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Old 05-23-2007, 01:02 AM   #76
tarik
 
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
Nafis Zahir wrote: View Post
I agree with this statement, however, what is the solution? If you are a yudansha, and give a more realistic and "non-cooperative" attack to another yudansha, they get upset and think that you are jerking them around. So then they decide to not cooperate when they are uke, and now you have a power (or should I say muscle) struggle.
Yes, but if you monitor your training and are explicit in the training intent with one another, it can be avoided (or reduced).

Quote:
Nafis Zahir wrote: View Post
How can we train and learn the "secret" under these conditions? There may be one or two people in your dojo that you can seriously train with, but you can't always partner up with them. I say this because, whatever the secret is, I'm sure that it is something we just can't know, but something we must be able to "feel" as well.
Simple (but not easy). You stop training with people who won't train the way you've found to be productive.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 05-23-2007, 04:10 AM   #77
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
Tarik Ghbeish wrote: View Post
Yes, but if you monitor your training and are explicit in the training intent with one another, it can be avoided (or reduced).

Simple (but not easy). You stop training with people who won't train the way you've found to be productive.

Regards,
Easier said then done. We don't always get to choose who we can and cannot workout with. We often change partners, so it's hard to avoid certain people.

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Old 05-23-2007, 09:15 AM   #78
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Another option is to do what works for the relationship no matter who you train with. So if I can do the strong, powerfull, resistant training with X, then soft, fluid, responsive training with Y, then coach a beginner Z, I can have the best of all worlds, no matter the training partner.

I think it's called "flexibility"...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 05-23-2007, 09:44 AM   #79
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
I think it's called "flexibility"...
Or "aiki?"
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:02 AM   #80
Franco
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Dan Harden:

Why don't you organize a weekend-long seminar to teach people your methodology for solo training? You've said before that you prefer small groups, but you must have several guys who train with you and also have the knowledge of internal skill. You bring your guys with you to the seminar, and there should be a good student-to-teacher ratio.
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:11 AM   #81
Jim Sorrentino
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Hello Franco,
Quote:
Franco Cuminato wrote: View Post
Dan Harden:

Why don't you organize a weekend-long seminar to teach people your methodology for solo training? You've said before that you prefer small groups, but you must have several guys who train with you and also have the knowledge of internal skill. You bring your guys with you to the seminar, and there should be a good student-to-teacher ratio.
I and others have asked this in the past, and Dan has answered. Please see http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10287.

My invitation is still open, by the way.

Sincerely,

Jim Sorrentino
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:46 AM   #82
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
Dan Austin wrote: View Post
Can you describe the nature of this solo training, and where one can find information on it?
Ellis Admur Sensei gave some great solo exercises at the last Aiki Web seminar.

I would say that it is hard to get these with direct instruction, indirect description may be impossible to do them justice. Look at a lot of the Chi Gung text and trainings.

Go to them. Find people doing this aspect. Train.

I don't think these are "secrets" so much as things that we haven't thought about before.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 05-23-2007, 04:23 PM   #83
DH
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
Franco Cuminato wrote: View Post
Dan Harden:

Why don't you organize a weekend-long seminar to teach people your methodology for solo training? You've said before that you prefer small groups, but you must have several guys who train with you and also have the knowledge of internal skill. You bring your guys with you to the seminar, and there should be a good student-to-teacher ratio.
Franco
I have had an entire series of training new people; Aikido, Daito ryu, Judo, Karate and MMA going on for a while now. Many from right here on Aikiweb others from E-Budo. I just don't talk about it openly.
Why?
I think most people are disengenous and full of it. They come feel me and my students, waste my time, go "Oooh and aah." And when they come back I can tell they don't do the real work-that being the at home, solo training, needed to make progress. So why waste MY time? I get nothing out of it. and neither do they and my people wind up wasting they're own training time for more half assed martial artists.

I now have a small group of about twelve from a myriad of arts I have been training with who are willing to follow up. We are having fun. Its a waste of time to teach this in open seminars. In fact If I were to do it I think it would be counter productive. Since I don't charge and do it as a volunteer service to help martial artists I do what I want, when I want. I am very selective about who I want to be in relationship with.

