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Old 03-08-2007, 09:48 AM   #926
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
But -you- tell -us- what we and or Ueshiba are doing at length?
I am not telling you anything about what you do. I know what I do not know. Rather precisely.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
That is an example of -your- confusion and lack of knowledge.
Not ours.
Don't drag me into your confusion.
You have your opinion, and you presume to make judgment through my writing. My writing is directed to a purpose with which you admittedly do not concern yourself. You say, essentially, that only "feel" determines anything. Your judgement has little weight by your own standards, especially when as you and Mike have both suggested that a common vocabularly is hard for you to find -- in the way that you understand these concepts. I am respectfully suggesting that there are other ways, and other vocabulary that do not suffer from that problem, and certainly not to that degree.

Doubting your perspective of truth does not make me confused about my own -- or truth itself, of which we each have only a limited perspective. It also does not require me to deny your claims, which I never did. I only question the objective function of what is actually occurring, or more correctly, why it is happening.

In looking at basic skills, the whole of the secret is in the shape of the omote/kihon forms of movement, because that framss the ability to connect. The power lies in eventually making it small. Starting from large movement to small to infinitesimal movement is more basic to my mind, and apparently others here also, than the other way. Sensitivity and control have to be developed. Start small and very small errors in shape may be missed, and when enlarged they become unworkable, or require force or resistance to apply, which is a different principle. Once shape is fundamentally correct it can be reduced or enlarged to arbitrary scales as sensitivity and control improve. You seem uninterested in shape or form of interaction as a conceptual matter. Better defining essential shape and form of fundamental movement at arbitrary scales is my focus.

You are not interested or concerned with that aspect. I am not interested in making value judgements about which of these approaches is the right hand and which is the left hand. Both have their place, and I know which place each belong to. Doing it -- that I leave to training, and no amount of my writing will demonstrate what I do or do not do in the dojo, as if I cared to try. You fundamentally mistake what I am working on in this place and with these ideas.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Years are going by and we are making a group of men who now know, Eric. And among the things they know- is that you... do not.
You can't do these things, and you don't know these things. Your writing shows it.
Neither I nor anyone should judge anyone's physical ability from writing. Last I saw there are no written examinations in this art. But writing has its purposes, nonetheless. Abe Sensei and hosts of others before him emphasized the fundamental connection between writing out ideas in a proper form and expression, and the martial pursuits.

Bunbu ichi. The western mode and form of writing our ideas is different -- the principles of connection between them and martial arts is not. In writing, I only question or criticize conceptual application or accuracy of observation. That is all one can really do here, but I try to make the best of these limitations because that effort it has its place.

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Your looooong, overanylized, convoluted, and meandering explanations have not been able to disguise that one simple fact.
I think out loud. Mainly becasue I have practice and comfort in doing it, and it is good practice to do it. I am not concerned with criticism that engages my points, because if I did not want it -- I would not write it.

So, I write a lot and therefore know nothing, and while you know a great deal and therefore write poorly? Unfair on both counts, and a non sequitur.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
You can even try to do Aikido...to me....
You come to these arts in a spirit of play. Which is fine. But you touch on a very important and fundamental disconnect underlying much of the (admittedly friendly) challenges you lay down, and the two basic perspectives on these points. It is worth some "loooogng, over analyzing ..." and any criticism it may garner.

At this point I have come to an understanding: I do not DO aikido to anybody. I certainly do not TRY to do this or that to anybody. Aikido is just what happens in the proper spirit of meeting -- whether the occasion is a handshake, a wrist grab -- or punch to the face.

Uke and nage meet for practice in that spirit, and neither one DOES aikido to the other. They do Aikido together -- or not at all. This is, to my mind the most fundamental lesson of aikido. It seems to me that the failure in this lesson is the reason for both the muscling and cranking as well as the whirly-twirly things you legitimately criticize. In the first case there is no meeting, there is a collision -- in the second case, there is no meeting because there is no connection at all.

Someone hauls off to deck me -- then I know I have a proper spirit of meeting to work WITH outside the dojo, not a target to DO something to. It is my sincere hope that he will know it too, or come realize it -- sooner rather than later. Meanwhile we will both do aikido, likely me more aware of what WE are doing than he who is merely TRYING to do something TO me. Not because I am inherently more skilled, stronger or more powerful -- far from it, those things are simply irrelevant.

Some of you talk about internal ukemi on contact. Ukemi can occur before there is ever any physical contact at all. Once you have determined to take ukemi of an attack that has formed you have immediately gained connection and can do aikido with him.

If you are already connected before you make contact how can one NOT be moving as the attack is coming? This is the essential point I have dwelt upon in analyzing the movements noted in all the videos offered so far, and a perspective that you seem to find wanting. You say you strive to remain "uninvolved,"and "not moving" is your frequent testing measure. This is perilously close to "not connected," if not identical to it.

Not moving is an indication of "not connected," because one cannot be connected and be not affected by the thing you are connecting with, and if it is moving, you must also, somehow, move as well.
But without connection, musubi, there is no aikido.

With that musubi we do aikido together, according to the fundamental form, large, small or infinitesimal, whatever he chooses to do. If irimi is proper, and his attention is on the aiki of the moment -- he should also immediately be in ukemi, then he will not be injured. If he does not, well -- his mistake. He stopped doing aikido with me. I have not stopped doing aikido with him, because he is still intent on meeting with me.

His attention is on something else - ME (his perceptions are leading him astray). He is more likely to make a mistake in the complete aiki of that moment of what WE are actually doing, than I am, because I am paying attention to joining that moment and dynamic, and not trying to do somehting TO him.

That dynamic is what makes aikido a strategic, not tactical, art. His is a strategic mistake because his attention is misdirected. However strong or skilled he may be, it is ineffectual because it is misapplied.

