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Old 04-13-2007, 08:43 AM   #101
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Aiki

Dieter Haffner wrote: View Post
Thing is, I have seen this done by Shimamoto shihan. He would go straight in when uke wanted to engage the attack. He explained that it was a higher level of aiki, an aiki of the mind. This harmony would let you sense (I dont know a better word to explain) at what moment uke would attack.
There are two steps beyond just reacting to the attacker (which is too late if he's any good).

1) you move towards him and force him to attack. There is an instant at which he must either commit or back up. Since you control when this instant is, there effectively is no reaction time and you are ahead of him no matter what he does.

2) you relax your mind and body to the point at which you can start to "feel" make the mental shift as he forms the intention to attack. The best way I have found to work on this is with sword. Stand across from your partner in mai gedan no kamae (low to the front). Have the partner initially start in seigan. Cut him the instant your mind tells you to go. Don't second guess yourself about whether it's "right" or "wrong". Often you may sense the indecision on the part of the attacker and think you didn't go at the right time. Once you are consistently cutting him as he reaches the top of his raise, no matter how fast he does so, you are ready for the next level in which he stands in Jodan no Kamae (high overhead). Then see if you can cut his wrist just as he starts to try to cut you. Shinai is best for this as you won't slow yourself down by not actually trying to strike.

George S. Ledyard
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Bellevue, WA
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Old 04-13-2007, 08:59 AM   #102
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Aiki

Dieter Haffner wrote: View Post
... I have seen this done by Shimamoto shihan. He would go straight in when uke wanted to engage the attack. He explained that it was a higher level of aiki, an aiki of the mind. This harmony would let you sense (I dont know a better word to explain) at what moment uke would attack.
Now, that I all agree with. As I have continued in practice I have found my innate knowing (without having to consciously "figger" it out), when a person is about to act has increased steadily. And in those who are more experienced than I am, I can see are even better still.
Dieter Haffner wrote: View Post
I have no idea at what Rupert is paying attention when he does this exercise. I try to watch out for that moment myself, where you can still just enter. But I dont know what I really have to look for or feel for, and I think I might never know, because it is probably something only a few might ever understand.
Fond as I am of analysis, this part I think is the antithesis of the analytic approach. If you focus on any particular aspect -- you lose the perspective of the whole. The most immediate way to sense disharmony arising is to see the whole in its entirety, and then the thing that suddenly does NOT fit reveals itself without any real effort at further perception on our part.

The best parallel I can suggest is in training the ear in music. After a while you can innately find the lines of musical harmony that follow from the first chord you hear. But only because you quit trying to pay attention to or to "make" one particular harmony from what is there. You start listening to the harmony as a whole and a compatible line reveals itself to you. After many, many halting efforts resulting in cacophony later, you find you have developed an ear for harmony in almost any piece.

I think this is very much like that. But it is not anything with specific cues or signposts you could or should "anticipate" or "look for" in a conscious sense. That is not to say that they are not there, but they are so varied, and individual and so un-reproducible. You must rely more on the fact that something has broken the previous harmony, without troubling to be too concerned about what, exactly, it is that made that cue apparent to you. It is highly unlikely to be the same thing the next time, in any event.

After all, in Aikido, like in singing, the ultimate point is not to stop, identify and dissect the nature of that dissonance, when it occurs, but to immediately restore the harmony of the whole piece after that unfortunate slip occurs.

It is, as I see it, simply an extension of the principles of maai to encompass intent (which is shown in posture and other nonverbal cues of mood) as well as time and distance. The sense of how close you can stand before he can hit you without shifting his feet only really develops from begin swung at many, many times. This is but a step further along that road, as I see it.
Dieter Haffner wrote: View Post
When I practise, I will mostly anticipate on the second event [pulling the trigger]. When uke prepares himself for the attack with those subtle changes in body posture or breadth (which a lot of people do).
But this is certainly far away from being able to anticipate that first event [ thinking of firing the gun]. And unfortunately I have no idea how to do that or even train towards that goal.

Maybe it just takes a lot of good practise, but I doubt it would be that simple.
I think it is just that. Very simple -- but that does not mean it is easy. Of course, having good singers in your chorus helps immensely.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 04-13-2007 at 09:07 AM.


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Old 04-16-2007, 04:37 AM   #103
Dieter Haffner
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

George and Erick, I had to let your words sink in for a few days.
But I still cant make a structured reply out of my thoughts.
So I just wanted to thank you both for your replies, and maybe I will be able to write something back in the future.
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Old 04-19-2007, 11:08 AM   #104
Martin Ruedas
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Re: Aikido: The Way of Avoidance

In what I have learned, Aikido is really not about avoidance. It's really abour accepting, entering, being there on what really happens right now.
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