My own people help out at these seminars. And yes some of them are quite capable; including a 28 yr old who I think most well trained men would not have a clue what to do with. He can do, he can teach and he is a sweet guy. You can read some of the feedback of what men and women have thought of both me, and my folks in the Non aikido related section of the site. We have great fun and laugh continually.
You have written before. If your interested P.M me and I'll give you my numbers. We can figure out something.

Dan

Last edited by DH : 05-23-2007 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 05-23-2007, 04:59 PM   #84
Adam Alexander
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
Nafis Zahir wrote: View Post
Interview with Henry Kono:

Showing me another quote from Bob Nadeau's article in Aikido Today Magazine, which says: "Once O-Sensei told me one day clearly and emphatically that the truth of aikido could be caught in a very short moment of time. If you catch the secret," he said. "You can do what I do in three months."

Anyone have ANY idea what the secret is or could be?
Yes. I know it.

The secret is more of a capstone of many secrets. You can't grasp the last without grasping those that precede. And it's all so beautiful. When you find it, you'll just giggle at all the genius.

There's a huge downside to knowing. Who do you look toward for guidance now? When all your peers and so many of your seniors lack your understanding, what do you do?

Maybe this is Aikido making you a better person? Forcing you to sever your dependance on others?

When he says three months, don't forget that's training long and hard. If you figure out the mystery, two hours of training a week is not going to make you the next Ueshiba.
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Old 05-23-2007, 05:37 PM   #85
DH
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
Nafis Zahir wrote: View Post
I agree with this statement, however, what is the solution? If you are a yudansha, and give a more realistic and "non-cooperative" attack to another yudansha, they get upset and think that you are jerking them around. So then they decide to not cooperate when they are uke, and now you have a power (or should I say muscle) struggle.

How can we train and learn the "secret" under these conditions? There may be one or two people in your dojo that you can seriously train with, but you can't always partner up with them. I say this because, whatever the secret is, I'm sure that it is something we just can't know, but something we must be able to "feel" as well.
Nafis
Why try to learn under those conditions? Find a creative way to create your own "conditions." And before you begin find someone who is able and more importantly -willing- to teach you anything that will build pwoer in you.

First of all the real work does not requite anyone else but you in a room.
OK, so that takes care of most of the Martial art "personality" problems.

Second, after solo training for 6 months to a year. Go find anyone in your given art and train with them. If they don't stop, look you right in the eye, and say "Who are you? and "What do you do?" They go back to Step one
Because you're not doing it right.

I think the many folks have been training for so long in a technique or principle based fashion. Concentrating on "responding." Trying weekly to put real pieces together here and there, trying to find real things that are reproducable and stumbling into some "moments" but really don't have definitive, step-by-step, "how to put it together" building blocks to true power. Even their teachers don't really have much to offer in clear terms. Many people have magic nights where they are doing things more right than others but can't really tell you just what they were doing to make it magic. And how much of the magic was really just disguised cooperation and not real aiki.
What makes aiki? Where is it in you? What caused it?
Once you find someone who can do some things and show you defintive steps that are not technique or principle based, you are on your way. Techniques start to take care of themselves.
As far as folks attacking you and ending up in a muscle power struggle? Well in time that won't matter much. Their best efforts won't really matter much to you anymore. And that won't take you more than a few years. The real key is in walking away for while and rewiring and reworking. Sometimes the martial arts are their own worst enemy. Preconditioned, prearranged responses make unwitting dupes- who all the while think they are learning to fight.
Doubt it? In a few years of training you should be almost impossible to be thrown by any traditional arts methods- all while you are hitting, moving and throwing. And your strikes should be devestating.
How are you stacking up to that?
Maybe you need to change some things

Last edited by DH : 05-23-2007 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 05-23-2007, 11:21 PM   #86
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Nafis
Why try to learn under those conditions? Find a creative way to create your own "conditions." And before you begin find someone who is able and more importantly -willing- to teach you anything that will build pwoer in you.

First of all the real work does not requite anyone else but you in a room.
OK, so that takes care of most of the Martial art "personality" problems.

Second, after solo training for 6 months to a year. Go find anyone in your given art and train with them. If they don't stop, look you right in the eye, and say "Who are you? and "What do you do?" They go back to Step one
Because you're not doing it right.

