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Old 08-14-2007, 12:16 PM   #76
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

Having over 30 years of pretty much daily practice of the tandoku renshu (solitary movement training) shown in that old movie footage in Ellis' post above, I can tell you that trying to imitate the movements that you see is not enough. You can imitate the outer form but if you aren't also doing the breathing, proper muscular contraction/relaxation at the right times, filling your intent with the proper "job order" (my term) as you're moving you will be doing nothing but moving around with no results.

I have seen many others who train this tandoku undo properly that demonstrate the ability to: be moving in the form and someone grabs or attempts to strike while the person continues the form, and their posture is affected by the kuzushi created at first touch in such a way that they must make an involuntary recovery of posture and the person doing the form is not affected in a way that really disturbs the form. They may change into another part of the form, but the moving force is not interrupted. Usually, the attacker says they felt overwhelming soft force that affects them strongly without warning.

I think lots of intelligent, knowledgable people could come up with explanations of how this "works" depending on how they view things. I can think of a number of things that make a lot of sense to me; many are things I've heard others say over the years. Many sound different... does this mean one is wrong and another is right due to the differences. No. Some are more right than others and I'm always willing to listen. My primary understanding is doing the work/practice as much as possible and testing it through dynamic training in the dojo with others that are always testing each other and keeping things as "clear" as possible.

In my experience of trying to express the real thing on the internet, it's not possible and the only way to get it is to latch on to people that seem to have it. There's more than a few that can do some interesting things. A good thing about the discussion of this sort of thing on the internet is... there are lots more people inquiring now and interested in looking. Kudos to all that are looking and willing to have an open mind and a bridle on their ego.

Interesting discussion, thanks.

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
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Old 08-14-2007, 12:31 PM   #77
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Mike Haft wrote: View Post
Guess who was always ahead of us up the mountain calling down to us asking if we wanted a tea break? Yup the 46 yr old woman who moves 1000s of pounds of horse around most days when she's not chasing sheep. The difference being in no way related to size (she was the lightest and smallest of us climbing that day, and of quite slight build).
Sorry, Mike, but the clinical/analytical part of me needs to comment that the "lightest and smallest" actually have a much easier time climbing, running, etc. Think of the climbers, marathoners, mountain-racing-cyclists, etc., that tend to win.... they're all small and light. But your point is a good one about conditioning. Too many people neglect conditioning and think that it's all technique and secrets... it ain't.

Best.

Mike
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Old 08-14-2007, 01:53 PM   #78
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
Having over 30 years of pretty much daily practice of the tandoku renshu (solitary movement training) shown in that old movie footage in Ellis' post above, I can tell you that trying to imitate the movements that you see is not enough. You can imitate the outer form but if you aren't also doing the breathing, proper muscular contraction/relaxation at the right times, filling your intent with the proper "job order" (my term) as you're moving you will be doing nothing but moving around with no results.

I have seen many others who train this tandoku undo properly that demonstrate the ability to: be moving in the form and someone grabs or attempts to strike while the person continues the form, and their posture is affected by the kuzushi created at first touch in such a way that they must make an involuntary recovery of posture and the person doing the form is not affected in a way that really disturbs the form. They may change into another part of the form, but the moving force is not interrupted. Usually, the attacker says they felt overwhelming soft force that affects them strongly without warning.

I think lots of intelligent, knowledgable people could come up with explanations of how this "works" depending on how they view things. I can think of a number of things that make a lot of sense to me; many are things I've heard others say over the years. Many sound different... does this mean one is wrong and another is right due to the differences. No. Some are more right than others and I'm always willing to listen. My primary understanding is doing the work/practice as much as possible and testing it through dynamic training in the dojo with others that are always testing each other and keeping things as "clear" as possible.

In my experience of trying to express the real thing on the internet, it's not possible and the only way to get it is to latch on to people that seem to have it. There's more than a few that can do some interesting things. A good thing about the discussion of this sort of thing on the internet is... there are lots more people inquiring now and interested in looking. Kudos to all that are looking and willing to have an open mind and a bridle on their ego.

Interesting discussion, thanks.
Hi Chuck,

Shirata sensei also taught Tandoku Dosa which I have been teaching and practicing for an unnamed number of decades ( ) and have found, like you, that there are certainly many "layers" of exploration and execution. Interestingly, my students and I have found striking similarity between the form, execution, and result of these Tandoku Dosa and those of Ark Aizawa via Rob John. (I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Mike Sigman or Dan Harden.) These exercises are continuously polished and revisited throughout one's career. They are always developing, and when there is a question that arises about a waza the answer can often be found within Tandoku Dosa. I don't know about you but, I have found, and continue to find, that every so often I make a significant new "discovery" and/or "revelation" only to recall at that moment that my teacher explicitly taught that. I was just too dense to learn.