Aikido is surfing -- "doing to" is swimming. Some swimming is involved in getting to the point of surfing, but surfing is not swimming. You cannot surf without a wave. No amount of swimming will teach the dynamic of surf. Not moving to meet the wave when it is forming will prevent you from surfing. However strong a swimmer either of us may be, that dynamic we have both entered is more powerful than either of us. Joining with it in a critical shape and attitude is more vastly more effective than resisting or trying to counter it. If I prevail it is not because I am an inherently superior person, but because I made the better choice.

I have found that mistakes are generally more dangerous in aikido than proper technique For that reason I do not come to aikido in a spirit of play. Play is basically a matter of indifference, because the consequences do not matter. Nothing about aikido does not matter. Mistakes in aikido matter tremendously.

Paraphrasing Hannah Arendt, the opposite of indifference is either love or hate. I choose not to hate. I definitely choose not to be indifferent. That leaves only one choice, as O Sensei realized, and that choice is "joining with" in a proper spirit, not defeating or "doing to."

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-08-2007, 10:04 AM   #927
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
*sigh*.... it's just more "noise" which is completely unrelated to the thread topic... on both counts.
Bad analogy. Random noise is actually helpful to amplify a faint signal. Or, do you think that the only important signals are those that tend to squelch out those nearby ?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 03-08-2007, 10:09 AM   #928
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Also teachers in love with the sound of their own voice who bore you to tears and leave a fraction of the class to learn. ...
Dan
Actually, Dan, I share with you so I don't have to talk much at all in class.

Thanks again.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-08-2007, 10:11 AM   #929
Fred Little
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Pachelbel Canon in D. Stradivarius is Ueshiba?
In general, yes, though if I were to pin the metaphor down a little bit with a nod to one of the arguments Dan has long made it might be more precise to see Takeda Sokaku as Stradivarius and Ueshiba, Sagawa, and Kodo as senior apprentices in his workshop who attempted to transmit what they learned with varying degrees of success. Of course metaphor and analogy almost always break down if pushed too far.

Developing the baseline skill set is making the body an appropriate instrument.

Playing a tune or using the baseline skills are related but somewhat distinct skill sets.

Where I see a consensus in this discussion -- and in offline discussions I've had with individuals who have trained with both you and Dan -- is that the only way the information can be effectively transmitted without a lot of error creeping in is in small groups where there's hands on contact and immediate feedback.

That would be the master class model in music. In Japanese martial arts, it would be the typical koryu practice model: one teacher with a comparatively small number of students. And lots of solo practice.

Best,

FL

Last edited by Fred Little : 03-08-2007 at 10:12 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 03-08-2007, 10:15 AM   #930
Alfonso
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Re: Baseline skillset

Dear Erick San.

I have considered your discussions carefully , and I see that there is much good thought in them. It is presumption from my part to try to tell you the reason you're running into so much miscommunication, why there's such a great disconnect in your conversation. Your explanations are being met with frustration because they are not addressing a set of definitions which make a lot of sense with a lot of the elements you bring on into your discussion which you use to a different effect, or to support a different meaning than it does to the others.

For example you mention Abe sensei and writing as an example of reflecting over practice. And yet, Abe sensei's comments about calligraphy make a lot of sense when you 're aware that the act of writing in that manner shares the same engine , movement mode as in many internal-powered martial arts. Including sword. This is not even a speculation of my part.

Or the meaning of certain Doka; which make a lot of sense when certain metaphors are read in the context of training for internal skills. And which may or may not relate to strategy and philosophy as well (intended puns?)

In any case I thought this was relevant
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=695

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 03-08-2007, 10:34 AM   #931
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Fred Little wrote: View Post
Where I see a consensus in this discussion -- and in offline discussions I've had with individuals who have trained with both you and Dan -- is that the only way the information can be effectively transmitted without a lot of error creeping in is in small groups where there's hands on contact and immediate feedback.

That would be the master class model in music. In Japanese martial arts, it would be the typical koryu practice model: one teacher with a comparatively small number of students. And lots of solo practice.
I dunno, Fred. To me this whole thing is a gamble with no one really able to predict what is happening or going to happen.

First of all, the skill-levels of ki/kokyu between Dan, Ushiro, Abe Sensei, me, Ki-Society, and others are disparate. It is possible to do these skills coarsely, incompletely, too-muscularly, and so on, so that's going to factor into who is studying what with whom (love that phrase!). Not everybody is going to be doint it right and/or not everyone is going to be doing it in a way that feeds back correctly into Aikido the way Ueshiba would have approved.

The trick is to not worry about the subtleties and nuances, but to get people started with a whatever it takes and hope that things straighten out. I'm worried more about the ABC's. You seem to be worried about whether people will understand the difference between a sonnet and a ballad.

My suggestion is that we all focus on the ABC's (and their permutations) and then we'll focus later on sonnets, ballads, and Pachelbel . In other words, we need to make rough, useful instruments... and a number of them... with the hope that better instruments will develop and the tunes will ensue.

And frankly, I think you'll find that only a small percentage of Aikido teachers/schools/organizations are going to be flexible enough to go this route. Ultimately, everyone will be forced to go this route or peel off and claim that they have some different, self-styled goals (Ki Society has pretty much already done this).

But it's all interesting as hell to watch. And I wish I'd had access to some of these discussions when I started out in Aikido.

Best.

Mike
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Old 03-08-2007, 12:32 PM   #932
Michael McCaslin
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
At this point I have come to an understanding: I do not DO aikido to anybody. I certainly do not TRY to do this or that to anybody. Aikido is just what happens in the proper spirit of meeting -- whether the occasion is a handshake, a wrist grab -- or punch to the face.

