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Old 04-11-2007, 09:11 AM   #101
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Mike Sigman asked me to describe how O Sensei bounced people who were pushing on his chest. I'll give it a try. Mike please correct my inaccuracies or pick me up if I'm being vague.

First off, let's assume he's standing with one foot in front of the other as this is a more stable stance (doing this with feet side by side is a different issue whilst being also the same if you see what I mean). His partner is pushing squarely on the middle of his chest. Hard.

If he were standing feet together it would be more difficult to redirect the force and maintain balance. Not impossible but more difficult. I say this because I find it easier myself with one foot in front of the other if someone is pushing on my chest, if there's another way and the two shouldn't be any different whatsoever then in all likelihood I've missed something. If you assume he can redirect the force to the ground by first absorbing it into his centre then he'll be pretty much rock solid and no amount of pushing will move him. What's happening here is that his partner is loading force onto the spine which is supported by the hips and centre and the legs, the legs are obviously supported by the floor, the thing that stops him sliding backwards in response to a direct horizontal push (note not up at an angle as that's a slightly different test) is friction on the soles of the feet. I know this because someone in our dojo once mistook a can of furniture polish for whatever it usually was they used to clean the mats and instead polished a large number of PVC mats. Bare feet tended to slide along them until you could adjust the force and use the deformation of the foam under the PVC to check the sliding of you feet. It was a rather fun morning and fwd rolls tended to end up with uke trying to stand up at the end and resembling a snowboarder in the attempt.

Back to the chest bounce.

The harder uke pushes against the chest the easier it is (assuming you can absorb the force and remain in an upright position in the first place). As I said, force is loaded onto the spine. The spine, while being strong is also pliable. So releasing the energy stored in the spine and along ukes arm will move uke backwards (and to an extent the legs although the legs mostly support the back i think, not too sure about that one, I'll have to have a play, but I don't think the legs are anything to do with it because you should be able to do this standing on one leg). The extent to which uke moves backwards depends on their posture and skill in pushing and grounding themselves. An uke who has a coordinated mind and body will propbably be able to absorb the power in the same way the power was absorbed from the initial push uke made. If uke has little to no coordination then they will move, how far depends on them as an individual.

Releasing the power is, I think, a wave that begins at the base of the spine in the one-point or centre. Best way I can explain it is to imagine putting an object like a vase or a plate on the end of a rug. Then lift the other end and whip it downwards to send the wave to the other end of the rug. The plate or vase wil move, possibly break. If you put a heavier item such as an armchair on the end of the rug it would not move when you did this and that is where the analogy breaks down. It breaks down because the rug isn't having force loaded onto it. If it were instead a diving board and you put the armchair on the end furthest from the tower (if we again think of O Sensei and uke pushing his chest his hips and legs are the tower and spine is the diving board) what would happen is someone stamped hard on the end nearest the tower? The force loaded onto the diving board by the weight of the chair would be released and the chair would move. Probably up in the air and then into the pool.

If you watch the end of the 1935 Asahi news film there are a few moments when he kiais into his ukes face and uke jumps backwards. Watch his movement, it starts from his centre and rips up through his back and out of his mouth.

This clip of Akuzawa:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snYlMC6gUoM

The guy is holding his wrists. Watch the force start from his hips and travel up his arms. It's something similar to the bounce demo but not the same. In this case his partner isn't loading the force onto his spine he's doing something similar but sligthly different, it is however the only video I could think of off the top of my head where the movement is clearly shown and fairly easy to see. I suspect Akuzawa starts this movement by creating and releasing tension in his hips and rolling this coordinated movement upwards and out his arms. But that's just a suspicion based only on video evidence.

Is that ok for you Mr Sigman? If not please correct me.

Regards

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 04-11-2007, 09:21 AM   #102
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Howard Chan wrote: View Post
Thanks Mike, both those posts were helpful to me.

I found this info on here on aikiweb describing the different ki-test levels. Fun stuff.

http://www.aikiweb.com/spiritual/reed2.html
Yeah. What Will Reed said.

This is where being a good writer becomes a really useful skill to have... oh well.

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 04-11-2007, 09:24 AM   #103
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Mike, I'd like to see how you'd use those writing skills in the UFC though. How would good writing skills help you in MMA? How else are you going to prove that they are good!

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Old 04-11-2007, 09:29 AM   #104
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Mike, I'd like to see how you'd use those writing skills in the UFC though. How would good writing skills help you in MMA? How else are you going to prove that they are good!
The pen is mightier than the sword. Do you think I'd be allowed to bring a pen into a UFC fight? Reckon I could probably have the other guys eye out as a minor maiming injury that might secure a vistory. Which is preferable to sticking it into his neck for imparting 'final harmony' to my opponent. It's nice to be considerate of the other guy after all.

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
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Old 04-11-2007, 09:33 AM   #105
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

LOL...quick thinking! A good sense of humor is important!

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Old 04-11-2007, 02:39 PM   #106
Pete Rihaczek
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
[snip physio discussion] You may notice that a lot of what I just said, and a lot of what my girlfriends physio told her sound similar to some of the things that Rob has written, which is one of my reasons for thinking that a good deal of the stuff he is doing is similar and has shared skills to what I do. It is not the same by any means but I'd say it's a related skill for certain.

Mike
I was just reading a presentation on physical therapy the other day, and it's amazing how interrelated everything in the body is. Any injury can cause muscle imbalance, and any muscle imbalance can cause injury. An example given was weakness in the cervical spine (ie neck muscles) can lead runners to adopt a posture with their chin poked forward in order to keep their eyes level, which then results in an anterior pelvic tilt as compensation, which can lead to hamstring injury! Much of the discussion was focussed on the idea that weakness in the core (29 different muscles attached to the spine) causes compensation, for example weak abdominal support forces the hip flexors to work as stabilizers, yadda yadda. The upshot is, if your core sucks, your extremities will be prevented from exerting a lot of power, in addition to all the potential for imbalance and problems.

That a strong core is an element/byproduct of this sort of training is obvious. It is different than Western concepts of core training, but even in Western sport science such training is ultimately very specific to a given sport. The whole purpose of Akuzawa's Aunkai is to create a "martial body", which has several points. For one thing every high level person has something similar that they do, whether they openly detail it or not. This sort of training is an integrated mix of skill and actual body conditioning. That's why you'll see Rob, Dan, etc. refer to it as "body skill" or something similar. If it's not hard, you're not getting much conditioning. I've never seen a method that has anything to do with typical Western conditioning. Having just read Stuart McGill's excellent Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance (www.backfitpro.com), he also makes the point that a bodybuilding mentality has polluted even most athletic training. The things most people do in the gym not only don't further athletic performance, they may hinder it, and often risk injury (particularly most everything people do for abdominal and back training). He further makes the point that the value of bodyweight exercise has been known for centuries, and that real core strength has little to do with absolute muscle strength. Motor groove of activity-specific motion and endurance of the core comes first, before building power. In other words, exactly the sort of exercises that Akuzawa does, and the old martial traditions did, that typically have no modern counterpart. Lifting heavy weights, even if done in more functional movements (Olympic lifting, powerlifting) than the typical bodybuilding exercises does not develop the same capacity. Just like powerlifting will impede your endurance and vice versa, such training will directly interfere with the "martial body" trainings of the Ueshibas and others, whatever they are. The ultimate point is that just doing skillwork in terms of relaxing during movement, even though it will always be important at any level, and doing technique work will never produce conditioning effects that lead to this sort of power. The skill and the conditioning are intertwined, but while the conditioning is specific to the skill it still must be deliberately trained, it will not come for free. And it's definitely not natural by any definition. What is being done in the body is not usually visible to the eye, any more than I can tell by looking at you whether your toes are curled inside your shoe, or that Rob is keeping various contradictory tensions while moving. That isn't natural by caveman standards, it's not how children move, nor is it anything you would get from just doing technique. Somebody has to tell you what they are doing inside their body when they move, and there are always specific exercises to develop those things. Those are the secrets that you're lucky to be told.