I agree completely, BTW, about the impossibility to (really) learn much from watching a video or reading a description. Still, as you stated, I enjoy the significant contributions and discussions that take place. Sometimes just a different perspective, model, or explanation can lead one to think differently about what they do and that opens up the possibility of doing what they do differently.

However, there is no substitute for the "laying on of hands." Until that happens one can easily retain the option of being a "legend in their own mind" at worst and simply misunderstand at best.

Hope you are well.

Allen Beebe

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Old 08-14-2007, 02:07 PM   #79
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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However, there is no substitute for the "laying on of hands." Until that happens one can easily retain the option of being a "legend in their own mind" at worst and simply misunderstand at best.
Amen, Brudda. And we're ALL subject to the little conceits of "aha, I've got it". Been pulled up short many times, myself. The only cure is to keep getting out there and checking, preferably with the best that you can find in the art (not in one's own "peers" who are just as likely to pump air into your tires to make you feel good as you are to do the same.)

Best.

Mike
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Old 08-14-2007, 02:15 PM   #80
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Too many people neglect conditioning and think that it's all technique and secrets... it ain't.

Best.

Mike
Dear Mike,

I especially appreciated your last sentence. Last night I shared with one of my students that understanding how to do an exercise is good, but it isn't good enough.* I used the following "external" strength metaphor to make my point:

One might understand how to bench press effectively and one might even see some immediate power gain due to this knowledge. However, if one were to slap on an additional 400 lbs now because they understand how to bench press, they stand a very good chance of being crushed. To develop significant gains in strength and ability requires the process of training and adaptation.

Thanks,
Allen Beebe

*To whom it may outrage: I don't make any claims to internal arts (or any other art's) greatness so please spare yourself the aneurism.

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 08-14-2007, 02:42 PM   #81
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Hi Chuck, However, there is no substitute for the "laying on of hands." Until that happens one can easily retain the option of being a "legend in their own mind" at worst and simply misunderstand at best.

Hope you are well.

Allen Beebe
Hi Allen, I am relatively well. I need a hip replacement, but all else is going along pretty much as usual. I'm learning to adapt until the surgery and will then have to adapt to whatever those conditions are.

I'll be in Portland the 29th & 30th of next month. Get in tough with Yoko and see what the times and particulars are if you can make it that weekend. We can surely do some of the "laying on of hands..."

Best Regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 08-14-2007, 06:01 PM   #82
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Dear Mike,

I especially appreciated your last sentence. Last night I shared with one of my students that understanding how to do an exercise is good, but it isn't good enough.* I used the following "external" strength metaphor to make my point:

One might understand how to bench press effectively and one might even see some immediate power gain due to this knowledge. However, if one were to slap on an additional 400 lbs now because they understand how to bench press, they stand a very good chance of being crushed. To develop significant gains in strength and ability requires the process of training and adaptation.

Thanks,
Allen Beebe

*To whom it may outrage: I don't make any claims to internal arts (or any other art's) greatness so please spare yourself the aneurism.
So that's how you spell aneurism? Thanks.
This post reminds me of the adage:
"In theory, theory and practice are the same thing. In practice they are not."

to sum up my experience: jin/kon...same training; baby steps.
I enjoyed the post. Thanks again.
Jen Smith

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 08-14-2007 at 06:04 PM.

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Old 08-14-2007, 06:01 PM   #83
Allen Beebe
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

Chuck,

I'm sorry to hear about your hip. I had friend replace his recently and it began a whole new (better) life for him. I hope you find the same.

I have an infected knee at the moment. It was the size of a cantaloupe and now is the size of a softball thanks to antibiotics. Nevertheless, I'll have to see if I'm in any condition to roll with your guys by the end of next month . . . hope so! It would be great to see Aaron again too.

Take care,
Allen

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Old 08-14-2007, 06:04 PM   #84
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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So that's how you spell aneurism? Thanks.

jin/kon...same training. Baby steps.
good post.
Hi Jennifer,

Actually that is how my computer spells aneurism. I really didn't have a clue!!

Thanks though,
Allen Beebe

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Old 08-14-2007, 06:16 PM   #85
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Hi Jennifer,

Actually that is how my computer spells aneurism. I really didn't have a clue!!