I think the many folks have been training for so long in a technique or principle based fashion. Concentrating on "responding." Trying weekly to put real pieces together here and there, trying to find real things that are reproducable and stumbling into some "moments" but really don't have definitive, step-by-step, "how to put it together" building blocks to true power. Even their teachers don't really have much to offer in clear terms. Many people have magic nights where they are doing things more right than others but can't really tell you just what they were doing to make it magic. And how much of the magic was really just disguised cooperation and not real aiki.
What makes aiki? Where is it in you? What caused it?
Once you find someone who can do some things and show you defintive steps that are not technique or principle based, you are on your way. Techniques start to take care of themselves.
As far as folks attacking you and ending up in a muscle power struggle? Well in time that won't matter much. Their best efforts won't really matter much to you anymore. And that won't take you more than a few years. The real key is in walking away for while and rewiring and reworking. Sometimes the martial arts are their own worst enemy. Preconditioned, prearranged responses make unwitting dupes- who all the while think they are learning to fight.
Doubt it? In a few years of training you should be almost impossible to be thrown by any traditional arts methods- all while you are hitting, moving and throwing. And your strikes should be devestating.
How are you stacking up to that?
Maybe you need to change some things
I agree with most of what you are saying, and I have found an instructor who is teaching me all of those things. But where can I see or read about the solo training methods you are talking about? Do you think the secret lies within this type of training? Thanks.

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Old 05-24-2007, 04:42 AM   #87
DH
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
Nafis Zahir wrote: View Post
I agree with most of what you are saying, and I have found an instructor who is teaching me all of those things. But where can I see or read about the solo training methods you are talking about? Do you think the secret lies within this type of training? Thanks.
I don't expect many -if not most-to agree. Its simply not the way they train. The fact that the discussions of the real core of Aiki-do has been relagated to the "Non aikido Martial tradition" forums speaks volumes about the state of aikido and the understanding of the founders real work by those in the art. In that light, I would say the truths of the Aikido of Ueshiba Morihei can be more easily be found in the Non-Aikido section of the Aikido web site

I find it incredulous that your instructor can teach you "all of those things" I oultined- without solo training. It is not in technique.

Do I think the secret lies "within" Solo training?
My signature line states it implicitly

Last edited by DH : 05-24-2007 at 04:48 AM.
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Old 05-24-2007, 08:45 AM   #88
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I don't expect many -if not most-to agree. Its simply not the way they train. The fact that the discussions of the real core of Aiki-do has been relagated to the "Non aikido Martial tradition" forums speaks volumes about the state of aikido and the understanding of the founders real work by those in the art. In that light, I would say the truths of the Aikido of Ueshiba Morihei can be more easily be found in the Non-Aikido section of the Aikido web site

I find it incredulous that your instructor can teach you "all of those things" I oultined- without solo training. It is not in technique.

Do I think the secret lies "within" Solo training?
My signature line states it implicitly
So where can I learn about Solo training?

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Old 05-24-2007, 09:25 AM   #89
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote: View Post
Yes. I know it.

The secret is more of a capstone of many secrets. You can't grasp the last without grasping those that precede. And it's all so beautiful. When you find it, you'll just giggle at all the genius.

There's a huge downside to knowing. Who do you look toward for guidance now? When all your peers and so many of your seniors lack your understanding, what do you do?

Maybe this is Aikido making you a better person? Forcing you to sever your dependance on others?

When he says three months, don't forget that's training long and hard. If you figure out the mystery, two hours of training a week is not going to make you the next Ueshiba.
My response to the question what is the secret? does anyone know it? How do you capture it in a moment?

Laughter. Observe yourself while you are in deep humor and be in deep humor often. Not only does the genius make you giggle. But the giggle makes you genius. Draw out the moment and train to maintain.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:00 AM   #90
Alfonso
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

The spirit of aikido, the point of aikido, the heart of aikido, the essence of aikido. the special thing about aikido.. I don't think those are secret at all.

I don't see the need to get all defensive about perspective obtained "outside Aikido" about an "aspect of Aikido" which is pretty certainly not widely discussed and certainly was not abandoned by the founder over his entire life of teaching Aikido even as he did discard other things which he considered detrimental to his vision.

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:26 AM   #91
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
Alfonso Adriasola wrote: View Post
The spirit of aikido, the point of aikido, the heart of aikido, the essence of aikido. the special thing about aikido.. I don't think those are secret at all.