The things that you talked about earlier that took some years to start getting the hang of, Mike typically covers in a single workshop. And it is years' worth of material because you won't just go aha! and be able to do it all, but knowing up front what you're shooting for and how to go about getting there starts you on the path of being able to see and better grasp what high level people are really doing. Then when you go and see someone like a Chen Xiao Wang you see how high the bar really is, it's obvious that practicing technique and trying to remember to relax will never get you anywhere near there. People go on with stories of Ueshiba, but of course he's passed on. Meanwhile someone like Chen Xiao Wang is a living breathing person who can do these things, tours around the world, and even speaks some English. His nephew Chen Bing is currently touring the states. It is easy to recommend such people as a standard to see and feel, and then you'll understand the interest in digging for information on how to get past basic ideas to real functional ability. Unfortunately like most top people he won't tell you in plain English what exactly he's doing, but that's what all the discussion is for. The more input from people like Dan, Rob, Mike, Akuzawa, and people who go out to train with various "real goods" players. the more can be pieced together in terms of how things are really done and how to train for it. Unless you continue to go and meet people who are recommended as a "go check this guy out, he's got some real goods" you will never know how far down the path you are, and end up convincing yourself that you know it all already. I can promise you there's way more to it than you think, and none of it obvious.

Or maybe I'm wrong and you do know it all, in which case all us poor schlubs, who are scratching our heads trying to work these things out because we've encountered physically unremarkable people who somehow possess the power of hydraulic equipment, are all ears. The floor is yours.
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Old 04-11-2007, 07:16 PM   #107
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Hi Pete, very interesting post, thanks for putting things so plainly. "Hydraulic equipment" eh? Nice one! For my own, small, part, I had a look at at a career path review I had done some 10 years ago, and it said "in his late 30s, he ... start to see the intereconnectedness of all things". I guess that helps :-) I fully agree. I'd like to add one perspective: I feel that this training is absolute in nature, rather than relative about beating one person and losing against another. Of course, it's still relative to your own body, but the limitations of that are constantly pushed back. So, as Dan has said so often, the training is one thing, fighting is another. Or: Application is another. Since these ways of moving/coordinating are the root of all body motions from then onwards, they apply to everything.

For me, when telling people about this kind of stuff, I tell them to do only one thing: open out from the back, all the time, to the little toes and little fingers, so that they are standing on their heels really, and working the spinal muscles. It's a first step, and pretty hard to do when in practice the feet and hands have to be facing more to the front than out to the sides of the body, but I think that that the mind set change that results and solidifies once a certain amount of conviction is achieved, is most important, so that people can look and see at what another is doing and start to guess what is going on. I hope that more people in my immediate aikido circle will then be interested enough to seek out Akuzawa and others like him.

Of course, the tons of work, and instruction in steps 2 to N in terms of mechanisms, are needed to produce CXWs of this world, but the more people get started, the easier it will be in future to find willing teachers, and willing peers to train with. It's no fun to train in a dojo where nobody does this stuff but they call it aikido and go through all the moves. I've been having fun by teaching as many of the young ladies how to do this, since they seem to be more open to it (only if they ask, mind you) whereas I've only had maybe 1/10th as many guys asking for any details. Most simply don't ask, just work with me for the few minutes, and hurriedly move on. For a while I suspected body odour.

Last edited by Gernot Hassenpflug : 04-11-2007 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 04-11-2007, 08:07 PM   #108
Haowen Chan
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Very insightful Pete. Finally a clear answer to "what is serious work" This is great info!

Perhaps the relative emphases on bodily conditioning is the difference between the "hard" internal cultivation style and the "soft" internal cultivation style that Mike Sigman was talking about.

Is it something like:

Hard internal cultivation (bigger emphasis on body conditioning, internal muscles/fascia in spine, etc): Xingyi, Bagua, Aunkai
Soft internal cultivation (bigger emphasis on coordination, sensitivity, mental intent): Taiji, Ki-soc

I'm totally talking out of my ass here so apologies in advance and please tell us more!
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Old 04-11-2007, 09:18 PM   #109
Pete Rihaczek
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Quote:
Howard Chan wrote: View Post
Very insightful Pete. Finally a clear answer to "what is serious work" This is great info!

Perhaps the relative emphases on bodily conditioning is the difference between the "hard" internal cultivation style and the "soft" internal cultivation style that Mike Sigman was talking about.

Is it something like:

Hard internal cultivation (bigger emphasis on body conditioning, internal muscles/fascia in spine, etc): Xingyi, Bagua, Aunkai
Soft internal cultivation (bigger emphasis on coordination, sensitivity, mental intent): Taiji, Ki-soc

I'm totally talking out of my ass here so apologies in advance and please tell us more!
Hi Howard,

I can't speak for Mike, but I think there are a number of approaches to this. I don't know if "hard" vs "soft" is sufficiently granular to describe it. Akuzawa's approach seems to involve some conscious tension, but not what I would call "hard", whereas Chen style taiji doesn't, but that wasn't entirely where I was going. Xingyi, Bagua, etc people are going to have different approaches. I don't know if it was a Chen family member who had his sons practice their forms underneath a table, but that doesn't sound "soft" or "relaxed" to me. No matter how you slice it it's conditioning and it's hard work, and I don't see how you can be any sort of martial athlete and somehow have power without appropriate conditioning. Doing ikkyo and nikkyo endlessly won't do it. It's not fast-twitch muscle conditioning like with weightlifting, it's stuff like being able to move around in a low stance for an hour. You need endurance like that to be able to "relax" and work the skills. The word "relax" is in quotes for a reason. That's a mental visualization, but obviously the body is working. If you think the Chen work is any less strenuous than Akuzawa's stuff, take a look at some of the positions they hold and move around in. Standing practice or similar is invariably part of the foundation, and like everything else the details of what's being done during standing is a big deal, and skill, intention, and conditioning are being worked together. If you just copy a guy doing a standing pose you have no idea what it's for or what good it is. Ueshiba had his exercises, and how they are really worked may be very different than how it looks on the outside. Copying "external" movement is easy (and then you wonder what the heck it's supposed to be good for), what's really being done on the inside has to be explained.