Uke and nage meet for practice in that spirit, and neither one DOES aikido to the other. They do Aikido together -- or not at all. This is, to my mind the most fundamental lesson of aikido. It seems to me that the failure in this lesson is the reason for both the muscling and cranking as well as the whirly-twirly things you legitimately criticize. In the first case there is no meeting, there is a collision -- in the second case, there is no meeting because there is no connection at all.

Someone hauls off to deck me -- then I know I have a proper spirit of meeting to work WITH outside the dojo, not a target to DO something to. It is my sincere hope that he will know it too, or come realize it -- sooner rather than later. Meanwhile we will both do aikido, likely me more aware of what WE are doing than he who is merely TRYING to do something TO me. Not because I am inherently more skilled, stronger or more powerful -- far from it, those things are simply irrelevant.

Some of you talk about internal ukemi on contact. Ukemi can occur before there is ever any physical contact at all. Once you have determined to take ukemi of an attack that has formed you have immediately gained connection and can do aikido with him.

If you are already connected before you make contact how can one NOT be moving as the attack is coming? This is the essential point I have dwelt upon in analyzing the movements noted in all the videos offered so far, and a perspective that you seem to find wanting. You say you strive to remain "uninvolved,"and "not moving" is your frequent testing measure. This is perilously close to "not connected," if not identical to it.

Not moving is an indication of "not connected," because one cannot be connected and be not affected by the thing you are connecting with, and if it is moving, you must also, somehow, move as well.
But without connection, musubi, there is no aikido.

With that musubi we do aikido together, according to the fundamental form, large, small or infinitesimal, whatever he chooses to do. If irimi is proper, and his attention is on the aiki of the moment -- he should also immediately be in ukemi, then he will not be injured. If he does not, well -- his mistake. He stopped doing aikido with me. I have not stopped doing aikido with him, because he is still intent on meeting with me.

His attention is on something else - ME (his perceptions are leading him astray). He is more likely to make a mistake in the complete aiki of that moment of what WE are actually doing, than I am, because I am paying attention to joining that moment and dynamic, and not trying to do somehting TO him.
The statements above outline one of the fundamental problems with the way aikido is often practiced today. If you have advance knowledge of the attack, and you "get out of the way" and then go along for the ride while uke breaks his own balance and launches into a beautiful roll, you're not connecting with anything. You're dancing. While adding your own power or pretending to irimi while uke collapses out of the way is slightly better, it's still not aikido. This kind of practice will never lead to the development of real skill, because in the real world you will not have a priori knowledge of your attacker's intentions.

Aikido *is* something you do to someone. Connecting and taking someone's center is something you actually do to a person. Uke doesn't necessarily need to do anything-- you can take his center, upset his structure, and down him. Even if he is just standing there.

I've been debating whether to share some thoughts about the fact that, "Aikido is absolute non-resistance." This is true, but it is often misunderstood. Much like the Chinese equivalent "I know the opponent, but the opponent does not know me."

My sensei can often throw me in such a way that I don't feel anything. One instant I'm standing there, fully intending to prevent him from accomplishing his objective. The next, I am horizontal.

I think this works because he applies his power in a direction which I can not offer resistance. If you aren't in a position to resist it, you can't feel it. Conversely, if you are "full of ki" and can offer resistance equally in every direction, you can always feel what your opponent is doing. And this feeling will move you-- no advance knowledge of the attack required. This may appear to "just happen" but it doesn't depend on knowing in advance what the opponent is going to do. It doesn't lead to the injuries you get when uke zigs when he should have zagged-- your movement is truly a response to his rather than the result of a pre-arrangement, and vice versa.

Yes, the baseline skills are developed with a form of resistance training. This is done to build power. But this power is not applied in a resistive, head-on collision in actual practice. If it were, it could be resisted, and the whole thing becomes a wrestling match. This power is ideally only used in a way the opponent cannot resist, and it's not always used to "speak" but also to "listen."

If you look at the baseline skills as developing a strong telescoping strut (indeed I think Mike has used this exact analogy), then the strut always expands in a direction your opponent cannot resist and therefore doesn't feel. If you issue force in a direction he can feel, he can send force back along the strut to affect you. This would be "the opponent knowing you," or resistance. Ueshiba was not the only person to understand this is not a good idea.

Does this help tie it all together?
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Old 03-08-2007, 12:53 PM   #933
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Fred Little wrote: View Post
Developing the baseline skill set is making the body an appropriate instrument.

Playing a tune or using the baseline skills are related but somewhat distinct skill sets.
Fred, let me mention another thought that is often in my mind.

While we have filmclips of O-Sensei, Shioda, and others performing in public, we don't have films of everything they could do. Some of Ueshiba's off-film deeds we find in the occasional anecdote, some of them sounding almost godlike, but not necessarily all of his power(s) are known or recorded..... traditionally, he would have reserved some things. My point goes something like this: We know Ueshiba obviously used ki/kokyu skills that most westerners are not using in their Aikido (because it's on film, in writing, anecdotes, etc.), but we don't know the full usage of his "musical instrument".... i.e., we don't know for sure what techniques we could arguably say, "this is a valid use of the ki/kokyu skills because Ueshiba used it".

One of the things I've done is go over the available filmclips of Ueshiba to see what powers he evinced so that I could generally define which of the ki/kokyu powers are in the Aikido of Ueshiba. As an example, the shaking-power fa-jin releases found in some Chinese martial arts are not seen in Aikido (even though they use the same basic ki/kokyu skills), so I wouldn't consider Aikido techniques to properly contain those types of power releases. Would you agree with me in that position, or would you debate it?

