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Old 03-01-2007, 02:22 PM   #776
Brion Toss
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Well, here's a clue back at ya.
Unless it has escaped your attention those from the list who have come to train with those who -actually- can do things all talk about it being laid out in simple terms. With every intention of it beng clear and teachable. There is no mention of Calculators, chaulk boards, and rotational dynamic models. Further, since he already more or less stipulated he can't do most of these things- were we able to get Mr Mead to stand there and be tested- he will simply fail-chaulk board, calculator, and laser pointer firmly in hand.
I think its very transparent-and I'm not alone-that attempts to obfuscate and muddy the waters with overly complex theories, is just another way to avoid facing the "simple" truth.
If we listen to him- Takeda was inept. I'll argue
Takeda didn't "know" physics.
He just "knew" Physics.
And Eric could never throw him.
Dan
No, no, no, I want someone who can throw anyone, while holding that laser pointer. I want a theory that describes what's going on, not just what seems to be going on. It is possible to come up with a model for the motions of the stars, planets, moons, comets, etc., which assumes that the Earth is at the center of the universe. Using this model, you could easily account for the phases of the moon, the precession of equinoxes, the recurrence of comets, etc., far more accurately than someone who had no model, or a worse one. But your model would still be limited in what it could describe. I wouldn't, for instance, count on it to attempt a landing on the moon. And incidentally, I love how Hooker sensei, I believe, consciously or otherwise paraphrased what Galileo is said to have muttered as he left the Inquisition, narrowly escaping a nasty demise for his views on astrophysics, "And yet it [the Earth] moves."
Now I am not meaning to compare you with the Inquisition, or with any other believers in inappropriate mathematical models; it is entirely possible that the way you are explaining things to your students is a realistic model. I am just saying that so far as I've heard it, it isn't. It appears more likely that your, simpler theory, is muddying and obfuscating things. There is nothing about simplicity that precludes inaccuracy.
Oh, and Mr. Mead is not saying that Takeda is inept. Far from it, and I believe you do him a disservice to say so.

Regards,

Brion Toss
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Old 03-01-2007, 02:30 PM   #777
Brion Toss
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Agreeing with Tom here, one of the things I took away from my BS in Physics is that the things we can solve specifically and cleanly even using very modern and complicated solutions is VERY small. Basically as soon as you have a couple points of mass influenced by a couple of non-linear forces, you are getting really close to chaos theory. What you get good at is figuring out how to approximate the system you are dealing with so that you can get pretty close. Hell, we put people on the moon using equations that were known to be incorrect. BUT THEY WORK! I am a very analytical and visual person. I can't walk down the street without seeing angle bisectors coming out from every crack in every sidewalk. As a I take a step, I draw mental lines between my feet and my head produces equilateral triangles to where my front and back 'third points' would be. Constantly, all the time. Talk about your useless superpowers... But that kind of thing only goes so far because bodies are not only hugely complicated structures, they are constantly changing and affected by psychology and physiology. I think it's important to realize that no matter how specific our paradigms get, we are always simplifying what is actually going on.
I am absolutely with you and Tom on the limitations of mathematical processes to describe complex actions completely. Nor am I interested in trying to do so, as the very thought makes my head hurt. What I am hoping for is a clear description of the basics, as an aid to understanding and developing basic exercises, in this context.
To revisit Curtiss, it would have been much simpler for his instructors to explain powered flight in terms of faeries that bore the plane up by pushing up on the wings. In this model the various flaps and rudder would have acted as semaphors to instruct the faeries what action was needed, and the propeller would be there to cool their little faces in the midst of their exertions. Simple, even useful, as Curtiss would still be going through the same motions to achieve a desired effect. But somewhat limited, neh?

Regards,

Brion Toss
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Old 03-01-2007, 02:54 PM   #778
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I don't follow your posts all that closely because I'm not an engineer nor a physics major. But, what I do know is that you're using some very simple mechanics and physics to try to explain some extremely complex actions.
True, but not the way you mean. The assumption of your point is that simple mechnisms cannot explain complex actions. That is a fallacy that thirty-years of work on the physics of chaotic and other non-linear systems has thoroughly debunked.

Some complex behavior has truly complex causes. But the richness or complexity of behavior does not, in itself, mean that the underlying action is not very simple. It is has come as a revelation to modern engineering and physics that exceedingly complex, difficult to predict phenomena can come from very simple, iterated or recursive functions.