Thanks though,
Allen Beebe
Ha-Ha-Ha. Knee slap.
Thanks,
Jen Smith

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Old 08-15-2007, 03:09 AM   #86
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Sorry, Mike, but the clinical/analytical part of me needs to comment that the "lightest and smallest" actually have a much easier time climbing, running, etc. Think of the climbers, marathoners, mountain-racing-cyclists, etc., that tend to win.... they're all small and light. But your point is a good one about conditioning. Too many people neglect conditioning and think that it's all technique and secrets... it ain't.

Best.

Mike
LOL, yeah in that example it doesn't make sense, but I said there are others. You should see her throwing bales of hay around.

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
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Old 08-15-2007, 08:12 AM   #87
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Only got a few moments:
1. Mike - yes and no. The "yes" is that as we are not talking about magic, that even if we are working fascia, tendons, whatever, the muscles, if they atrophy, are going to not support movement. "No" in the idea that one remembers how to, for example, ride a bicycle years later, even if not having done so. Just my opinion, as I'm not a "how-to" authority - merely "so-I've-heard-and-am-trying-to-learn"
Ran out of popcorn watching the fight on the leather man thread so decided to waste some tea break time on this

The reason I mentioned this at all is because I was recently learning more about seme, lots of folks in the kendo community talk about it the same way that people here talk about Ueshiba's incredible void-like quality that I mentioned. The ability to - with little to no effort or movement - cause you to do something that results in your defeat (i.e. loss of a point in kendo or to fall or be immobilised in aikido, just for clarity)

So lately I'm thinking that if kendo doesn't have the internal aspects described so often here and if seme is the same sort of thing (perhaps even the exact same thing) as Ueshiba being a void in the mat when people attacked him in his later years then that aspect of this discussion is not about internal skill as being discussed here.

Ellis in his article mentions Ueshiba moving from lightening to void (quoting Henry Kono's experiences of ukemi with the founder). Essentially I'm questioning whether the void aspect is anything to do with all the discussion of internal skill, fascia, solo exercises at all or if it isn't the same thing as kendo people (who definitely do not train in internal skills, at least not intentionally in modern kendo though I'm willing to entertain the idea that they do it by accident perhaps, suburi/soloexercise breathing/kokyu and so on) talking abiut seme which can seem almost like a supernatural ability to bop you on the head with a shinai you never saw even move (sound familiar in the context of aikido & Ueshiba chit-chat?).

I'm also thinking of Roy Suenaka's book where he describes the difference between taking ukemi from Ueshiba (void-like) and from Tohei, in Tohei's case you felt physically tossed around like a rag doll apparently. All this would tie into the timing of Ueshiba's life and what has been observed about the early kobukan students. Ellis mention of the seminar in 1955. Physical conditioning and solo exercises and so on. Meaning essentially that old-man aikido is where you become like a ghost when people try to attack you but you need hard physical conditioning and training to achieve the prodigious power attributed to Ueshiba.

This brings me back to the question. If being void-like when being nage is the same thing as seme in kendo/kenjitsu and this is what you're aiming for. Do you need to train in internal skill in the first place. Or (the question that interests me most) do you need the hard physical training and conditioning for internal skills displayed by Ueshiba and other Takeda students to progress onto becoming void-like.

And here's the big question. Is the difference between DR and aikido tied up to being void-like? Is this the change that Ueshiba made and was aiming for? Ellis mentioned the idea that you need to be able to do DR before you can do aikido...

I'm genuinely curious to hear peoples opinions

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 08-15-2007, 08:36 AM   #88
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Mike Haft wrote: View Post
The reason I mentioned this at all is because I was recently learning more about seme, lots of folks in the kendo community talk about it the same way that people here talk about Ueshiba's incredible void-like quality that I mentioned. The ability to - with little to no effort or movement - cause you to do something that results in your defeat (i.e. loss of a point in kendo or to fall or be immobilised in aikido, just for clarity)

So lately I'm thinking that if kendo doesn't have the internal aspects described so often here and if seme is the same sort of thing (perhaps even the exact same thing) as Ueshiba being a void in the mat when people attacked him in his later years then that aspect of this discussion is not about internal skill as being discussed here.