What I'm getting at is that I personally don't think that powers outside of what Ueshiba could do (and that is a question mark) legitimately belong in Aikido. Yet, if you have the instrument, there is this possibility that you might play a new tune rather than just the old traditional ones. See what I'm worried about?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-08-2007, 02:01 PM   #934
Fred Little
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
i.e., we don't know for sure what techniques we could arguably say, "this is a valid use of the ki/kokyu skills because Ueshiba used it".

One of the things I've done is go over the available filmclips of Ueshiba to see what powers he evinced so that I could generally define which of the ki/kokyu powers are in the Aikido of Ueshiba. As an example, the shaking-power fa-jin releases found in some Chinese martial arts are not seen in Aikido (even though they use the same basic ki/kokyu skills), so I wouldn't consider Aikido techniques to properly contain those types of power releases. Would you agree with me in that position, or would you debate it?

What I'm getting at is that I personally don't think that powers outside of what Ueshiba could do (and that is a question mark) legitimately belong in Aikido. Yet, if you have the instrument, there is this possibility that you might play a new tune rather than just the old traditional ones. See what I'm worried about?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
Mike --

I see what you're driving at. I don't think it's a huge issue, except for preservationists and scholars who need neat dividing lines.

Some folks think that Ueshiba created a complete and self-contained system called Aikido. In that view, things that he didn't do don't belong in it.

Me? I'm less concerned about the possibility that someone will play a new tune than about the possibility that no one will play a new tune.

Best,

FL
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Old 03-08-2007, 02:52 PM   #935
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
I see what you're driving at. I don't think it's a huge issue, except for preservationists and scholars who need neat dividing lines.

Some folks think that Ueshiba created a complete and self-contained system called Aikido. In that view, things that he didn't do don't belong in it.

Me? I'm less concerned about the possibility that someone will play a new tune than about the possibility that no one will play a new tune.
Dang, Fred. You're a gol-durned post-modernist!!! Everything is relative.

Imagine your recording of Pachelbel's Canon in D morphing into Nellie Furtado singing "Maneater".

Well, what I'm saying, to be simplistic, is that in my opinion everything can be done in Aikido pretty much as it is, allowing for these power refinements. I don't agree that it's OK if Aikido turned into, say, Kempo Karate. I do have my standards, y'know.

Mike

Last edited by Mike Sigman : 03-08-2007 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 03-08-2007, 03:11 PM   #936
Fred Little
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Dang, Fred. You're a gol-durned post-modernist!!! Everything is relative.

Well, what I'm saying, to be simplistic, is that in my opinion everything can be done in Aikido pretty much as it is, allowing for these power refinements. I don't agree that it's OK if Aikido turned into, say, Kempo Karate. I do have my standards, y'know.

Mike
See, that's what I mean. They used to call me a degenerate pre-Socratic, now I'm a gol-durned post-modernist.

Every "baseline skills improvement" I've encountered so far has been a "power refinement" and not an alternative principle, so I would agree. If my experience changes, I'll send up a weather balloon.

In either case, I do draw a line well short of Ed Parker style American Kempo Karate satin gis with stripes down the leg and enough patches for a NASCAR driver.

FL
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Old 03-08-2007, 04:40 PM   #937
Joe Jutsu
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Re: Baseline skillset

OK, I'll quit lurking here for a moment....

First, this thread seemingly had sooo much potential, but trying to catch up on a thousand and some odd posts takes a bit more time than I have at my disposal, especially when so much of it is little more than bickering.....

I don't know, have we all finally agreed on the fact that there is a set of baseline skills from which to build aiki waza on top of?? I lost track at about the twentieth page, I mean come on guys, I'm training for a ranking test here, I don't have time for all of that! But I was hoping to come across some basic exercises to mess around with, although believe me I know how absolutely imperative it is to find a teacher who knows and can demonstrate this sort of thing in person. Instead, I see alot of semantics being ridiculously argued over, such as the word "resistance" and how it does or does not apply to aikido. FWIW, I don't think you would have ever caught Tohei sensei using this term as it relates to ki tests (although I know it is still an essential part of ki society training to do techniques in a "kaisho" fashion, from a static position with uke's complete resistance-not very aiki-fruity, I know, and my apologies ). I think that in regards to a front push to test the student's stability, Tohei sensei most likely would have used vocabulary along the lines of "accept the push." In my limited experience, proper ki extension involves not only correct physical but correct mental posture as well, you know, that whole mind and body are one thing. Thinking of actively resisting the push creates a fighting mind which is directly in contrast to the fudoshin we should all be striving to attain as budo practitioners. Shaner sensei spoke at length about the profound gratitude that we should have both for our teachers and for our fellow students. If someone grabs you like hell, great! What an opportunity to learn. If someone can help illustrate that you have attained some mind and body coordination but have a long way to go, what a great gift, perhaps a frustrating one but hey, I don't know about you all but budo has been the most fun way that to feel uncoordinated and frustrated that I've ever come across!

That said, I do sometimes worry about dogma in aikido. Some of it is necessary, of course, such as the respect for your dojo and your classmates. But dogma has also gotten in the way. I'm so far removed from the situation, but it seems to me that dogma was a major reason that Tohei sensei left the Aikikai. It seems that it is because of dogma that we see many sensei's teach just like their teacher taught, if their sensei never talked about ki then it must be something that can't be taught, right? It seems like my generation of aikido practitioners has the opportunity to break through alot of these barriers, and I think the internet actually may be a major factor in getting the "blinders off," for good and sometimes for ill. I think that it's great that, for instance the Boulder Aikikai Summer Camp is hosting Ushiro sensei for the second consecutive year. I certainly hope that I can attend (and I had a wonderful time at the noon class at the Boulder Aikikai a few weeks back, and thanks again if any of you are reading this). That speaks volumes for the maturity of those involved with the admistration of the seminar, IMHO. But I can't help but hear that little voice in the back of my head, saying, "isn't it at least a little unfortunate that they have to go outside of aikido to get a "ki master" to help guide their practice? Would they ever invite Shinichi Tohei sensei to help? I think not, but of course on the flipside of that coin, would a Ki Society dojo ever host an Ikeda sensei, for instance? I think not.