That is all I am saying, here -- that kokyu and the associated actions in aikido are the iteration of certain very simple forms of segmented rotary motion or its potential equivalents (moments) from the inner segments of the body to the outer segments of the body and on down into the structure of the opponent by the same mechanism -- and the reverse, as well.

Those simple motions can occur in a virtually infinite number of starting positions, orientaitons of movement, relative distance and timing of movements and rapidly diverging cascades of contingent results that then occur. From slight differences in initial conditions, that underlying simplicity, yields a deep richness in the behavior that we see in the art. Each interaction develops through iterated repetitions with variation in position and energy at each stage in the action. It is evolutionary -- in the strict sense.
Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
In other words, you're showing some flashy stuff that has no solidity or reality behind it.
Newton. Flashy? Hardly. String theory. Branes. Non-locality. Those are flashy. Not this. Stolid, white-shoe stuff, this is.

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
As an example, try this read:
http://www.discover.com/issues/jul-0...s/featphysics/
Note the section about the "Women of the Kikuyu and Luo tribes". All they're doing is walking and it can't be explained how they do it.
Which is, of course, why we should all stop trying, eh? That's a true sense of exploration you have there.

Knowledge of kinematics has moved along a little since 2001. Statically sprung supports are now known to NOT be the mechanism of balance; even simply sprung inverted pendulums are not the mechanism. The stupid leg muscles actually pull the wrong way for that model to be correct. Compliant, anticipatorily actuated double or triple jointed inverted pendulums seem to be the mechanism, in gross terms. I'll describe it more particularly below, but here are some relevant studies.

Intrinsic ankle stiffness is shown to be insufficient for stability in quiet standing, therefore, how could it be sufficent under dynamic load in aikido or kokyu expression?

See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...ids =12482906
http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0411/0411138.pdf
http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/cond-mat/pdf/9908/9908185.pdf
http://jn.physiology.org/cgi/reprint/90/6/3774
(or abstract:http://jn.physiology.org/cgi/reprint/90/6/3774)

And related study abstracts:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...ids =15661825
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...ids =12832494
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...&dopt=Abstract
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...ids =12832494

Why does this matter? Because it is all about energy storage. You can store energy in fascial "springs" which Mike and Dan propose is the mechanism of kokyu. But then you are limited by structural loading capacity (ultimately focusing on the ankle) and that is a real problem for eighty year old men.

(-- Stan: "Or women." -- Reg: "Why do you keep going on about women, Stan?")

Or, you can store energy in motion or momentum, and the body does not have to bear resistance strain loads in the structure. It is storing the energy as accelerations and momentum in the body parts for a brief periods, repeatedly. Energy in motion is cheap in conservation terms as long as you keep it moving.

A double inverted pendulum can store energy momentarily in the angular rotation of the upper segment, and then release it a back to the lower segment to drive a further rotation, which also counters the recovery oscillation of the upper segment which then then drives the lower segment in the reverse cycle, etc. etc. etc.

That's why you can keep a swing going without having to touch the ground. Your shifting of the body in the seat forms the second limb of that pendulum, which you shift around by sequential, anticipated oscillating rotations to maintain (or even add to) the energy of the swing.

Ever notice that the extension/retraction cycle of the funetori exercise mimics the leg pumps you use on a swing?

Funekogi/funetori undo is great example of this. The only function of the ground in that model is to provided a stable pivot point (the inverse of the suspension point for the swing). "Rooting" in the sense of making counter-thrust against the ground (arch action) is completely unnecessary to this form of energy storage. The energy is being stored in the oscillatory waves of motion and angular momentum up and down the segments of the body.

You can see the power and counter- intuitive attack of this use of kinetic energy with a simple self-demonstration using tekubi furi undo. Stand feet shoulder-width apart, put your weight over the balls of your feet, but leave your heels in contact with the ground. Raise your arms over your head, and then throw them at the ground, as in tekubi furi.

Your heels will come off the ground as your shoulders take the applied angular momentum of the simultaneously decelerating arms at the bottom of the throw. The body is lifted by a mass damping reaction to the the shoulder moments. Lest you think that a forward throw of the arms is doing this and just rocking you forward onto your toes -- throw the arms to the sides -- it still works.