I don't see the need to get all defensive about perspective obtained "outside Aikido" about an "aspect of Aikido" which is pretty certainly not widely discussed and certainly was not abandoned by the founder over his entire life of teaching Aikido even as he did discard other things which he considered detrimental to his vision.
I'm sorry but I don't understand your point in the second paragraph. Could you possibly say it again in another way? What do you mean by the aspect that the founder didn't abandon? Thanks

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 05-24-2007, 10:32 AM   #92
Jim Sorrentino
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Hello Dan,
Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I think most people are disengenous and full of it. They come feel me and my students, waste my time, go "Oooh and aah." And when they come back I can tell they don't do the real work-that being the at home, solo training, needed to make progress. So why waste MY time? I get nothing out of it. and neither do they and my people wind up wasting they're own training time for more half assed martial artists.
Why did they not "do the real work"? (Mere laziness does not seem to me to be a satisfactory answer.) Instead of blaming the students for failing to learn, perhaps you should look at how you taught them, and how they learned "the real work". It seems to me that this would be a better use of your time than cultivating and expressing your apparent contempt for aikido and those who diligently attempt to learn it.

Again, while I agree with Sagawa-sensei that "aiki requires an enormous amount of solo training," in the various articles and interviews on Aikido Journal, Sagawa-sensei seems to suggest strongly that it is a necessary part of the training process, if one would acquire aiki skill, to feel aiki by repeatedly attacking someone who 'has it'.

What's your opinion?

Sincerely,

Jim Sorrentino
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Old 05-24-2007, 12:35 PM   #93
dbotari
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
You have written before. If your interested P.M me and I'll give you my numbers. We can figure out something.

Dan
Dan,

I know this was directed at Franco, but I would like to get out and see you before the end of summer. Can you provide contact info (via PM) to me so that when the time is right I can contact you to make arrangements?

Thanks,

Dan Botari
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Old 05-24-2007, 01:41 PM   #94
DH
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
Dan Botari wrote: View Post
Dan,

I know this was directed at Franco, but I would like to get out and see you before the end of summer. Can you provide contact info (via PM) to me so that when the time is right I can contact you to make arrangements?

Thanks,

Dan Botari
Hi Dan
Some how you and Franco had fallen though the cracks when the initial meetings were arranged. I'm off to Niagra falls for the weekend. Franco wrote me, lets talk when I get back Tues. Maybe we can do a weekend thing for another newer group.

Nafis
Solo training cannot be taught via the internet..scratch that.. "I" can't help anyone that way. Maybe others can. It's tough finding those who can do,,,and show in a "rubber meets the road" usable and practical fashion, and then teach or in my case share what they know. Some times you just need to travel.
I can't stress enough that were you to find someone good-it will be the best thing you ever did for your Aikido, or whatever it is you do.

Last edited by DH : 05-24-2007 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:07 PM   #95
DH
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
Jim Sorrentino wrote: View Post
Hello Dan,Why did they not "do the real work"? (Mere laziness does not seem to me to be a satisfactory answer.) Instead of blaming the students for failing to learn, perhaps you should look at how you taught them, and how they learned "the real work".
Of course you would see it as my fault Jim. And I would never expect to offer you anything by way of a "satisfactory answer." Which is why I seldom respond to you. And I am also sure you have no experience with the type of training or menas to judge progress that I have either. Not too mention the honesty of those who tell me flat out that "Solo work is tough and they seldom do it."
But thanks for your comments.
Quote:
Jim Sorrentino wrote: View Post
It seems to me that this would be a better use of your time than cultivating and expressing your apparent contempt for aikido and those who diligently attempt to learn it.
As for "cultivating and expressing my contempt for Aikido and those who practice it?" Thats simply more of your method of communication to me. In fact I think Aikido has the potential to be an amazingly viable art in the modern era of MMA. Imbued with power. And I have said it here over and over.
Just not the way I see it being done.
Which is something I share with aikidoka who have gotten to know me.
The trouble is not, nor ever was, with Ueshiba, or Takeda. It's with those who have become technique and contact-reliant "principle" based- ruining the secret to the physical art. What most write and others demonstrate as "Aiki" isn't aiki at all. Its just external jujutsu and not even good jujutsu..