In a way it's analogous to doing forms without knowing anything of the intended application. It's pointless. But in a well-preserved system the form contains the deep knowledge of the system. I recall my early Okinawan karate days, we were told to guess what the point of any particular form movement was, nobody explained it, least of all the depth of something like Sanchin. The instructors had no clue. They were Americans who learned from another American who learned it on Okinawa but probably wasn't shown the real stuff and real intention. On the other hand, when I learned silat from Pendekar Paul DeThouars, the meaning of every tiny movement of a juru was explained. The knowledge of the system is contained in those things, and unless it's explained to you it's mostly empty. In internal systems the bodywork is at least as important if not more so than the application, and there is even less hope of figuring it out from the outer movement. Actually no hope. I can visually copy the shiko exercise from Akuzawa, but without knowledge of the internal contradictory tensions and what I'm trying to achieve, I'm just getting some exercise. Etc. You have to feel the results, then work to understand how the exercises are done correctly, and how and why they produce the results.
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:28 PM   #110
eyrie
 
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

And if all else fails... just do more ukemi...

Ignatius
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Old 04-12-2007, 03:42 AM   #111
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
The things that you talked about earlier that took some years to start getting the hang of, Mike typically covers in a single workshop.

Snip

Or maybe I'm wrong and you do know it all, in which case all us poor schlubs, who are scratching our heads trying to work these things out because we've encountered physically unremarkable people who somehow possess the power of hydraulic equipment, are all ears. The floor is yours.
Which is why I'm interested in this stuff. As I've said before, I want to know if there's a quicker way to learn and teach this stuff, otherwise I wouldn't be reading these discussions. I'm generally pretty slow in learning this stuff, others aren't but that's my fault not my teachers really. I'm not sure its the method that's to blame either but that's a matter for debate and, like I said, why I'm interested in these things.
For the record in a single 6hr workshop I too could get people to do the things it took me years to learn, but like Mike often says, when they leave it would start slipping away, it took me years, because I needed years to absorb the skill properly and to be consistently able to do these things and have them trained into my body and mind. The two aren't the same thing and I think you know that.

As to body conditioning exercises, think you may have missed my point, life in general is one. Anytime I do a hard physically demanding task or anything else for that matter I try to 'do it with ki'. Just like Rob and others have said you have to train hard to learn these things, even if you're just opening a jar in the kitchen you have to try to do it in the right way.

I most certainly don't 'know it all' nor have I ever claimed to. If you want to re-read what I've said, you'll see that right at the start I said that I can't do the things that Dan Harden says (and people who have trained with him say) he can do. I probably can't do the things Mike can do either. I can do some of these things consistently and probably most of them but much less consistently. But I know what my skill level is, I know where it's going and I know what I'm trying to achieve. I also understand the subject matter enough to be able to discuss it in a reasonable way, and seeing as these are discussion forums not a dojo it seems fair to discuss them. As you yourself have pointed out talking about it is one thing, doing it is another.

This whole debate seems a bit like this. People say these skills are absent from aikido. This is not true, though they may be absent from a lot of aikido maybe even most of it for all I know, but they definitely aren't absent from it totally. People start talking about Chinese internal arts and their skills and saying that these are the skills missing from aikido. How do they know? They are certainly similar skills but are they the same? I don't think they are. For example, I'm not sure fajing is necessarily a part of aikido's internal repertoire, it certainly doesn't appear to be hugely prevalent in film of O Sensei and others. The discussion is interesting and productive but I don't think you necessarily have to go to see Dan Harden or Mike Sigman or anyone else to learn these things, I think they are more common than many people give credit. Maybe that's just me being optimistic, dunno.

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 04-12-2007, 03:49 AM   #112
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Howard Chan wrote: View Post
Very insightful Pete. Finally a clear answer to "what is serious work" This is great info!

Perhaps the relative emphases on bodily conditioning is the difference between the "hard" internal cultivation style and the "soft" internal cultivation style that Mike Sigman was talking about.

Is it something like:

Hard internal cultivation (bigger emphasis on body conditioning, internal muscles/fascia in spine, etc): Xingyi, Bagua, Aunkai
Soft internal cultivation (bigger emphasis on coordination, sensitivity, mental intent): Taiji, Ki-soc

I'm totally talking out of my ass here so apologies in advance and please tell us more!
Like Pete said. I don't think hard vs soft is what it's all about, they overlap a great deal. You can train very hard in ways that some people would call 'external' whilst training internal or soft skills. All our yudansha practice is like this, i.e. really physically hard work with a resisting partner (constructive resistance that is), but the point of this training isn't to build bigger muscles or increase strength, it's to train you to use internal power or ki.

Mike

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Old 04-12-2007, 05:43 AM   #113
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Mike Haft wrote: View Post
^SNIP^
5 years after that I can have a 260lb guy push me full force in the middle of my chest and stop him from moving me, and I do mean full force and without deference to me because I'm his instructor (you could say I'm taking ukemi for him if you like).
Regards

Mike
260lb makes me sound like a wrestler! But you forgot to mention dashingly handsome!

Peace and love budodudes

Jo
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Old 04-12-2007, 06:33 AM   #114
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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260lb makes me sound like a wrestler! But you forgot to mention dashingly handsome!

Peace and love budodudes

Jo
You mean you're not a wrestler?! But how can I seriously test my internal skills unless you fight me whilst wearing trunks and a mask??

I can see it now. Ring announcer says "in the blue corner, inventor of the bastard scale of resistance, weighing in at 260lbs + breakfast, the... Beard... of ..... Chuck..... Norrrrrrrriiiiiiiiissssssssss!!!!!" DING DING!

Mike

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Old 04-12-2007, 08:15 AM   #115
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Right then it's settled; suplexes are now on the syllabus!

I'll leave you sensible chaps to your discussion.

peace and love, rice and peas

Jo

PS I also invented kiwi fruit and the condition globus hystericus

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Old 04-12-2007, 11:18 AM   #116
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Mike Haft wrote: View Post
Is that ok for you Mr Sigman? If not please correct me.
Sorry for the delay. Y'know, I've thought about it and every response I can think of, I realize it's already been said one way or another in a number of posts in the past. I.e., we're just going over the same ground, over and over again. If constant repetition actually forwarded physical progress for some people, I'd be willing to give it another try, but I'm having one of those spells (based on some recent personal meetings with people) where I don't think it accomplishes all that much. There are only so many ways you can say things... ultimately a person has got to be really interested and motivated enough to go look for it, I think.

Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 04-12-2007, 01:35 PM   #117
Pete Rihaczek
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
This whole debate seems a bit like this. People say these skills are absent from aikido. This is not true, though they may be absent from a lot of aikido maybe even most of it for all I know, but they definitely aren't absent from it totally. People start talking about Chinese internal arts and their skills and saying that these are the skills missing from aikido. How do they know? They are certainly similar skills but are they the same? I don't think they are. For example, I'm not sure fajing is necessarily a part of aikido's internal repertoire, it certainly doesn't appear to be hugely prevalent in film of O Sensei and others. The discussion is interesting and productive but I don't think you necessarily have to go to see Dan Harden or Mike Sigman or anyone else to learn these things, I think they are more common than many people give credit. Maybe that's just me being optimistic, dunno.