Ellis in his article mentions Ueshiba moving from lightening to void (quoting Henry Kono's experiences of ukemi with the founder). Essentially I'm questioning whether the void aspect is anything to do with all the discussion of internal skill, fascia, solo exercises at all or if it isn't the same thing as kendo people (who definitely do not train in internal skills, at least not intentionally in modern kendo though I'm willing to entertain the idea that they do it by accident perhaps, suburi/soloexercise breathing/kokyu and so on) talking abiut seme which can seem almost like a supernatural ability to bop you on the head with a shinai you never saw even move (sound familiar in the context of aikido & Ueshiba chit-chat?).

I'm also thinking of Roy Suenaka's book where he describes the difference between taking ukemi from Ueshiba (void-like) and from Tohei, in Tohei's case you felt physically tossed around like a rag doll apparently. All this would tie into the timing of Ueshiba's life and what has been observed about the early kobukan students. Ellis mention of the seminar in 1955. Physical conditioning and solo exercises and so on. Meaning essentially that old-man aikido is where you become like a ghost when people try to attack you but you need hard physical conditioning and training to achieve the prodigious power attributed to Ueshiba.

This brings me back to the question. If being void-like when being nage is the same thing as seme in kendo/kenjitsu and this is what you're aiming for. Do you need to train in internal skill in the first place. Or (the question that interests me most) do you need the hard physical training and conditioning for internal skills displayed by Ueshiba and other Takeda students to progress onto becoming void-like.

And here's the big question. Is the difference between DR and aikido tied up to being void-like? Is this the change that Ueshiba made and was aiming for? Ellis mentioned the idea that you need to be able to do DR before you can do aikido...
Well, although I don't have any formal exposure to Kendo, I do have exposure to judo, aikido, and a little bit of the ju arts. Pretty much all of these arts have the same codified basics, I've found out in the last 4-5 years. I.e., the commonalities are in the basics of all of the Asian arts (we should have all been clued on this, but we missed it, when we saw all those arts displaying the same Yin-Yang symbol, for chrissakes). The "void" thing is really high-level jin manipulation and yes it is part of the elemental controls. But it's not everything. For example, a good boxer could win by, say, "slipping a punch and counter-punching". He wouldn't need much more than that, particularly against novice/moderate boxers. But against another really good fighter, he'd need a quiver full of other things, including good conditioning. So just relying on ki/kokyu skills won't do it... you should have the full-bore martial art and not just a few tricks that look good in certain demo's.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 08-15-2007, 08:46 AM   #89
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Ran out of popcorn watching the fight on the leather man thread so decided to waste some tea break time on this

The reason I mentioned this at all is because I was recently learning more about seme, lots of folks in the kendo community talk about it the same way that people here talk about Ueshiba's incredible void-like quality that I mentioned. The ability to - with little to no effort or movement - cause you to do something that results in your defeat (i.e. loss of a point in kendo or to fall or be immobilised in aikido, just for clarity)

So lately I'm thinking that if kendo doesn't have the internal aspects described so often here and if seme is the same sort of thing (perhaps even the exact same thing) as Ueshiba being a void in the mat when people attacked him in his later years then that aspect of this discussion is not about internal skill as being discussed here.
The kendo folks talk about seme and the importance of moving from the hara/center. They also talk about same side same foot coordination. At a recent seminar a 8thdan talked about the importances of opening and closing the body when cutting. He also talked about the importance of the spine, and the use of what he refered to as "deep muscle". He also chastised everyone as swinging wrong, and that one should after a time, focus on improving the body as a unit rather than technique.

There is internal knowledge in kendo , just few people now about it today and more importantly while people talk about the concepts in kendo, few talk about how to train it other than 30 years of training/thousands of reps etc.

I do kendo as well, and by applying internal concepts when I execute seme (which doesn't necesscarily require a step forwards), I get a much better reaction out of people. My interpretation of zanshin as well, requires a knowedge of bodyskills.

Last edited by HL1978 : 08-15-2007 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 08-15-2007, 09:01 AM   #90
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

I have felt Nishioka Tsuneo Sensei, Menkyo Kaiden of Shinto Muso Ryu touch me lightly with a jo held softly (and even just with his thumb and first two fingers of both hands) and it felt like a truck just ran over me. Call it what you will. It feels very similar to what I've felt from other senior practitioners in various arts.

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Old 08-15-2007, 09:05 AM   #91
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I think the "lightning" & "ghost-like" feelings are extensions of the same skills. My understanding is that first one has to learn how to internally balance one's own body. This type of internal connection imparts whole-body movement, and thus power.