I think this dogma goes further into the vocabulary that is used when principles of aikido are taught. I wonder too if there are more effective ways to teach ki/kokyu than the dogmatic way that is approached within Ki Society. I'm such an aikido baby that I honestly don't have a clue. I feel as if I'm finally beginning to scratch the surface on some of these "baseline skills," but constantly wonder if there might be other ways that I can give myself a boost. I guess Ki breathing for hours a day would help, but, as an instance of dogma, it's never really been explained how this develops kokyu/ki etc, just that it develops a calm mind and, in the words of Tohei sensei, "do this at night when all is quiet and calm and you will be fulfilled with the supreme ecstacy with the knowledge that you are the universe, and the universe is you." Sorry, that was off of the top of my head, not sensei's exact words. But I'm young, antsy and busier than most people I know. I wish I could take the time to ki breath for hours a day, but outside of being an uchi deshi I don't see myself with that much time (ok, I play in too many bands, I admit! )

What keeps me going are the examples that I see. I've traveled around a bit, and have seen a cross section of Ki Society aikidoka. I've seen some marvelous aikido, and some, in my not so humble opinion, crap. I guess aiki-fruity would be the term. But take ukemi for Kashiwaya sensei, and man, that will do wonders for one's motivation! Definitely not an aiki-fruitcake (I fear for my life even mentioning that term in the same context as sensei! ) I have the extreme privilige in studying under Tsubaki sensei here in good ole' Lawrence, KS. Apart from the benefits of having one of the few aikido dojo's in the US with a Japanese native Head Instructor, I have to say that sensei obviously "get's it," (whatever that means, which is I guess what has been up for debate throughout this thread). I was an assistant in an "Aikido in Japanese" class that he taught at KU over the past two months or so, and during the last class sensei was demonstrating the correct ukemi from katadori ikkyo irimi. He had me be nage, and I could tell, if it came down to it there is NO way that I could really throw sensei at this point in my fledgling career. And I get to toss around much bigger guys than me all the time, assisting in Ki Aikido classes at KU for as long as I have. Yes, there's something there that Tsubaki sensei has that just isn't muscle or rotational vectors or purely correct posture. And I'm SO thankful that it's not rotational vectors that I have to understand to get my aikido to where I'd like it to be, because I slept through college physics! There for a minute, I thought that I was going to have to hang up my hakama and pick up a physics book! To say that it is just force vectors and spirals and such, to me, is to say "Ueshiba was wrong, Tohei was wrong, Abbe was wrong, Shioda was wrong, etc. etc."

Well I've been rambling for a bit without much of a point. I guess talking about "internal skills" is pretty much preaching to the choir. Thanks to those that have given an effort to elaborate on this subject, I'd love to spend some matt time with you in the future! Enough rambling, my shodan exam is in a few days. Yikes! I need to get to practice.

Domo arigato gozaimashita!

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Old 03-08-2007, 05:10 PM   #938
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Re: Baseline skillset

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OK, I'll quit lurking here for a moment....
Nice post, Joe. Good luck on your test.
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Old 03-08-2007, 09:17 PM   #939
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Michael McCaslin wrote: View Post
If you have advance knowledge of the attack, and you "get out of the way" and then go along for the ride while uke breaks his own balance and launches into a beautiful roll, you're not connecting with anything. You're dancing.
Which is not the aikido I was taught. Irimi, irimi, and when in doubt, irimi. Oh yes. Tenkan where necessary to make the irimi more effective.

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Michael McCaslin wrote: View Post
Uke doesn't necessarily need to do anything-- you can take his center, upset his structure, and down him. Even if he is just standing there.
Respectfully, I disagree. Aikijujutsu maybe, not aikido. I can however provoke him him to actually do something, and then we are doing aikido. A difference of intent perhaps, but an important one. People go to jail or not over much less, so, not a small thing, I think.

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Michael McCaslin wrote: View Post
Yes, the baseline skills are developed with a form of resistance training. This is done to build power. But this power is not applied in a resistive, head-on collision in actual practice.
A point typically lost on the newbie as much or more than the kihon non-resistance mode is also lost and ends up in muscle or avoidance. This would not be a problem were it not that the advocates for the paradigm intend to start with these things as foundation rather working towards them, through kihon, which puts the newbies square in the middle of a resistive practice as the introduction to aikido. Problematic, as I have said.

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Michael McCaslin wrote: View Post
If you look at the baseline skills as developing a strong telescoping strut (indeed I think Mike has used this exact analogy), then the strut always expands in a direction your opponent cannot resist and therefore doesn't feel. If you issue force in a direction he can feel, he can send force back along the strut to affect you. ...Does this help tie it all together?
Mechnically, the only direction that is responsive to your point, with which I agree, is either perpendicular to that line of force or tangent to its arc and adding to its moment or rotation. These are the mechanics I am looking at.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-08-2007, 09:32 PM   #940
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Alfonso Adriasola wrote: View Post
... Abe sensei's comments about calligraphy make a lot of sense when you 're aware that the act of writing in that manner shares the same engine , movement mode as in many internal-powered martial arts. Including sword. This is not even a speculation of my part.
By no means. You are entirely correct. The point is that Aikido is as much or more a movement of mind and spirit as it is of body. Calligraphy, which I have done, and occasionally still do, in the Chinese mode, places great value in the expression evident in the forms of bodliy movement recorded. Western penmanship once did the same thing as well.