Together those applied moments, generated by your acceleration, lift the weight of your body off the ground from the shoulders. You have just "floated" yourself with a throw of your arms -- the same basic way that one does an opponent, using the same kokyu mechanism, playing with his force as a component of the action, in addition to gravity itself.

In walking, that simple, sequential wave of oscillation up the spine and head and then back again is driven by an anticipatory addition of "kicking" energy in each joint (but primarily the hips) in the same direction to keep it going -- exactly like a child shifts the dynamic center of his secondary pendulum in the swing seat into and out of the arc on a swing to conserve or even magnify the energy of the fall that would otherwise be lost.

Kokyu expression typical in aikido is the same process applied to a partner using the additional linkages of the arms and of the partner's body. The ability to concentrate or dissipate that energy in ways I have previously described by playing with radii of inertia or centers of rotation in the limbs to magnify, diminish or even or disrupt the same process in the opponent entirely.

As to the Kikuyu walking with loads on their heads noted in the link ---

Walking is not fundamentally different in principle from a child's swing, it is just applied upside down, supercritical, but damped, with a couple more oscillatory linkages to exploit. The head also plays a part as a third vertical inverted pendulm. That is why we always correct people who drop their heads down in practice. Poor posture is poor kokyu.

Additional head weight, as with the Kikuyu, can make the third order pendulum storage in the head oscillation even more efficient if the rhythm of "kicks" at the various joints is correct, which is learned by the Kikuyu, as with anything, by practice.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-01-2007, 03:18 PM   #779
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Erick, holy cow!

Wouldn't it just be easier to go train with these guys?

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Old 03-01-2007, 03:26 PM   #780
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
You can store energy in fascial "springs" which Mike and Dan propose is the mechanism of kokyu.
I never proposed any such thing.

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-01-2007, 03:44 PM   #781
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Brion Toss wrote: View Post

Oh, and Mr. Mead is not saying that Takeda is inept. Far from it, and I believe you do him a disservice to say so.
Brian
You got the humor in the first half but missed it in the later.
Probably my fault. I disagree with Eric but bear him no ill will.
Ya gotta be able to laugh here or there. I can't stay serious for long. Eric can poke fun at me I don't mind.
Dan
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Old 03-01-2007, 04:24 PM   #782
Brion Toss
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Brian
You got the humor in the first half but missed it in the later.
Probably my fault. I disagree with Eric but bear him no ill will.
Ya gotta be able to laugh here or there. I can't stay serious for long. Eric can poke fun at me I don't mind.
Dan
Ouch, I missed a joke? "Lone Ranger shot with silver bullet." My bad.

Regards,

Brion Toss
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Old 03-01-2007, 09:09 PM   #783
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Erick, holy cow!

Wouldn't it just be easier to go train with these guys?
I am not looking to lock horns or prove anything to them or me. I want their perspectives in a form that I can use to continue this exploraiton of the concepts. Practice I have. Exploration of them in practice, I am doing. But that training does not in itself advance things on this front -- to frame a true mechnical basis for these actions. Their perspective fairly consitently resists framing concepts derived from their own experience in those terms. This work cannot be done IN practice, but only in reflecting on it.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-01-2007, 09:11 PM   #784
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Brian
You got the humor in the first half but missed it in the later.
Probably my fault. I disagree with Eric but bear him no ill will.
Ya gotta be able to laugh here or there. I can't stay serious for long. Eric can poke fun at me I don't mind.
Dan
Ditto, here.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-01-2007, 09:45 PM   #785
TomW
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Brion Toss wrote: View Post
I am absolutely with you and Tom on the limitations of mathematical processes to describe complex actions completely. Nor am I interested in trying to do so, as the very thought makes my head hurt. What I am hoping for is a clear description of the basics, as an aid to understanding and developing basic exercises, in this context.
A specific model hasn't been proposed because I don't think there is one. I understand where you're coming from, I've read quite a bit of these discussions on the various forums looking for the same thing. Ultimately, I went to a workshop.
Not that I know a whole lot more than before (it was one workshop for one day) but I FELT what they're trying to describe. My impression is the model is kinesthetic, not mechanical.

Here's a site that was posted over on AJ some months back that might be of interest to you:
http://www.bullshido.net/modules.php...article&id=259

Tom Wharton

Kodokan Aikido - Puttin' the Harm in Harmony,
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Old 03-01-2007, 09:58 PM   #786
eyrie
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

That's the same article by our very own pretentious young whippersnapper... (hiya Rob!)

http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread...rtial+movement
and
http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread...rtial+movement

Ignatius
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Old 03-01-2007, 10:06 PM   #787
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
You can store energy in fascial "springs" which Mike and Dan propose is the mechanism of kokyu.
I never proposed any such thing.