Mike
Yes, I think you're being very optimistic. If it were prevalent in Aikido these discussions wouldn't exist. There may be slightly different approaches to getting higher levels of this skill, but I think it's pretty obviously one skill that Asian arts hold in highest regard as being the physical manifestation of Ki. I don't see any reasonable way to interpret the stories of Ueshiba's seemingly effortless power as a different skill. Ellis Amdur has posted video of Ueshiba doing fajin. More than one video isn't really necessary, is it? He could do it, or not. Secrecy is the norm, and when it comes to large organizations like Aikikai or Kodokan dedicated to worldwide spread of an art, the idea of sharing this sort of stuff and openly teaching it has an enormous host of problems, not least of which is that many people high in an organization don't necessarily know anything about it, even if they did it's difficult and might slow the adoption of an art (how many people with jobs and families, particularly in the West, will work on standing practice and other seemingly pointless exercises in lieu of something that seems more immediate?), etc. All these issues have been touched on before.

Again I recall my Okinawan karate days, doing Sanchin while being pushed from various angles, being hit with bamboo, and I thought it was silly. How was I supposed to keep from being pushed? What was the point of being hit? My teachers didn't know, but they were copying the procedure. Had I stayed with it and earned a high rank, how would I react to the idea that I didn't really understand anything about the nature of Sanchin kata? I would hope I would react with an open mind, but the more people have invested in an art the more resistant they are to such an idea. Objectively, it would be the height of arrogance for me to proclaim that there could be anything to Sanchin that I didn't know about, just because I had invested many years in practice. Meanwhile the reality is if I performed Sanchin for some gnarled old Okinawan geezer who happened to know some of the real deal, he could see in two seconds that I have absolutely nothing of the real art, whether I can fight or not. What if he were honest and told me I have nothing? How you handle that prospect I think is a real test of martial character and ego.

The reason that Chinese internal artists are being discussed is simply because the people doing the discussing have actually met them and know that they have real skills. I don't know who in Aikido does. Again it's probably easier to pinpoint in various Chinese lineages because they are small and the knowledge is passed from family member to family member for generations and to select favored students, but as soon as you get a large organization together you get the same scenario. As a percentage, the number of people who are highly skilled in this area vs. the number who do taiji worldwide is tiny, just like in Aikido. It takes more of a Western mentality to try to codify this stuff, analyze it, strip it of decorative ki-based explanations and try to figure out how it's really done so that people with a life can get a handle on it. The only Asian guy I know of who tries to do that at all is Akuzawa. I'm sure there are others, but openly teaching this stuff is not the norm by far. You say this stuff is more widely known in Aikido, but when I asked you to name names of people you would recommend as examples of having a high level of the real goods, you couldn't vouch for anybody. That's a contradiction. How do you expect to advance in this area if you don't know who to see to get more how-to information?

Does it really matter that one guy who knows this stuff may be in Aikido, another from Xingyi, etc? What if we take the position that Ueshiba didn't know as much as Chen Xiao Wang does. If it were possible for them to have met, would Ueshiba have rejected the knowledge on how to manifest ki even more? Pretty unlikely, IMO. Ueshiba clearly traveled far and wide to learn what he did, and obviously Takeda was a rather big influence. If a Daito-Ryu master were to offer to show you shortcuts to get closer to Ueshiba's ostensible level, would you reject it on the basis of it not being Aikido (as if you're in a position to judge)? The whole argument is silly from every angle. The worst outcome I suppose is if you were to actually surpass Ueshiba's level of internal skill. Darn. Then you could debate yourself into a coma about whether you should call it Aikido. It's up to you, but I don't intend to reject any pearls cast before me, regardless of their source.

For example, here's a 94 year old Bagua practitioner apparently discussing such things with family members:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZdtM5p6ZkA

Yes, he is going to be in UFC 75 "Geezer Throwdown", in the open weight class wheelchair division. Sorry, had to throw one out for the 12 year olds in the audience. In the last bit in particular he seems to be explaining how he receives force and uses the ground to return it. To the uneducated eye it may look like nonsense and they'll move on. But he is showing how he can take balance as soon as he is grabbed, and there is virtually no visible outward movement. That's not a necessary condition, but it makes the point. I can't do that, though I know of people who can. Unless you feel yourself what he's doing, you're not sure why anybody would lose his balance from grabbing him when you don't see him do anything. It's all the same general skill. Could Ueshiba take someone's balance as soon as they touched him? I think so, if you believe the stories. And why not, since there are people you can go see, like CXW, who can easily show you this in person. Are there 57 totally different ways to do this? Very doubtful, it's one general skillset, the level is just a matter of the degree of skill and body integration.

In general I hesitate to post videos of any sort, because like with words people will see what they want to see, and the most likely response will be either be "it's crap", or "I can do that, just not as well", which misses the point and whitewashes the difference in skill levels that exist, as if anyone with a golf club is Tiger Woods. If I were fortunate enough to witness such a demo it would show me immediately that he has knowledge I'm looking for, regardless of how good he is or was compared to others. If I could be introduced and ask him to show me some things, because I know that I'm looking to understand how certain things are achieved, even if he's a somewhat secretive guy I may end up learning things despite his secretiveness. Or he may see that I comprehend the value of what he's doing and show more. Meanwhile I'm looking for important details, comparing how he does things to other people, etc. You have to keep experiencing the spectrum of skills to start piecing together how the higher skill levels are achieved. If people don't care, or don't want to look around, or think they will get much just by doing more of what they already do it just won't happen. And importantly, the only reason people like Mike, Dan, Rob, and others care to even do this is that they *have* experienced people whose skills are way beyond what you think can be done. Since you can't rattle off a list of names at that level to recommend, it's clear you have not experienced a truly high level of it or there would be no hesitation. There's a reason why those on the "there's more to it than you think" side make such a fuss about it. If you experience what someone like a CXW can do, you would know what the fuss is about, and like many others, you would report back to the forum that there's a whole lot more to it than you ever imagined. And then all the other people who hadn't had that experience would be debating with you, saying that everything you say sounds just like what they already do or their teacher does, and you'd see there's no way to explain it to them. And you'd fall back on the same thing everyone else does: you have to go check it out.

Which brings me back to my first post in this thread, the inevitability of "you have to go look". If I had CXW's knowledge I could easily rattle of page after page of specific how-to's, but even though you started a how-to thread, I haven't seen those pages from you. I know, I know, you don't claim a high level and I certainly don't, but for one thing my musings on the little I know, right or wrong, I could explain in great detail. As the great physicist Richard Feynman said, if we can't explain something so that even a layman understands it, it means we don't know it. The other thing is that I can name names of at least some people who have real ability in case you want to verify if we're talking about the same things. One thing that becomes more and more obvious as you learn more about it is how complicated it is, and how difficult to get the details and get them right. Anyone who expresses the notion that this stuff is *more* common than thought immediately shows he hasn't seen anything all that great. Even if we say for argument's sake that a low level of things is more common in Aikido than thought, how does that meaningfully help one get to a high level? It doesn't. Only dealing with high level people has any chance of getting you to a high level. All I can say is that this is a much bigger puzzle than you're giving it credit for, though whether you believe that is of course up to you.