Western writing has since taken a different path. That does not make its path irrelevant to budo, but decidely different in its perspective. The calligraphy of Abe Sensei and his tradition exemplifies the movement of the body in expressing the state of mind. The writing of the West tends now toward expressing the mind as the ultimate motivator of the body. They are the obverse of one another.

Neither should denigrate the other, and I am careful not to, since I value both. The persective I speak from is simply not well represented in budo circles, and understandably suffers from its lack of familiarity. It is no harder, it is just not as familiar.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-08-2007, 09:43 PM   #941
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
Some folks think that Ueshiba created a complete and self-contained system called Aikido. In that view, things that he didn't do don't belong in it.
I view his principles as fundamentally evolutionary, not static. They establish certain criteria and kihon as "scales" and tunings (in your metaphor) for introduction to practice, and for better observing refinements or adaptations as being consistent with principles, and then the thing is fairly open-ended within the principles that guide it. It is actually rather comforting that enough peole are concerned about basic things (from what ever perspective) that they devote this level of interest to the issue.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-09-2007, 08:24 AM   #942
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Re: Baseline skillset

I posted this in the open discussion Rob and Mike thread and thought it speaks to issues here as well.

I don't like seeing the new form of ignorance being spouted by folks just "discovering grappling" now who are mixing in a little BJJ or Judo ne-waza with their aikido.
Grappling is a specialty game with its own weaknesses and strengths-just like any-other- traditional art. And guess what? They- just like everyone else- had to learn. Even BJJ has had to evolve and learn the truths of MMA.
As much as the traditional arts-of all kinds- were shocked to see how easily they could be taken apart by a good grappler and taken to the ground and then tuned to a fair-thee-well by those intimately aware of that venue gapplers had to learn too. Grapplers (more particularly wrestlers) were equally shocked to see themselves screwed up, stymied, knock out by good strickers, or unable to "postion- for-a-submission"
Funnier still was watching wrestlers trying in vain to get locks or chokes and all while they were in a superior ground and pound postion!! They simply didn't know what the hell to do with it didn't strike once. I've seen and also experienced a wrestler giving me thier back and being unconcerned with a rear choke. Or they hit with amazingly weak power from the ground.
I've lost track of the wrestllers and Judoka I've played with who were euqually unprepaired for folks trained in resisting and reversing takedowns and kicking and punching the shit out of them for their efforts.
For the newly minted "true believers of grappling" I'd suggest you review the progress of the UFC from submissions to more and more TKO and KO's.You need to spend just as much, if not more, in your stand up as rolling and takedowns. I'd tell any BJJ'er to go ask Lidell, or Crokop what they think.
MMA is superior to just mat work, and will always be.
But mat work rocks!!
There is a reason I argue on two fronts here. The first proirity, and the most superior game, is stand up. In Japanese bujutsu as well as modern warfare or LEO, you don't, by choice; roll around on the ground in web gear, or close quarter grapple wth a weapon belt. You learn and truly undestand the ground game and concentrate on being better able to avoid it. You don't go there as a first choice.
In Bujutsu and JMA you focus on standing up thoughout an encounter and to stay mobile. Most tradional martial artists I have met simply can't cope with that envronment with grapplers fighting back. Grappling and MMA win as they are single greatest equalizer. Period. But the goal was and is to remain standing and move
As for internal skills they make any single person stronger, more sensitive and responsive and in any equal setting pound-for-pound- a better striker and grappler -for their current level.
But they don't teach you how to fight.
Combine the two? Very potent stuff.

Internal skills in Aiki-do. They are the source of aiki. The moving for "blending" and moving from bigger to smaller circles and all the shapes and timing like Erice mentioned in the basline skills thread....isn't. THats just more waza stuff. The internal skills are the single thing needed to give Aikido back what it needs- both in power and sensitvity to create Aiki- for it to be anything more than just another weak and palid jujutsu.

In many ways Ueshiba-ha Daito Ryu shares a common understanding of combatives with its roots-remain upright and be mobile- that he got from Takeda. The engine to make it a reality? Its internal skills he got there as well. Bujutsu is not about expending maximum energy in single encounters. It is about minimul effort spread out to stay on your feet. So Ueshiba's change in vision to go further with that model and create Aiki-do, was a way to both remain upright and not harm the opponent while still remaining tactictly mobile and aware. His choice to send away instead of the characteristic DR grappling basic of bringing them and keeping them in is now easily understand by those who have felt Mike Rob and I. They have told us so. The cast out makes more sense to them now. And all of it was done through internal skills. Cast off is not my choice in reality its just fun for aiki-do.
I'd go so far as to say for the level of attack usually offered in Aiki-do? If you had these baseline skills-you wouldn't even need waza- not one.
Your body would take care of itself through connection.
Waza would happen naturally.
You would only have to fight- if you met a fighter.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 03-09-2007 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 03-09-2007, 11:59 AM   #943
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I posted this in the open discussion Rob and Mike thread and thought it speaks to issues here as well.
I have stayed off the "Rob and Mike" open thread. I did not attend, and so that is not really my discussion. I appreciate their willingnness to share in that forum. To be clear, as always, I am not challenging that you all do what you do or how you view yourself in doing it. I am just hunting the physics and any countering views for what you all describe about it. If you are honestly and accurately reporting your impressions, as I believe you are, I have noted some points in your opbservations that speak to some of the mechincial prinicples I have worked on so far. I hope that you, and the participants will equally be willing to share your additional perspectives in this forum, in the same spirit, for this purpose, whiihc is a bit different from that for which you met.

In that light, since Dan opened the door to that discussion, here:

Quote:
Mike Murray wrote:
[ ... And I had Rob kick me using muscle and then using whole body. The difference is amazing. I was holding a pad, no less, and I still felt the whole body kick go through me. Hunter mentioned later that it's like a wave going through one's body.
Maybe because it IS, actually.