Mike Sigman
Ahem.
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
You can see O-Sensei gather slightly and then "release" power in the bounce-away demos that he does. It doesn't need much explanation. You envision some rotational thing... it's pretty easy to see from the obvious "spring" or "bounce" that there has to be a "release" phase to the power.
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...&postcount=161
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I'm saying that an object flying straight through the air came from a more linear device (similar to a pogo-stick) and that the actual power of the device is dependent upon how strong its spring constant is. The "spring constant" has a lot to do with why we train using breathing techniques and exercises like fune kogi undo.
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...1&postcount=79
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
The idea of "six directions" training, etc., is related to linear/vector directions, not the gyroscopic stability you're talking about. Think of a bead with small bungee strings pulling the bead up, down, forward, back, left, right.
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...6&postcount=72
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
... I do place an emphasis on the fascia-related structures. If you go back and look at a number of my caveats, you'll see that I don't believe in the "pure fascia" approach; I tend to believe there's fascia structures but that there's a coupling with muscle, muscle-coordinative sets, and the inclusion of micro-muscles, even to the layers of small skin muscles (like in goose bumps, etc.). The muscle-fascia (like in "muscle-tendon channels") relationships appear to have an autonomous component that "brings the qi where you need it" for either active power or for more passive-response of stiffening an area upon receiving a blow.
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...1&postcount=13

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-01-2007, 10:14 PM   #788
Tim Fong
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Erick

I'll say it again:
you don't do engineering analysis (which is what you are proposing) without gathering data. Numbers. Instruments. Not sterile socratic debate. Not putting forward concepts and saying "I think it works like this, let's prove it with words."

I understand you can do thought experiments in physics, because one of my TAs in undergrad was a theoretical physicist. But his theorizing was not done with words but with a specialized symbolic language developed to work with string theory and so on. We (the students in my section) made the mistake one time of asking the TA about his research. We got a blackboard full of stuff that was sure as hell not just plain English like we're using here.

You mentioned before that you took some What were they if I can ask? Were they science and engineerg classes ? Or intro, phsyics-for-pilots classes? I think these are valid questions to ask you since you invoke the rhetoric of science, so often.

Let me be blunt. All your theorizing is garbage unless you can present either software models or data acquired from live subjects.

Honestly Erick the only person who is really losing out here is you buddy. All the time you waste on your "theories" is time you could be spending training the actual skills you ostensibly want to master.

Frankly, if you had the skills you said you did, you should be able to understand the post I wrote a while back about the connection (and difference) between bujutsu karate and aikido.

Or wing chun and aikido for that matter. It's not the strategy or the moves either.

Actually if you had conditioned your body in the way we're discussing, it should be relatively straight forward for you to do any of the wing chun basics. Because it is a lot simpler than aikido in terms of the number of joints involved. Wing chun isn't even the same as aikido. But they use some of the same concepts. Identical concepts as far as the very, very, very basics goes....just in a different way =)

But...you already know this right?
=)

Last edited by Tim Fong : 03-01-2007 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 03-01-2007, 10:16 PM   #789
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Erick Mead wrote:
You can store energy in fascial "springs" which Mike and Dan propose is the mechanism of kokyu.

Again.... I never proposed any such thing. Your examples are about *developments using kokyu*, not the actual basic mechanism of kokyu force. All of my previous posts have made clear that jin is the essence of kokyu, not the store and release of power (a later development). Again, you seem to be missing what is being said.

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-01-2007, 10:31 PM   #790
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Tim Fong wrote: View Post
Erick

You mentioned before that you took some What were they if I can ask? Were they science and engineerg classes ? Or intro, phsyics-for-pilots classes? I think these are valid questions to ask you since you invoke the rhetoric of science, so often.
Edit function timed out. This should read "You mentioned before that you took some physics classes." Sorry. Brain is a little fried from the bar exam.
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Old 03-01-2007, 10:35 PM   #791
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
Okay, so what about Pranin's translation? .... I'm sure Pranin didn't exactly expect his translation to be taken apart literally to explain aikido mechanics. ... Finally, both the original and the translation have a context, as you note. An interview, in which people asked specific questions, and Ueshiba was addressing those questions.
In which O Sensei added in clarification, which I pointed out and you ignored, in Pranins' translation, "...that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. "and in the original ... で相手に逆らわない.
Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
I, personally, don't see how you could use that quote in a discussion of baseline skillsets and mechanics without taking it completely out of context, but I'll leave for others to decide for themselves whether you were justified in doing so.
Becasue the interviewer's question he was responding to was this, as Pranin gives it :