With that I'm going to leave well enough alone, I simply don't have time to keep up on daily discussions. Good luck in your training, and if all you want is already available to you, more power to you, you're a lucky man. Otherwise, you have to get out and meet people; all the discussion in the world is unfortunately pretty futile as a substitute.
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Old 04-12-2007, 03:45 PM   #118
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Sorry for the delay. Y'know, I've thought about it and every response I can think of, I realize it's already been said one way or another in a number of posts in the past. I.e., we're just going over the same ground, over and over again. If constant repetition actually forwarded physical progress for some people, I'd be willing to give it another try, but I'm having one of those spells (based on some recent personal meetings with people) where I don't think it accomplishes all that much. There are only so many ways you can say things... ultimately a person has got to be really interested and motivated enough to go look for it, I think.

Best.

Mike Sigman
That's fair enough Mike. The thread will still be here if you change your mind. Believe it or not I do actually value your input, even though I may be a pain in the backside from time to time (sorry about that. What can I say, I'm a work in progress...)

I suspect I know a fair amount of what you might say in any case as, like you said, it's been covered a fair bit. I'm pretty sure my description was still pretty vague but I'm not sure if that's due to lack of ability to explain clearly or lack of ability itself.... either way I doubt it can be resolved on an internet discussion forum.

Regards

Mike

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Old 04-12-2007, 07:13 PM   #119
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
Yes, I think you're being very optimistic. If it were prevalent in Aikido these discussions wouldn't exist. There may be slightly different approaches to getting higher levels of this skill, but I think it's pretty obviously one skill that Asian arts hold in highest regard as being the physical manifestation of Ki. I don't see any reasonable way to interpret the stories of Ueshiba's seemingly effortless power as a different skill. Ellis Amdur has posted video of Ueshiba doing fajin. More than one video isn't really necessary, is it? He could do it, or not. Secrecy is the norm, and when it comes to large organizations like Aikikai or Kodokan dedicated to worldwide spread of an art, the idea of sharing this sort of stuff and openly teaching it has an enormous host of problems, not least of which is that many people high in an organization don't necessarily know anything about it, even if they did it's difficult and might slow the adoption of an art (how many people with jobs and families, particularly in the West, will work on standing practice and other seemingly pointless exercises in lieu of something that seems more immediate?), etc. All these issues have been touched on before.

Again I recall my Okinawan karate days, doing Sanchin while being pushed from various angles, being hit with bamboo, and I thought it was silly. How was I supposed to keep from being pushed? What was the point of being hit? My teachers didn't know, but they were copying the procedure. Had I stayed with it and earned a high rank, how would I react to the idea that I didn't really understand anything about the nature of Sanchin kata? I would hope I would react with an open mind, but the more people have invested in an art the more resistant they are to such an idea. Objectively, it would be the height of arrogance for me to proclaim that there could be anything to Sanchin that I didn't know about, just because I had invested many years in practice. Meanwhile the reality is if I performed Sanchin for some gnarled old Okinawan geezer who happened to know some of the real deal, he could see in two seconds that I have absolutely nothing of the real art, whether I can fight or not. What if he were honest and told me I have nothing? How you handle that prospect I think is a real test of martial character and ego.

The reason that Chinese internal artists are being discussed is simply because the people doing the discussing have actually met them and know that they have real skills. I don't know who in Aikido does. Again it's probably easier to pinpoint in various Chinese lineages because they are small and the knowledge is passed from family member to family member for generations and to select favored students, but as soon as you get a large organization together you get the same scenario. As a percentage, the number of people who are highly skilled in this area vs. the number who do taiji worldwide is tiny, just like in Aikido. It takes more of a Western mentality to try to codify this stuff, analyze it, strip it of decorative ki-based explanations and try to figure out how it's really done so that people with a life can get a handle on it. The only Asian guy I know of who tries to do that at all is Akuzawa. I'm sure there are others, but openly teaching this stuff is not the norm by far. You say this stuff is more widely known in Aikido, but when I asked you to name names of people you would recommend as examples of having a high level of the real goods, you couldn't vouch for anybody. That's a contradiction. How do you expect to advance in this area if you don't know who to see to get more how-to information?

Does it really matter that one guy who knows this stuff may be in Aikido, another from Xingyi, etc? What if we take the position that Ueshiba didn't know as much as Chen Xiao Wang does. If it were possible for them to have met, would Ueshiba have rejected the knowledge on how to manifest ki even more? Pretty unlikely, IMO. Ueshiba clearly traveled far and wide to learn what he did, and obviously Takeda was a rather big influence. If a Daito-Ryu master were to offer to show you shortcuts to get closer to Ueshiba's ostensible level, would you reject it on the basis of it not being Aikido (as if you're in a position to judge)? The whole argument is silly from every angle. The worst outcome I suppose is if you were to actually surpass Ueshiba's level of internal skill. Darn. Then you could debate yourself into a coma about whether you should call it Aikido. It's up to you, but I don't intend to reject any pearls cast before me, regardless of their source.

For example, here's a 94 year old Bagua practitioner apparently discussing such things with family members:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZdtM5p6ZkA

Yes, he is going to be in UFC 75 "Geezer Throwdown", in the open weight class wheelchair division. Sorry, had to throw one out for the 12 year olds in the audience. In the last bit in particular he seems to be explaining how he receives force and uses the ground to return it. To the uneducated eye it may look like nonsense and they'll move on. But he is showing how he can take balance as soon as he is grabbed, and there is virtually no visible outward movement. That's not a necessary condition, but it makes the point. I can't do that, though I know of people who can. Unless you feel yourself what he's doing, you're not sure why anybody would lose his balance from grabbing him when you don't see him do anything. It's all the same general skill. Could Ueshiba take someone's balance as soon as they touched him? I think so, if you believe the stories. And why not, since there are people you can go see, like CXW, who can easily show you this in person. Are there 57 totally different ways to do this? Very doubtful, it's one general skillset, the level is just a matter of the degree of skill and body integration.

In general I hesitate to post videos of any sort, because like with words people will see what they want to see, and the most likely response will be either be "it's crap", or "I can do that, just not as well", which misses the point and whitewashes the difference in skill levels that exist, as if anyone with a golf club is Tiger Woods. If I were fortunate enough to witness such a demo it would show me immediately that he has knowledge I'm looking for, regardless of how good he is or was compared to others. If I could be introduced and ask him to show me some things, because I know that I'm looking to understand how certain things are achieved, even if he's a somewhat secretive guy I may end up learning things despite his secretiveness. Or he may see that I comprehend the value of what he's doing and show more. Meanwhile I'm looking for important details, comparing how he does things to other people, etc. You have to keep experiencing the spectrum of skills to start piecing together how the higher skill levels are achieved. If people don't care, or don't want to look around, or think they will get much just by doing more of what they already do it just won't happen. And importantly, the only reason people like Mike, Dan, Rob, and others care to even do this is that they *have* experienced people whose skills are way beyond what you think can be done. Since you can't rattle off a list of names at that level to recommend, it's clear you have not experienced a truly high level of it or there would be no hesitation. There's a reason why those on the "there's more to it than you think" side make such a fuss about it. If you experience what someone like a CXW can do, you would know what the fuss is about, and like many others, you would report back to the forum that there's a whole lot more to it than you ever imagined. And then all the other people who hadn't had that experience would be debating with you, saying that everything you say sounds just like what they already do or their teacher does, and you'd see there's no way to explain it to them. And you'd fall back on the same thing everyone else does: you have to go check it out.