Quote:
Mike Murray wrote:
[Regarding pushing Mike] -- It's more like a solid hole. yeah, weird. I can feel I'm pushing but I don't get much feedback and it feels like all my energy is going into a hole, yet there's definitely something there because my hands say I'm pushing against something.
A standing wave has a counterpart -- a standing trough -- and for which "solid hole" is a very apt impression.

Quote:
Jim Sorrentino wrote:
[speaking of Mike]He has a very clear way of illustrating and practicing Hiroshi Ikeda-sensei's oft-repeated admonition to "put the weight on" the place where uke makes contact.
The body's kinesthetic sense does not perceive "weight;" it perceives acceleration, and it does not matter what the orientation or source of that aceleration is. (One of the reasons why anyone's subjective appreciation of their own motion is suspect.)

Taking you at your word: Putting "weight" in the hands is the perceptual description that is proper in letting a wave of angular momentum flowing from the center, concentrate and accelerate angular velocity there by becoming an almost infinitesimal rotation -- by the mechanisms I have described. It is illustrated or felt more grossly by things such as tekubi furi, where the fingers are very definitely perceived as heavier, even when you project them horizontally, rather than downward.

Quote:
Jim Sorrentino wrote:
He also was able to "merge" with incoming force immediately with no apparent effort.
Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
It is about minimul effort spread out to stay on your feet.
The mechanism of dissipation would be the precise reverse of concentration illustrated by "weight in the hands." A point force is addressed (musubi) so as to create a wave in the receiving body of ever larger size and by the mechnism I have described it geometrically spreads out the energy through the receiving body until it is either ineffective, or whatever is left may be returned the same way.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
So Ueshiba's change in vision to go further with that model and create Aiki-do, was a way to both remain upright and not harm the opponent while still remaining tactictly mobile and aware. His choice to send away instead of the characteristic DR grappling basic of bringing them and keeping them in is now easily understand by those who have felt Mike Rob and I. They have told us so. The cast out makes more sense to them now. And all of it was done through internal skills. Cast off is not my choice in reality its just fun for aiki-do.
Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
Internal skills in Aiki-do. They are the source of aiki. The moving for "blending" and moving from bigger to smaller circles and all the shapes and timing like Erice mentioned in the basline skills thread....isn't. That's just more waza stuff.
As mentioned by others, this particualr aspect is a debate far more about methodology in training than about ultimate performance. O Sensei was a genius whos did not systematize. Saito had the idea (under whose lineage I trained most intensively, if not for the longest period of my training) to perpetuate this -- of steadily leading people up in stages, where the things you are discussing should and do happen naturally, as one thing builds on another. Saito was most critical of those who skipped ahead onto the moving ki-no-nagare before having a firm grasp of the more static kihon waza and the lessons in kokyu that they represent. I am firmly convinvced of the value of that paradigm.

But Saito also reportedly said "It's just physics" or words to that effect, underlining the importance of the study of prinicples of what is actually happening. Saotome, to my mind and his lineage, where I started and have returned, are in my experience committed to that study and its exposition. I am trying to blend the two to a degree. I want to build a firm foudation on the physics to inform a Western understanding of principles in aikido that help to explain or simplify the grasp of the kihon -- and the kokyu that makes it live.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
If you had these baseline skills-you wouldn't even need waza- not one.
Your body would take care of itself through connection.
Waza would happen naturally.
That was plainly what O Sensei believed that aikido is. Takemusu aiki. No kokyu - No aikido. We agree. So let's better define that, and the principles governing it. Maybe it will help the effort you are making.

Let's also seriously discuss not only the positives reported by the participants, but also the potential negatives of the training methods you use to issues in Aikido that are problematic. Nothing is ever gained without sacrificing something else. So let's be clear what may be lost (or may be redirected) in getting something the way you suggest, as opposed to other ways, that might involve different sacrifices, that are less problematic. There is pushing, for instance -- as JIm Sorrentino noted. Or resisting, as concerns me in advocating such an approach to people who have no foundation at all.

You acknowledge that what Ueshiba did, and intended for his students to do, with the underlying principles you demonstrate is different from what you choose to do with it. There may be ways to accomplish the same thing by less problematic means in aikido. Let's just be clear about the distinctions in both practice and purpose.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 03-09-2007 at 12:04 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 03-10-2007, 03:33 PM   #944
Joe Jutsu
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Nice post, Joe. Good luck on your test.
Thanks Mike! The test was pushed up to last night, and went pretty well. At least Tsubaki sensei was pleased, 'cause if sensei ain't happy ain't nobody happy!

I'll try to post a pic or two. Hope this finds you well.

Joe
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Old 03-11-2007, 02:15 PM   #945
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Just to grab one of several possible examples:
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Quote:
Mark Murray wrote:
[Regarding pushing Mike] -- It's more like a solid hole. yeah, weird. I can feel I'm pushing but I don't get much feedback and it feels like all my energy is going into a hole, yet there's definitely something there because my hands say I'm pushing against something.
A standing wave has a counterpart -- a standing trough -- and for which "solid hole" is a very apt impression.
What actually happens is that I have a trained skill of combining forces from the ground (and/or the weight and a couple of other things) with the 'opponent's' incoming force, which results in a "resultant force" that leads to a place of no support for the opponent. He feels, in these cases (there are other scenarios that can be implemented) that there is a "hole". "Standing wave" has nothing to do with it... it's nothing but a guess on a 'maybe' and it's quite simply wrong. Most of the physics in these kinds of skills are not any more difficult to do than riding a bicycle, but they're just as difficult to teach via writing and 'physics' as how to ride a bicycle. They have to be seen and experienced.