Quote:
Interviewer wrote:
"Then, in that sense, there is Aiki in Judo, too, since in Judo you synchronize yourself with the rhythm of your opponent. If he pulls, you push; if he pushes, you pull. You move him according to this principle and make him lose his balance and then apply your technique."
Seems pretty contextual to me. You, yourself, unprompted by me gave the same basic push-pull reponse options (as the interviewer did) as your examples of teikou/muteikou.

The entire answer is thus, per Pranin :
Quote:
O Sensei wrote:
In Aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in Aikido. The victory in Aikido is masakatsu and agatsu; since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 03-01-2007 at 10:37 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-01-2007, 10:46 PM   #792
TomW
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
That's the same article by our very own pretentious young whippersnapper... (hiya Rob!)

http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread...rtial+movement
and
http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread...rtial+movement
Thanks, I thought that's who wrote it. Guess I missed those in my reading

Tom Wharton

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Old 03-02-2007, 12:24 AM   #793
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Tim Fong wrote: View Post
I'll say it again: ...
you don't do engineering analysis (which is what you are proposing) without gathering data. ... data acquired from live subjects.
Actually, not exactly, but you can figure out that for yourself as such an excellent judge of people. Data .. ... , got that, thanks.
Quote:
Tim Fong wrote: View Post
All the time you waste on your "theories" is time you could be spending training the actual skills you ostensibly want to master. ...
But...you already know this right?
=)
... Since you said it the first time. "If I had stayed for other people to make my tools and things for me, I had never made anything." Source that. I explain these ideas and the basis for them not for your benefit or anyone else's but for my own purposes, which you aid admirably. You are more than welcome to take what you will from it, but you are hardly obliged to, nor do you seem to care to, which is equally fine. I'll just keep training and keep doing what I do here, thanks all the same.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 03-02-2007 at 12:37 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-02-2007, 07:11 AM   #794
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
In which O Sensei added in clarification, which I pointed out and you ignored, in Pranins' translation, "...that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. "and in the original ... で相手に逆らわない.
Well, this is quite ridiculous. Check post #710. I brought up 相手に逆らわない long ago in this discussion, and pointed out that you were ignoring it while focusing on the 徹底した. Furthermore, 相手に逆らわない is not a clarification. で is not a clarifying conjunction, it's a linking conjunction, roughly equivalent to gerund statements in English. A more literal translation would be, "Being a complete principle of non-resistance, (one) does not go against the opponent." Of course, since that is clumsy English, Aikido Journal went with the "that is to say" clause, which you then interpret as clarification. Again proving my point at the impracticality of arguing talking points based on translations. (Incidently, I would translate this using an "as..." clause: "As aikido adheres to a complete principle of non-resistance, we do not oppose the other person." Note that "aikido adheres" and "we" are all subjects not supplied in the original Japanese. Also, "other person" I feel better carries the nuance of "相手 aite", which is used for both opponents and partners.)

Quote:
Seems pretty contextual to me. You, yourself, unprompted by me gave the same basic push-pull reponse options (as the interviewer did) as your examples of teikou/muteikou.
And why did I do that? To do something Ueshiba never had to do: explain 抵抗 to a non-speaker of Japanese. I used many examples to illustrate 抵抗/無抵抗, you picked out one and suggested "as long as it's not a tug of war". I then provided elaboration. My question is, what does Ueshiba's statements regarding aikido's overall philosophy as opposed to that of judo have to do with your armchair model of what of Mike and others have suggested they are doing?

Quote:
The entire answer is thus, per Pranin :
And there you go again. You find the answers you want in Pranin's translation, so you have no desire to learn what Ueshiba actually said, and what he meant. What's really crazy is that here I am, giving you Ueshiba's actual words, breaking them down in a way impossible to do in a typical translation, explaining the Japanese, and you keep coming back at me with Pranin's translation, which you have neither the skill, experience, or resources to judge, and interpreting it extremely rigidly, as if Pranin found the perfect words for every idea, for every clause. And that's not the way translation works. No translator, particularly those translating an interview such as this, would say that even their best work is a perfect representation of the original.