Quote:
Jim Sorrentino wrote: View Post
Again, while I agree with Sagawa-sensei that "aiki requires an enormous amount of solo training," in the various articles and interviews on Aikido Journal, Sagawa-sensei seems to suggest strongly that it is a necessary part of the training process, if one would acquire aiki skill, to feel aiki by repeatedly attacking someone who 'has it'.
What's your opinion?
Sincerely,
Jim Sorrentino
Actually you argued with the notion of solo training and power building for a long time.

a. I think a more accurate read is that it is the major component to creating aiki. Aiki is created in you long before anyone touches you.
b. Learning aiki by attacking someone and feeling them is not worth the effort. Its too slow. It is where most stop and start fishing around trying to develope and copy a feeling. You need to find someone who can talk in definitve terms and make you do it to them over and over... not them doing it to you.
Other then demonstrating at first meeting. I spend the rest of my time showing others how to do it to me. Taking falls is the slowest way to learn. Taking ukemi has little to do with learning how to do it. People need to spend their time doing, not recieving. Thats just a Japanese mechansm to preserve kata. Its also a great way to ruin your body.

Last edited by DH : 05-24-2007 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:09 PM   #96
Fred Little
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
Jim Sorrentino wrote: View Post
Hello Dan,Why did they not "do the real work"? (Mere laziness does not seem to me to be a satisfactory answer.)
Without claiming to be Dan or to offer any opinion as to what he has observed, I would beg to differ.

For a great many students, mere laziness is a more than complete answer.

It is my experience that many call, but few choose to do the work, and the more excited they are at the outset, the sooner they seem to slack off.

Best,

FL
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:36 PM   #97
Alfonso
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Quote:
I'm sorry but I don't understand your point in the second paragraph. Could you possibly say it again in another way? What do you mean by the aspect that the founder didn't abandon? Thanks
sorry I wasn't trying to be mysterious. I meant the physical conditioning aspects of the "religious side" of his practice. He even would demonstrate what he could do. I think it's notable that Koichi Tohei was acknowledged as one who got it even though he did "it" differently and was fairly young when he became head instructor.

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:56 PM   #98
Jim Sorrentino
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

Dan,
Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
The trouble is not nor ever was with Ueshiba, or Takeda. It's with those who have become technique and contact-reliant "principle" based- ruining the secret to the physical art.
I agree in part. But if aiki is not a "principle", then what is it?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Actually you argued with the notion of solo training and power building for a long time.
Please provide a citation for this assertion. As I have told you, both publically and privately, I value solo training. I started martial arts with Uechi-ryu karatedo, and I have had some exposure to Iaido practice. What I take issue with is your assertion in post #35 that "Learning it though Kata is the source........... of all the problems."

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Other then demonstrating at first meeting. I spend the rest of my time showing others how to do it to me. Taking falls is the slowest way to learn. Taking ukemi has little to do with learning how to do it. People need to spend their time doing, not recieving. Thats just a Japanese mechansm to preserve kata. Its also a great way to ruin your body.
If you spend the rest of the time showing the students how to do it to you, and then they don't do their homework, then perhaps Fred is right, and it's just mere laziness on their part.

As for being a "great way to ruin your body", well, Sagawa-sensei did not seem to regard the ukemi he took for Takeda-sensei that way. Kimura-sensei did not seem to regard the ukemi he took for Sagawa-sensei that way. Again, I believe (like Nishioka-sensei in the article I cited) that it comes down to the spirit in which one pursues the uke-nage aspect of training.

Sincerely,

Jim Sorrentino
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:19 PM   #99
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

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Jim Sorrentino wrote: View Post
As for being a "great way to ruin your body", well, Sagawa-sensei did not seem to regard the ukemi he took for Takeda-sensei that way. Kimura-sensei did not seem to regard the ukemi he took for Sagawa-sensei that way. Again, I believe (like Nishioka-sensei in the article I cited) that it comes down to the spirit in which one pursues the uke-nage aspect of training.
Sincerely,
Jim Sorrentino
I think bringing that type of Uchite / shite model into this discussion is apples and oranges and doesn't fit. You see it as same/ same. We will never agree on that.
I see Kata as an Asian training device that has been blown up way out of proportion to its original intent in jujutsu. I'm not taking SMR or other weapon-based training models.
After teaching someone to fall, I teach people how not be thrown.
So where some do breakfalls and rolls over and over, I teach how to not be thrown over and over and over. I like my way better. I like what it does for producing relaxed power in people far better then other models.
I had a bunch of folks who know you up a while back and for the first time in many years I did aiki-no-jutsu. It was fun doing DR and Aikido waza again with folks flopping and flying about and getting rocketed off the ground with aiki-age, but its just not my interest. There are far more effective things to do be doing with that level of power.

