

Best,
Ron
Ron part of the confusion revolves around the definition of Aiki. How it is defined by Daito Ryu and how is was changed and redefined by Ueshiba in his development of Aikido. Some folks still want us to believe Aikido is just a derivative of Daito Ryu. They won't or can't believe it is something different because it doesn't fit within their parameters of what a budo should be. Are worth is constantly being measured by them using their standards. Of course we won't measure up according to them.
I really hate this line of communication it makes me very uncomfortable but I feel a need to respond to some of these derogatory comments. Also I believe you will develop this skill if you just keep training. Or go to Dan and take him at his word. Good luck and I hope you find it and he can lead you to it if you must have it quickly. I will admit I can't give it to you in a matter of hours or even days. I can show you but you got to work on it a lot.

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Old 02-26-2007, 11:59 AM   #722
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
Dan I only know you by what others say and what you say about yourself. For me to say I don't know how much you rely on your physical prowess is natural until such a time as I learn different. I have talked to a few Aikido people that have been on the mat with you. Other than one of your students I have not heard from any other person that has trained with you or knows you. Just as you infer (no as you have said) that most if most all of us Aikido folks lake your skills and understanding. I know the power of small and even physically weak people can generate. I felt it and do it and I teach it. However I don't expect you to believe it until such time as we meet. You yourself are from time to time very boisterous regarding you skills and the general lack thereof on the part of the Aikido community. However, when one of us tends to react in kind you get upset.
Upset??
Heck no. If I'm mad I'll tell ya. I like ya Dennis and I like the way you handle yourself in a discussion. Yes, we dissagree from time to time. But don't ya know we'd have a blast in person?

As for folks who have trained wth me, you've read from many right here on aikiweb. I'm fairly sure they have all stipulated that muscle cannot do these things. It won't work. The muscle comment was yours ya bone head. I didn't say it. All I did was comment that I would NEVER say that to the likes of you, or Chuck, Or Ellis or anyone else who's been round the block. We -ALL- know better. So why attach that to me or Mike? FWIW Rob's a skinny dude (sorry Rob). He has power.
Lets not get wacky about various arts. Whether DR, CMA or Aikido your going to find you can talk and move with commonalities between these Asian arts. The single biggest mistake folks in Aikido make is "believing" that Ueshiba found something unique in movement and power. In fat he didnlt. The only unique thing was his "peace vision" to not harm through budo. These skills are in other arts-particularly where he got his. But don't listen to me. He said it. "Takeda opened my eyes to the truth of Budo."
His Aiki gave Ueshiba the power to make his vision a reality. He could "see" that he could easily hand judoka, karateka Kendoka etc of his time with these skills-not waza.

Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-26-2007 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 02-26-2007, 12:15 PM   #723
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Dennis Hooker wrote:

Quote:
Waza is just the start, when ones waza becomes ones own then it turns into jutsu and after sufficient time and training under a competent teacher ones jutsu becomes a Do. If Do is the ultimate goal one must get their through waza and jutsu. Now granted some folks in Aikido believe they have an inalienable right to define what they do as a Do. They believe because of their affiliation with Aikido they can lay claim to the process and jump right to the head of the line
Dennis, do you think that maybe we concentrate too much on the DO in our study of aikido and that it would develop a better base to work on jutsu first?

Or am I missing your point all together. There is so much going on in this thread it is hard to process all this really.

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Old 02-26-2007, 12:19 PM   #724
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Baseline skillset

[quote=Dan Harden;169862]Upset??
Heck no. If I'm mad I'll tell ya. I like ya Dennis and I like the way you handle yourself in a discussion. Yes, we dissagree from time to time. But don't ya know we'd have a blast in person?

Dan your exasperating, frustrating, irritating and stimulating and I been trying to draw you out of that northern groundhog hole you call home from years into the real world but you come out see your shadow and go back in. One of these days you'll make a mistake summer will be here and you will actually end up teaching a seminar somewhere.

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Old 02-26-2007, 12:24 PM   #725
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Dennis Hooker wrote:

Dennis, do you think that maybe we concentrate too much on the DO in our study of aikido and that it would develop a better base to work on jutsu first?

Or am I missing your point all together. There is so much going on in this thread it is hard to process all this really.
Kevin You missed nothing. You got it! Harder work more study is what many of us need. As I travel around I see so much weak Aikido and people without strong foundations trying to be philosopher warriors when they are nether.

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