The fog is thick. You have to assume that A) Ueshiba expressed himself perfectly in his own language. Can you say that you have always perfectly expressed yourself in English? When writing, let alone talking on the fly in an interview? And then B) that even if Ueshiba said exactly what he meant to say, that there's no room for misunderstanding or divergent interpretations among native speakers. Good luck with that. And then C), that Pranin and Terasawa made a perfect translation, that was somehow an exemplar of both accuracy and readability (even though translation is almost always a compromise between the two) and that somehow the personal filters of the translators were minimized. Not to mention that D) Pranin's Japanese was suitably bad-ass to achieve all of the above. The translation occurred around 1975-1976. In this article in Aikido Journal, Pranin states that "I recall clearly that, even though my Japanese language skills were rather limited at that stage, I managed to communicate to Saito Sensei my thoughts on this subject and doubts that his aikido was essentially the same as that of the founder as he claimed." "At that stage" was 1977-1978. Are we looking at a translation prepared by the Pranin we know now, with years of living in Japan and using the language under his belt, or are we in fact looking at a translation largely done by Terasawa with the English polished up and edited by a Pranin with merely basic Japanese skills? (I suspect a trifold process: initial translation done by Pranin, edit for accuracy done by Terasawa, and then an edit for readability by Pranin again.)

In any case, the translation is a nice one, for its purpose. It actually sucks that I'm being forced to point out its inevitable flaws, since it seems to cheapen it and put Stan Pranin in a bad light. Let no one think that he and his team are a bunch of incompetents. The flaws here come with the territory of translation; they are no real reflection on Aikido Journal, and the translation is a fine one, provided one doesn't try to put undue authority in it, as Erick is doing.

So, that's it, Erick. If you want to debate Ueshiba's words, please use Ueshiba's words, and stop bringing up the translation as if it were impeccable.

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 03-02-2007, 08:08 AM   #795
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Baseline skillset

You know what would be really nice, and I am not being snide here at all, would be for the principles here to provide little video clips demonstrating what they are talking about. Is that possible? I know the technogily is out there because I see clips posted all the time to try and emphases a point. I think they exist on other websites and I don't know how to do it, or even if Jun would allow it here. I have a little digital camera that takes video clips and I bet most folks here do too. You know the old saying a picture is worth a thousand words. I think that posted here a little video would be worth much more than that. Some folks have the gift of gab and some don't. We got engineers, scientists, lawyers and others here to whom words come easy and whose descriptions are vivid. Not all here have those skills. I suppose we have people here who are much better at words than deeds. Perhaps video clips done honestly could shed light on some of the murkier concepts.

Anyway its just a thought.

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Old 03-02-2007, 08:52 AM   #796
ChrisMoses
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post

So, that's it, Erick. If you want to debate Ueshiba's words, please use Ueshiba's words, and stop bringing up the translation as if it were impeccable.
This is exactly why in my own attempt to wrap my head around what Ueshiba's Aikido was, I focus more on photos, videos and descriptions by those he trained with. I realize I will never be sure what he was actually getting at, but theses are the tools that I have to work with. I appreciate those who speak Japanese better than I flushing out the subtlety of what was said, but even then I feel we face (at least) two very significant obstacles. 1) He was by all accounts, even to those who studied with him for decades, obtuse and confusing in his verbal explanations. 2) It is impossible to translate from one language to another and not change the meaning of what was said, particularly when many translators bring their own bias into the translation (intentional or not).

And don't even get me started on the doka...

Chris Moses
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Old 03-02-2007, 09:05 AM   #797
DH
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Re: Baseline skillset

Dennis
Total waste of time
Those on this side of the fence have pointed to videos of men doing this or that to those on the others side-only to have it written off as being their argument.
I prefer what we on this side have been doing. Standing in a room with naysayers from the list and doing it on them. Then asking them to do it to us. Even letting them try to do their Aikido or Judo waza on us. Many of whom have reported back here.
I'll speak only for me. Do I really want to hear Eric, tell me how I'm doing things he is unable to do himself?
No thanks.