In jujutsu taking breakfalls and rolls for twenty years is just not needed to learn Aiki, Further, continual Ukemi its not needed at all to learn power or how to fight. Moreover, the best way to learn to do is to do.
The best way to learn pwoer is to learn how to develop it and eminate. And you certainly don't need someone to fall down to practice on. In the end fighting back is the best form of Ukemi. The dynamics of fighting back protect the body in a far better fashion than recieving.
Then we have knife and twin stick fighting which do not require that type of ukemi and yet miralculously both parties still learn.

I think some people just got stuck in an Asian model and can't see past it. FWIW folks could spend the rest of their martial career learning to fight better then they do now, with far more power then they have now, all while learning better ways to absorb power with a focus on remaining standing. Then learning to fall in an enitirely different manner that continues the fight. And all of that while retaining every aspect of "Aiki."
Those folks will be more powoerful, more stable, healthier, and far more dfifficult to throw than an equal number who train to receive by falling down.

Last edited by DH : 05-24-2007 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 05-24-2007, 05:28 PM   #100
M. McPherson
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Re: Secret Of Aikido?

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Jim Sorrentino wrote: View Post
What I take issue with is your assertion in post #35 that "Learning it though Kata is the source........... of all the problems."
Hello Mr. Sorrentino,

Unfortunately, having a background in Uechi Ryu, too (in the Shohei Ryu line, but having broad experience to the other two lines, plus Gushi Sensei's interpretation), I would have to agree with Dan. But that's because I've been on the receiving end of what he does. Either one of you can correct me, of course, but I think your interpretation of kata is slightly different than his. I don't think Dan thinks of kata as just a single person form (as in the Chinese or Okinawan conception of it), but rather any method of prescribed movement. Even where that prescribed movement/form might allow for a varied range of responses between an attacker and defender. In other words, any encounter between two people that is not fully resistive, and does not allow for free-form attack can be considered a kata. In that light, aikido as it is practiced today is a kata based art. Solo kata, in this light, is equally as worthless. Unless, that is, it is an exercise that works the development of "internal" physical ability. Not as a means of combative visualization that serves to develop technique.
Although I have great respect for good Uechi Ryu, I wouldn't bother to use it as a reference for what Dan is doing. What I'm about to write could tarnish me as either highly arrogant, or extremely stupid, but here goes: none of what Dan is doing is found in UR today. At least not in 99.9% of what I've experienced. Subjective? Of course. But still true (I had a good friend who could do some of the things that Dan does, but he only "stumbled" into most of it by focusing solely on sanchin. One of the best I've ever seen, he left as a sandan because what he was doing didn't fit in within the UR paradigm), from my experience. What Dan's doing just isn't taught in the art today. Oh, I think it was - once. There's a reason Uechi Kanbun spent three or more years learning sanchin. But I think it died out with him. It's still a highly effective art, but it's not internal. I would say the same thing about aikido, but my experience there isn't as wide.
I've rambled on, and I apologize if this is too off-topic (although I'm starting to see that the "secret" of aikido probably happens to be the "secret" of Uechi Ryu, too...or judo, or kendo, etc). But I would once again strongly encourage you to make the trip up to MA. It's fairly evident that you and Dan are talking about two entirely different paradigms. You don't have to take it from me, because I know you know others who have made the trip up to meet Dan. But enough of us have travelled up there and have had our collective assumptions blown out of the water by the experience - no matter what art we were coming from - that you should give it strong consideration.
Also - and I say this with no malice what so ever - when you repeatedly post your "invitation" to Dan, you should realize that it could be construed as insulting to those people who have made the trip up to work with him. Some driving for three, six, or even nine hours to do so. Repeatedly. Whatever your intentions, it speaks to the worst aspects of our culture, the idea that, if I want it, it should come to me. For many of us, making the trip could have been the biggest waste of our time, but we realized that it was part of the shugyo (as contrived as that sounds), no matter what we found when we got up there. If that's the only price to pay (besides some long-lasting bruises, many ego checks, and having to endure a really fun time with great people), then it is worth it. But, please, try to consider why anyone should come to you to prove anything. If you want to know something, isn't there some hard work involved?

Sincerely,
Murray McPherson
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