Which brings me back to my first post in this thread, the inevitability of "you have to go look". If I had CXW's knowledge I could easily rattle of page after page of specific how-to's, but even though you started a how-to thread, I haven't seen those pages from you. I know, I know, you don't claim a high level and I certainly don't, but for one thing my musings on the little I know, right or wrong, I could explain in great detail. As the great physicist Richard Feynman said, if we can't explain something so that even a layman understands it, it means we don't know it. The other thing is that I can name names of at least some people who have real ability in case you want to verify if we're talking about the same things. One thing that becomes more and more obvious as you learn more about it is how complicated it is, and how difficult to get the details and get them right. Anyone who expresses the notion that this stuff is *more* common than thought immediately shows he hasn't seen anything all that great. Even if we say for argument's sake that a low level of things is more common in Aikido than thought, how does that meaningfully help one get to a high level? It doesn't. Only dealing with high level people has any chance of getting you to a high level. All I can say is that this is a much bigger puzzle than you're giving it credit for, though whether you believe that is of course up to you.

With that I'm going to leave well enough alone, I simply don't have time to keep up on daily discussions. Good luck in your training, and if all you want is already available to you, more power to you, you're a lucky man. Otherwise, you have to get out and meet people; all the discussion in the world is unfortunately pretty futile as a substitute.
I left the whole post in quotes.

Pete, thanks for that great post! I agree completely. You said what I can't convey in words. It's worth re-reading.

Thanks again,
Mark
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Old 04-12-2007, 08:58 PM   #120
Pete Rihaczek
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I left the whole post in quotes.

Pete, thanks for that great post! I agree completely. You said what I can't convey in words. It's worth re-reading.

Thanks again,
Mark
Hi Mark,

Thanks, I appreciate the compliment.

I think the existence of things like kokyo-tanden-ho in Aikido is a rather powerful indicator that you are supposed to be able to do exactly what the old Bagua guy is showing: taking the other person's balance without "blending" with some large movement like you're bullfighting, without grabbing and twisting anything on the other guy to control him, without any perceptible effort or movement. End of story. If you can't do that in every technique, if you can't immediately make anyone grabbing a hold of you lose their balance without outwardly seeming to do much of anything, consider the possibility that you don't really understand Aikido no matter what your rank is.

I strongly suspect that bearing witness to much aiki-bullfighting and joint twisting was what prompted Ueshiba to say, "that's not my Aikido." But, people are welcome to believe what they like, and good luck to all.

Pete
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Old 04-13-2007, 02:05 AM   #121
Aran Bright
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Gernot Hassenpflug wrote: View Post
Hi Pete, very interesting post, thanks for putting things so plainly. "Hydraulic equipment" eh? Nice one! For my own, small, part, I had a look at at a career path review I had done some 10 years ago, and it said "in his late 30s, he ... start to see the intereconnectedness of all things". I guess that helps :-) I fully agree. I'd like to add one perspective: I feel that this training is absolute in nature, rather than relative about beating one person and losing against another. Of course, it's still relative to your own body, but the limitations of that are constantly pushed back. So, as Dan has said so often, the training is one thing, fighting is another. Or: Application is another. Since these ways of moving/coordinating are the root of all body motions from then onwards, they apply to everything.

For me, when telling people about this kind of stuff, I tell them to do only one thing: open out from the back, all the time, to the little toes and little fingers, so that they are standing on their heels really, and working the spinal muscles. It's a first step, and pretty hard to do when in practice the feet and hands have to be facing more to the front than out to the sides of the body, but I think that that the mind set change that results and solidifies once a certain amount of conviction is achieved, is most important, so that people can look and see at what another is doing and start to guess what is going on. I hope that more people in my immediate aikido circle will then be interested enough to seek out Akuzawa and others like him.

Of course, the tons of work, and instruction in steps 2 to N in terms of mechanisms, are needed to produce CXWs of this world, but the more people get started, the easier it will be in future to find willing teachers, and willing peers to train with. It's no fun to train in a dojo where nobody does this stuff but they call it aikido and go through all the moves. I've been having fun by teaching as many of the young ladies how to do this, since they seem to be more open to it (only if they ask, mind you) whereas I've only had maybe 1/10th as many guys asking for any details. Most simply don't ask, just work with me for the few minutes, and hurriedly move on. For a while I suspected body odour.
Hey Gernot,

What do you mean by opening out along the spine? Do you mean lengthening along the spine?

Aran

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Old 04-13-2007, 04:13 AM   #122
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Aran Bright wrote: View Post
What do you mean by opening out along the spine? Do you mean lengthening along the spine?
Hey hey Aran, I mean the muscles directly next to and over the spine are used to twist outwards from the spine (I'm sitting here wondering how to write it!). Yes, to have an effect, the spine is stretched up and down. (PMed you) Gernot
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Old 04-13-2007, 04:13 AM   #123
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
Ellis Amdur has posted video of Ueshiba doing fajin.
Where can one view this video?

cheers

Jo
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Old 04-13-2007, 08:26 AM   #124
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

It's a long post and I was gonna reply yesterday but have only just now found the time. But seeing as you went to the trouble of writing it I'll take the time to reply.

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Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
Yes, I think you're being very optimistic. If it were prevalent in Aikido these discussions wouldn't exist.
You said that before in your first response to me Trouble with me is I like to be a glass half full kinda guy.

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Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
There may be slightly different approaches to getting higher levels of this skill, but I think it's pretty obviously one skill that Asian arts hold in highest regard as being the physical manifestation of Ki. I don't see any reasonable way to interpret the stories of Ueshiba's seemingly effortless power as a different skill. Ellis Amdur has posted video of Ueshiba doing fajin. More than one video isn't really necessary, is it?
I think it's obviously one skill too, when I see Chen Xiao Wang and others doing stuff I see the same stuff as I see when Tohei or Ueshiba does it. Same stuff but in different settings. As I've said before, pour this skill into a Daito Ryu cup get Daito Ryu, into Aikido get Aikido. But once you know what you're looking for you can see it quite easily, so no, more videos aren't necessary.

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
He could do it, or not. Secrecy is the norm, and when it comes to large organizations like Aikikai or Kodokan dedicated to worldwide spread of an art, the idea of sharing this sort of stuff and openly teaching it has an enormous host of problems, not least of which is that many people high in an organization don't necessarily know anything about it, even if they did it's difficult and might slow the adoption of an art (how many people with jobs and families, particularly in the West, will work on standing practice and other seemingly pointless exercises in lieu of something that seems more immediate?), etc. All these issues have been touched on before.
Agreed. I think Tohei made the attempt to keep the internal skills as a part of the main stream but he left and pretty much took the tools he was using with him.