The only real equalizer to these skills I know is MMA skills. Other than that it takes someone with equal or better internal skills. But that just proves our argument anyway- that this is a better way to train. It doesn't matter -who- is better. But that the study of these skills makes you a better you no matter what you do. Aikido, Judo or MMA.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 03-02-2007 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 03-02-2007, 03:16 PM   #798
Pete Rihaczek
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Re: Baseline skillset

At this point there is little to add beyond what's been stated, but I thought I would add another data point. I have a background in a number of different arts including Aikido, and was training BJJ with Rickson Gracie when I started talking to Mike online about his posts on internal skills. As with anyone else, written descriptions of a different way of moving the body didn't allow me to grasp what he was talking about. Since I'm not a teacher and didn't care about the "internal" label one way or another, I didn't filter everything he said with an "I already do that" or "I teach so I should know that" or "I teach but I don't know that so it must not be in the art" bias. Like most martial artists whose primary interest is in what really works, I dismissed Taiji as hippie BS, and had quit Aikido because I was losing any prior practical skills to learn things that simply would not be usable in fighting. In other words I dismissed Aikido as hippie BS too, but based on actual experience.

I filed Mike's comments away under "potentially interesting", and when he finally got around to doing a workshop within a reasonable distance of me I went to meet him and see what he was talking about. I still remember the palm strike he did on me like it was yesterday. Totally different feeling than anything I'd felt before, and I'd trained in or at least felt everything from Aikido to Wing Chun to silat, Muay Thai, Okinawan karate, Kali, Escrima, JKD, and easily spent over a hundred hours rolling with Rickson alone, as well as rolling with other Gracies, Rigan Machado, and lots of other good grapplers. What Mike demonstrated was completely and obviously different, and the difference has nothing whatsoever to do with flow, sensitivity, or other attributes any good external style has. It *is* a different way of using the body, and it really has a "steel wrapped in cotton", "using the weight of the earth" feeling. The hits feel like you got hit by a car, and in general the practitioner feels massively heavier than he is. You feel much more strength and solidity than you would expect, and of course you add to that a practitioner's ability to feel how connected you are in your body and with the ground, and take advantage of that tactically.

Like everyone else who has actually felt this stuff, it was immediately obvious to me that these are the closely guarded "real goods" (how's that instead of "baseline skills" ) of the old masters. Everybody seems to want to say that they have Ki, but the idea that it's predominately a physical skillset as opposed to airy nonsense or deep breathing while you contemplate your navel is one of the most interesting things in the martial arts, if not the most interesting, whether your interest is merely historical or functional. Just like there is a serious, martial Taiji that is sadly mimicked worldwide with what is best described as New Age hippie Tai Chee, Aikido as practiced by the majority of people also has none of the "real goods" in it. This is fascinating news to anyone who isn't already a teacher with an ego vested in being an Aikido bigshot, particularly since more and more information is available openly now than in the past.

Since this is an Aikido list, I'll do a short digression on some specific points I've seen mentioned about Aikido. As I said, IMO most Aikido is martially worthless without the real goods. You can get around that to degree by having a more realistic training methodology, but if you want to walk the path of what Ueshiba could do, you're doing something other than his Aikido if you aren't pursuing the real goods. I don't believe it has anything to do with flow, rotational or otherwise, or non-resistance in the hands-on technical sense of what feeling you present to an opponent. Philosophically, I think Aikido has something over MMA. Training MMA does lead to a mindset to try to defeat the other person, with speed, power, technique, etc. I think of Ueshiba's philosophy in the context of his revelation following his bout with the swordsman, as meaning in a practical sense: "he who attacks should lose". Put a more pedestrian way, it's essentially the role of the counter-puncher. In theory, any attack leaves an opening to be exploited. If you never attack, your opponent is the one incurring the practical risk of being immediately countered by "breaking harmony with the universe". It seems to work well for Chuck Liddell, although he would get penalized for not occasionally pushing the action himself. In MMA you have to attack, in regular life it's your choice (leaving aside the very strong legal disincentives to attacking or using too much force). Ueshiba also said that Aikido is 99% atemi, which is easy to reconcile with this interpretation, and impossible to reconcile with the hippie interpretation of just flowing in the most non-opposing way. This is in fact precisely why I stopped training in Aikido - every single attack done in class, whether a wrist grab or an overly-telegraphed punch, could in reality be countered by a properly timed punch in the face. What's the point of worrying about wristlocks and armlocks, throws and pins? If you can read and hit someone the moment they attack you, you're done. And this skill is better trained in actual sparring arts. That's where you learn the reading and timing to actually do that against a living, breathing, intelligent opponent bent on your defeat. In that sense I view Aikido as a grad-school martial art. Ueshiba had practical fighting skills before coming to his spiritual/philosophical revelation about not being the guy to hit first, and if you train nothing but Aikido, you're not following the same path of development he did, and you're unlikely to be able to emulate him in any real measure. Fighting skills first, then Aikido. And without the "real goods", "baseline skills" foundation he had to draw on, you won't get that part of it either. That's the really interesting part, and the one that nicely works with all the Ki of the universe talk. Instead of just talking philosophy and spiritual mumbo jumbo, you can actually dust somebody with one hand, thereby "proving" the philosophy.