Frankly, at this moment I feel like there is a viable population of people working on these things and it's futile to continue the debate once that population size has been reached.

One thing I'd note is that the discussion/debate, fraught with its bickering and wounded feelings, would not be taking place if a number of teachers in the last 10-20 years had not been so successful in repelling discussions about the ki/kokyu skills.

Those teachers helped create the problem within the current generation and some of the current generation would repell these conversations and repeat history again. But I'd suggest that some of the current readers should remember that there are several recorded/archived examples of Aikido hierarchical figures stopping any conversations that implied they didn't know everything and complaining about "lack of respect" while not being able to engage knowledgeably in a topic they should know if they "teach".

I think the snowball has begun to roll. Most of the real results will be in the next generation who will start putting ki/kokyu skills back into Aikido and other arts. A number of today's teachers, schools, students, etc., will continue with the external approaches and ultimately be discredited, simply because the import of the skills is unavoidable, in the long run.

But why keep debating the same issues with the same people who are doing little more than trying to stymie the discussion? I'd suggest that going to a Ki-Society dojo and learning but examing the physics, going to see Ushiro but analysing the physics of what he does, going to see Abe Sensei, Sunadomari, Akuzawa, Dan, or whoever, and always analysing the physics and comparing with as many input sources as possible... that's the way forward, along with committed practice. That's what Ueshiba did: many sources; lots of practice.

Chris Moses asked a question that generally asked if more focus on these basics of ki/kokyu shouldn't be implemented in most Aikido practice. I agree, FWIW. Chris didn't think the basic practices in most Ki-Aikido, while generally in the right direction, was very effective. I agree, generally, with that observation. And I think it ultimately helps to start a dissension/discussion about what works or doesn't work if it results in better action in the future. That's essentially what's going to happen in a few dojos/schools now. Those will be the goats. In a lot of schools, they'll keep going with the externally-based practices, "Aiki-speak", and all that. Those will be the sheep. There will be some separation of the sheep from the goats in the near future, I suspect.

My 2 cents.

Mike
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Old 03-11-2007, 02:52 PM   #946
Tim Mailloux
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Thanks Ron
Remember the dinner conversation about size? Where you were expecting someone bigger? Dan
WTF, I didn't get invited to stay for dinner!

I am hurt Dan, really hurt.

Tim
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Old 03-11-2007, 02:54 PM   #947
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Re: Baseline skillset

I always hear about perceived problems, but have yet to see actual problems that are more real than the current generation talking about their lack of skills compared to a previous generation (which typically is human nature and is seen in almost any endeavor, regardless if such a lack is real or just false modesty).

If there are real problems, I'd suggest it is probably more effective to become an actual aikido or taijiquan teacher and correct the (perceived) problems from within the aikido/taijiquan/etc. community by using accurate teaching as an example rather than trying to approach it from the outsider viewpoint as a teacher of skills that (supposedly) underly all these martial arts. That is what I would do if I perceived problems and had the skills; it just seems like a more effective and direct route.

Or, one could simply make a list of such problems, and send them to the big aikido organizations so they can correct the problems by using ones's suggestions on improvements for better teaching cirriculum. They'd have the resources to implement these corrections, rather than one or at most a dozen, people.

Re: Mike's:

Quote:
In a lot of schools, they'll keep going with the externally-based practices...
Isn't

Quote:
What actually happens is that I have a trained skill of combining forces from the ground (and/or the weight and a couple of other things) with the 'opponent's' incoming force, which results in a "resultant force" that leads to a place of no support for the opponent.
external? Forces, ground. Sounds like basic body mechanics and physics to me and a bit of waxing romantic to call it internal.

If by ki/kokyu skills, one simply means proper alignment, body mechanics, standard physics, timing, etc., then I'd have to ask why one believes they are missing in the first place.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 03-11-2007, 03:03 PM   #948
DH
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Tim Mailloux wrote: View Post
WTF, I didn't get invited to stay for dinner!

I am hurt Dan, really hurt.

Tim
Well you pansy Judo guys are such lightweights you gas out and go home early. Ron and Murray looked around and said where did all the tough guys go? Couldn't take it? They only invited the "real martial artists" to dinner!
I think were gonna be having a repeat performance soon enough Bud. In the mean time try running or lifting dumbells... I hear it helps.
Hope to see ya soon.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 03-11-2007 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 03-11-2007, 03:05 PM   #949
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Justin Smith wrote: View Post
external? Forces, ground. Sounds like basic body mechanics and physics to me and a bit of waxing romantic to call it internal.

If by ki/kokyu skills, one simply means proper alignment, body mechanics, standard physics, timing, etc., then I'd have to ask why one believes they are missing in the first place.
Justin, nobody on the forum has met you. You simply snipe, follow around trying to discredit my posts for some bizarre reason, etc., and ask rhetorical, always negatively-indexed questions which, when answered, you simple use to leverage into prolonged bickering, ultimately closing down threads.

Here's what you can do. Go visit Jim Sorrentino, like some of us have, and show him what you can do. Show him your best shot at "body mechanics and physics" and ask him if that's all the other people are doing. Sorrentino is honest and blunt... he'll give you a truthful answer. But the other side of the coin is that you have to have the courage to put your own reputation on the line, rather than just sitting behind a keyboard and sniping. Kibbitzers are sort of a joke in martial arts.

My money is on you dissimulating and continuing to stalk and snipe. Anyone want to bet against me?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-11-2007, 03:12 PM   #950
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
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Re: Baseline skillset

Well theres a thought. Some folks have been none to polite here about us.
How about the dozens of folks who have felt varous combinations of all three or two asking Eric and Justin to come......show?
They have thier views on base line skills. and counter ours at every turn. If they have something to actually show that will benefit aikido instead of yaking....lets see it.

Dan
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