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Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
Again I recall my Okinawan karate days, doing Sanchin while being pushed from various angles, being hit with bamboo, and I thought it was silly. How was I supposed to keep from being pushed? What was the point of being hit? My teachers didn't know, but they were copying the procedure. Had I stayed with it and earned a high rank, how would I react to the idea that I didn't really understand anything about the nature of Sanchin kata? I would hope I would react with an open mind, but the more people have invested in an art the more resistant they are to such an idea. Objectively, it would be the height of arrogance for me to proclaim that there could be anything to Sanchin that I didn't know about, just because I had invested many years in practice. Meanwhile the reality is if I performed Sanchin for some gnarled old Okinawan geezer who happened to know some of the real deal, he could see in two seconds that I have absolutely nothing of the real art, whether I can fight or not. What if he were honest and told me I have nothing? How you handle that prospect I think is a real test of martial character and ego.
Well I agree with that completely. Now try to look at it from this perspective. You do actually know something of the real art (the extent of which we'll leave aside for now but we'll assume you're not as good at it as the Okinawan) and the gnarled old Okinawan teacher is displeased by the others in your dojo who quite clearly haven't got a clue what he is really doing, and aren't paying attention to what you are really doing. The gnarled old Okinawan teacher can be a little bit condescending and has a tendancy to be quite grouchy. He proceeds to tell the other members of the dojo in no uncertain terms that they just don't get it, that they aren't practicing real Sanchin, eventually his irritation approaches the line where it's not totally indistinguishable from haughtiness and verbal abuse of the other students. He isn't telling you personally off, but these other guys are your friends and you've learned a lot from them, even if they aren't doing Sanchin in the same way you are. You've sweated together, bled together and trained together for years. The Okinawan teacher stops being someone you want to listen to and you find yourself wanting to defend your friends, even if it means that you might not get the opportunity to learn to do Sanchin the way he does it.

Amongst other things, Koichi Tohei said:

"Even a one-inch worm has a half-inch spirit. Every man respects his own ego. Do not, therefore, slight anyone, nor hurt his self-respect. Treat a man with respect, and he will respect you. Make light of him, and he will make light of you. Respect his personality and listen to his views, and he will gladly follow you"

One of my favourite quotes from Tohei, I think.

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Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
The reason that Chinese internal artists are being discussed is simply because the people doing the discussing have actually met them and know that they have real skills. I don't know who in Aikido does. Again it's probably easier to pinpoint in various Chinese lineages because they are small and the knowledge is passed from family member to family member for generations and to select favored students, but as soon as you get a large organization together you get the same scenario. As a percentage, the number of people who are highly skilled in this area vs. the number who do taiji worldwide is tiny, just like in Aikido. It takes more of a Western mentality to try to codify this stuff, analyze it, strip it of decorative ki-based explanations and try to figure out how it's really done so that people with a life can get a handle on it. The only Asian guy I know of who tries to do that at all is Akuzawa. I'm sure there are others, but openly teaching this stuff is not the norm by far. You say this stuff is more widely known in Aikido, but when I asked you to name names of people you would recommend as examples of having a high level of the real goods, you couldn't vouch for anybody. That's a contradiction. How do you expect to advance in this area if you don't know who to see to get more how-to information?
The reason I stopped short of actually recommending anyone was because I simply didn't think it would be appropriate to throw out names of people I haven't personally trained with, or if I jhave trained with them I was never their uke so wouldn't have 'felt' what they were doing. The only one I could personally vouch for would be my own teacher. I've only seen his level of ability in one other guy and that was when I was dragged along by a friend to some CMA workshop in London. I wasn't particularly interested in going because, well I just wasn't. When I got there the rather diminutive old Chinese guy asked me to push on his chest, I felt what he was like, just as others around here have felt what Mike is like or Dan is like etc. Big deal I said to myself, my aikido teacher can do that. Turns out I was wrong at it was actually a big deal after all. I was rather naive at the time. I don't even remember the guys name sadly, it was about 6 or 7 years ago. Apparently he was some rather well respect Chinese master who had come over from Hong Kong if I'm not mistaken, though I may very well be.

Also, I'm not sure about getting rid of the "decorative ki-based explanations", once you've got a grip on the basics they can actually be hugely informative. I would agree that they're not necessarily too great for total beginners though. 'ok now just extend ki. Wadddaya mean how? You just do ok....'

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
Does it really matter that one guy who knows this stuff may be in Aikido, another from Xingyi, etc?
Not in the slightest bit. I've never thought it should anyway.

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
What if we take the position that Ueshiba didn't know as much as Chen Xiao Wang does. If it were possible for them to have met, would Ueshiba have rejected the knowledge on how to manifest ki even more? Pretty unlikely, IMO. Ueshiba clearly traveled far and wide to learn what he did, and obviously Takeda was a rather big influence. If a Daito-Ryu master were to offer to show you shortcuts to get closer to Ueshiba's ostensible level, would you reject it on the basis of it not being Aikido (as if you're in a position to judge)?
Hell no I wouldn't reject it.

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
The whole argument is silly from every angle. The worst outcome I suppose is if you were to actually surpass Ueshiba's level of internal skill. Darn. Then you could debate yourself into a coma about whether you should call it Aikido. It's up to you, but I don't intend to reject any pearls cast before me, regardless of their source.
What if they didn't look like pearls at first and required closer inspection, for all you know someone could've thrown dog mess in your direction. Would you sit there picking through it just to be sure? I wouldn't if it was flung at me in a contemptuous fashion, might do if it was placed kindly and sincerely before me.

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
For example, here's a 94 year old Bagua practitioner apparently discussing such things with family members:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZdtM5p6ZkA

Yes, he is going to be in UFC 75 "Geezer Throwdown", in the open weight class wheelchair division. Sorry, had to throw one out for the 12 year olds in the audience. In the last bit in particular he seems to be explaining how he receives force and uses the ground to return it. To the uneducated eye it may look like nonsense and they'll move on. But he is showing how he can take balance as soon as he is grabbed, and there is virtually no visible outward movement. That's not a necessary condition, but it makes the point. I can't do that, though I know of people who can. Unless you feel yourself what he's doing, you're not sure why anybody would lose his balance from grabbing him when you don't see him do anything. It's all the same general skill. Could Ueshiba take someone's balance as soon as they touched him? I think so, if you believe the stories. And why not, since there are people you can go see, like CXW, who can easily show you this in person. Are there 57 totally different ways to do this? Very doubtful, it's one general skillset, the level is just a matter of the degree of skill and body integration.
I agree with all the above. Not sure about the UFC geezer throwdown though. Maybe that's just cos I find it a bit funny when Americans use the word geezer or bloke Can't help it I'm a Londoner.

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
In general I hesitate to post videos of any sort, because like with words people will see what they want to see, and the most likely response will be either be "it's crap", or "I can do that, just not as well", which misses the point and whitewashes the difference in skill levels that exist, as if anyone with a golf club is Tiger Woods.
I agree, but the "I can do that, just not as well" isn't exactly a total whitewash is it? What if you actually can do that but not as well? What are you supposed to say then? Especially as you can't say to the guy in the video 'thank you very much could you show me more?'
In either case it's just not possible to address in a media like discussion forums. We're all just basically hypothesizing here.

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Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
If I were fortunate enough to witness such a demo it would show me immediately that he has knowledge I'm looking for, regardless of how good he is or was compared to others. If I could be introduced and ask him to show me some things, because I know that I'm looking to understand how certain things are achieved, even if he's a somewhat secretive guy I may end up learning things despite his secretiveness. Or he may see that I comprehend the value of what he's doing and show more. Meanwhile I'm looking for important details, comparing how he does things to other people, etc. You have to keep experiencing the spectrum of skills to start piecing together how the higher skill levels are achieved.
I agree.