Getting back to that, I could use a pretty simple analogy for the basics of how I think this stuff works, how the body moves, and why, but I'm not going to for a number of reasons. First off it's already been done in a variety of ways, and as much as I like my pet analogies it probably still won't convince someone like Mr. Mead that it really is different. While it would be a benefit for someone with an ability to analyze mechanics to put a high-level practitioner in a sports lab and tell us what's going on, the details are only of academic interest. The real value in doing so would be to help design exercises that train the skills more directly than the traditional methods. Because of the likely origin of this sort of bodywork and its inevitable entrenchment with Asian cosmology and qi theory, there is a lot of both deliberate and inadvertant obfuscation of what's really going on physically. Pointing to your elbow and saying "bring qi here" is actually meaningful if you already know what's going on, and meaningless otherwise. The value of Western analysis would be to cut to the chase, and Mike has done a great deal in this regard already. Another reason is that just by writing so much from total vacuum, someone like Mr. Mead has unequivocally demonstrated that he will never bother to go meet anyone to actually experience what is being discussed. He's put it too much effort to risk what would inevitably happen, namely having to admit that Mike is right. Only people who are curious and are doers will bother to go take a look in person. To a person, everyone who has gone to investigate has come back saying, yup, these guys aren't BSing. By now enough people have piled on with actual experience that all the inexperienced "yeah, but..." bloviating will cease in any sensible person, and talking to the insensible ones isn't...sensible.

Lastly, I don't like taking good information along with the mental effort I may have put into it, and then putting that on an open forum. There are too many jerks and users in the world, and it just rubs me the wrong way to give anything special to people I might not even like if I met them. That's human nature, and probably part of the reason why this stuff isn't well-known, even among many high-ranking people in arts featuring past or present masters with these skills. On the other hand, I see now the wisdom of what Mike has done. Or at least the payoff. For years I marvelled at his patience in participating in forums like this one, dealing with the egos who can't ever really empty their cups and all the rest of it, and it seemed like a waste to endlessly cast pearls before swine, as it were. But now I see that a certain critical mass has been reached. Thanks to people like Akuzawa and Rob John, along with Mike and others...I don't know Dan Harden from anyone, but once you know, the veil is lifted and it's obvious who else knows...there is too much to be able to deny it anymore, and the people who still do without even bothering to check look ridiculous. So many people have gone to meet Mike, or Rob, or Akuzawa, or Dan, or whoever, coming back with universal agreement that these are real, unique skills, that thanks to the communication power of the internet and the archival of search engines, the record is there and the evidence far beyond chance. Moreover, Mike, Rob, and the rest can also now benefit from comparing notes, which brings the level of understanding up for all interested parties. For people who can put their ego aside, these are good times. Mike also has the benefit of years of archived posts he can forever point to to say "I told you so", which is nice. It's also a benefit to people like Akuzawa who actually want to show what they have, and have it appreciated for what it is. Regardless of where I see myself going with this stuff, I would make it a point to attend a seminar by Akuzawa, Chen Xiao Wang, etc, if they come to my area if for nothing other than a show of support for people willing to teach the real stuff. Between that and the pressure from the MMA side, there seems less and less room for people who can talk endlessly but can't really show anything interesting.
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Old 03-02-2007, 04:45 PM   #799
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

What do you think about:
"the effects of Ki on the formation of water crystals."
http://www.ryokukai.com/ki_water.htm
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Old 03-02-2007, 05:28 PM   #800
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Baseline skillset

Put that way in Asian style language, it is BS. Same with the photos on that page. If there is anything there other than a marketing attempt to attract sponsors, I cannot see it.
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