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
If people don't care, or don't want to look around, or think they will get much just by doing more of what they already do it just won't happen. And importantly, the only reason people like Mike, Dan, Rob, and others care to even do this is that they *have* experienced people whose skills are way beyond what you think can be done. Since you can't rattle off a list of names at that level to recommend, it's clear you have not experienced a truly high level of it or there would be no hesitation.
That's a straw-man argument. I've already mentioned why I didn't recommend people in this post. Not wishing to publish a list of name-drops does not mean in any way I haven't experienced a truly high level of it. In fact it is so completely illogical to say that that I'm surprised you mentioned it at all. Everything else you've said thus far seems to make a great deal of sense to me until this point.

Also your logic of saying that the reason Dan, Mike, Rob and others teach and talk about this stuff is that they *have* experienced it is totally at odds with your point about how these things being commonly kept secret by those in the know. Ok, well not totally at odds because you're probably referring to asian guys keeping it secret and they're (Dan, Mike etc) not asian. But what of the (non oriental) people who are not Dan, Mike, Rob etc.. who do have this skill and simply have never had any desire to promote themselves because they are quite content to just keep doing what they do with their fairly small group of students? Because they don't particularly wish to meddle in the politics of it all? When would you ever hear about them?

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
There's a reason why those on the "there's more to it than you think" side make such a fuss about it. If you experience what someone like a CXW can do, you would know what the fuss is about, and like many others, you would report back to the forum that there's a whole lot more to it than you ever imagined. And then all the other people who hadn't had that experience would be debating with you, saying that everything you say sounds just like what they already do or their teacher does, and you'd see there's no way to explain it to them. And you'd fall back on the same thing everyone else does: you have to go check it out.
So, you mean that if I experienced someone like CXW and decided to start telling people about it, they would do all those things. Hmmm, so when I stated that in the vid Ellis posted about CXW receiving kotegaeshi that my teacher does that very same thing I was responding in the manner you just predicted. Ok I can see why you would think that, but it seems like I can only be considered to have seen and felt 'the real stuff' if I go to train with someone who is not my aikido teacher. I then have to come back here and rave about how great this guy who isn't my instructor is before people will believe I've felt 'the real stuff'.

Sorry don't like your logic, it's horribly circular and serves only to reinforce your original assumption of 'This stuff isn't in aikido, therefore someone who claims to have felt it in aikido is wrong'

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
Which brings me back to my first post in this thread, the inevitability of "you have to go look". If I had CXW's knowledge I could easily rattle of page after page of specific how-to's, but even though you started a how-to thread, I haven't seen those pages from you. I know, I know, you don't claim a high level and I certainly don't, but for one thing my musings on the little I know, right or wrong, I could explain in great detail. As the great physicist Richard Feynman said, if we can't explain something so that even a layman understands it, it means we don't know it.
Well, you're quite right, I don't claim a high level of skill, just like you don't. I believe I've mentioned why I titled the thread as I did before now. But I'll repeat it again for you and anyone else. It's called the how-to thread not because I personally intend to use it to hand down internal skill wisdom carved in stone at the beginning of time. But because it directs the conversation in a useful manner, we're not debating here whether Ueshiba had these skills, we're not debating if they are important in aikido we've assumed that both these are true, we're not debating the difference between Daito Ryu aiki and Aikido aiki, and we're not debating whther these skills will help you in the UFC. I think that thus far we've probably succeeded in keeping things fairly well on topic with minimal personal attacks and insults. I never said i was going to rattle of lists of great masters I've trained with, detailed descriptions of the skills. The idea was to encourage sensible discussion. For others to contribute if they felt it appropriate to. You said you can describe what you know in great detail. Well, go on then. Why not do so? Apparently I've tried and failed. Perhaps you should try too I know I'd read it with interest, I genuinely would.

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
The other thing is that I can name names of at least some people who have real ability in case you want to verify if we're talking about the same things. One thing that becomes more and more obvious as you learn more about it is how complicated it is, and how difficult to get the details and get them right. Anyone who expresses the notion that this stuff is *more* common than thought immediately shows he hasn't seen anything all that great.
Again I think that's a straw-man argument. Even if it isn't it just boils down to me being a bit optimistic and you not being so optimistic, and has nothing whatsoever to do with my experience of training with people who have these skills. Your logic in suggesting that this is so is patently false and says to me that you're working from the assumpiton I already mentioned 'this stuff is not in aikido, therefore anyone who says it is is wrong' rather than trying to get at the truth of the matter.

Assume if you will for a moment that my own teacher is as good at this stuff as CXW. It's just an assumption nto a claim I am making and I want to make that VERY clear because people will say later that I said he was when they choose to attack me and tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. It's an ASSUMPTION. So working from that assumption, I see vids of CXW and go, cool looks like the stuff we do. People then start raving about it (rightly so by the way because it is incredible stuff) and while they are raving away I say yeah, we do that stuff too. Not cos I think we do, but because we actually do (remember this is an assumption we're working from), people immediately dismiss me as knowing nothing because if I really knew something I would surely agree with them that it is amazing stuff (never mind the fact that I actually do agree with them, but they ignore that in favour of dismissing me) and that, wait for it... I can't possibly be right because I do it in aikido, and aikido doesn't do this stuff. Therefore I must be wrong.

I say it is more common than people give it credit, because from where I'm sitting it seems to be that is the case. All my sempai do it. My teacher does it. I do it. Others I've met also do it and all to a varying level of skill, we do it to a varying level of skill because it's really quite complicated stuff and it's very subtle and very difficult to get the details right, y'know, basically what you said.

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
Even if we say for argument's sake that a low level of things is more common in Aikido than thought, how does that meaningfully help one get to a high level? It doesn't.
Nope it doesn't. But does that mean it's not worth saying occasionally and challenging peoples assumptions about what is and isn't 'in aikido'? Y'know, a bit like the way others have been doing, except argued from the point of view of an optimist rather than a pessimist who quickly dismisses aikido as being devoid of these things. I know which one I'd rather be

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
Only dealing with high level people has any chance of getting you to a high level. All I can say is that this is a much bigger puzzle than you're giving it credit for, though whether you believe that is of course up to you.
Actually I think you've made some assumptions about what I think, perhaps an assumption along the lines of 'this stuff isn't in aikido, therefore anyone who says it is is wrong'. I personally think it is a huge puzzle, it certainly puzzles me a great deal.

Quote:
Pete Rihaczek wrote: View Post
With that I'm going to leave well enough alone, I simply don't have time to keep up on daily discussions. Good luck in your training, and if all you want is already available to you, more power to you, you're a lucky man. Otherwise, you have to get out and meet people; all the discussion in the world is unfortunately pretty futile as a substitute.
Amen to that.

Regards

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 04-13-2007, 09:59 AM   #125
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: The internal 'how to' thread... let's hope

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Jo Duncan wrote: View Post
Where can one view this video?

cheers

Jo
I think this might be the vid he was referring to:

http://www.neijia.com/UeshibaKokyu.wmv

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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