But learning to connect one's own body opens the door to other internal skills, including the ability to connect into another person's body. For example, if I'm trying to push or pull my teacher's hand, he can "feel" weaknesses in my structure. He can then subtly project force into my body to exaggerate the weakness, until my balance or whatnot starts to disintegrate "on its own". So I think the "ghost-like" feeling was probably a combination of advanced skills.

So on one level, I think the shift from power to void in pre- to post-war Aikido represents a simple progression in skill, though Ueshiba probably chose to emphasize certain skills and de-emphasize others.

But the issue of internal skill and sword work brings up something I've been wanting to discuss. When I get a moment I think I'll start a new thread on the topic.

[edit] And the void-like quality is also present in high-level Daito-Ryu. To what degree it's emphasized, I can't say. But it would probably vary depending on who you talk to. [/edit]

Last edited by Timothy WK : 08-15-2007 at 09:16 AM.

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Old 08-15-2007, 12:15 PM   #92
Allen Beebe
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Mike Haft wrote: View Post
The reason I mentioned this at all is because I was recently learning more about seme, lots of folks in the kendo community talk about it the same way that people here talk about Ueshiba's incredible void-like quality that I mentioned. The ability to - with little to no effort or movement - cause you to do something that results in your defeat (i.e. loss of a point in kendo or to fall or be immobilised in aikido, just for clarity)

So lately I'm thinking that if kendo doesn't have the internal aspects described so often here and if seme is the same sort of thing (perhaps even the exact same thing) as Ueshiba being a void in the mat when people attacked him in his later years then that aspect of this discussion is not about internal skill as being discussed here.

I'm genuinely curious to hear peoples opinions

Regards

Mike
From Japanese-English Dictionary of Kendo by the All Japan Kendo Federation, p.83 2000

semeru (v.)
To take the initiative to close the distance with the opponent with full spirit. This puts the opponent off balance mentally and physically and prevents him/her from moving freely. Examples include ki-ryoku-ni-yoru-seme (attack with the spirit), ken-sen-ni-yoru-seme (attack with the tip of the sword), and datotsu-ni-yoru-seme (attack with strikes). This enables one to maintain a constant advantage over the opponent. In kendo, it is important to intentionally attack and strike, not to just strike by chance. The back and forth action of offense and defense involved in seme (attacks) and seme-kaesu (counterattacks) not only improves the skill of both players but also develops their minds and bodies. Al of this leads to the mutual self-creation of both people and to the building of human character. See san-sappo, jujitsu-shita-kiei in Chapter II.

BTW, san-sappo means roughly "kill the sword, kill the spirit, kill the technique, and jujitsu-shita-kiei is "the state where both mind and body show full spirit."

Another favorite saying in Kendo is Ki Ken Tai Ichi.

Maybe this info, if it doesn't help to answer, will at least help clarify your question.

Allen Beebe

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Old 08-15-2007, 12:29 PM   #93
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

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Examples include ki-ryoku-ni-yoru-seme (attack with the spirit),
Personally, I'd suggest that whoever translated that phrase into English had no understanding of Ki/Kokyu. The "Ki Power" is exactly what we've been talking about in all these posts, but since the translation uses the term "spirit" for "ki-ryoku", the meaning is totally lost.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-15-2007, 01:06 PM   #94
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Personally, I'd suggest that whoever translated that phrase into English had no understanding of Ki/Kokyu. The "Ki Power" is exactly what we've been talking about in all these posts, but since the translation uses the term "spirit" for "ki-ryoku", the meaning is totally lost.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Masafumi Sasaki: Vice Principal, Tokyo Metropolitan Miyake Senior High School

Shuji Shimura: Teacher, Tokyo Metropolitan Kodaira Senior High School

Unless they had some real sen sen no sen I don't suppose they read this thread before 2000.

I wondered if anyone would see the ki-ryoku reference. So sue me, but I decided not to translate the translation and then have to explain why I translated the translation (a whole can of worms in itself), it just seemed like too much hassle.

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 08-15-2007, 01:51 PM   #95
Haowen Chan
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

If I may venture an opinion, I believe the translation is actually correct.

I think ki-ryoku-ni-yoru-seme (attack with the spirit) means exactly to attack with the spirit, to shatter your opponent's composure and thus create an opening. It is a mental ability (expressed through physical composure or with strong kiai, etc). I guess you can call it "to forcefully psych out your opponent".

The meaning of ki in kendo is pretty unambigously "spirit" or "mind". As evidenced in the phrase ki-ken-tai-ichi. If ki was a body skill then ki-tai ichi would be rather redundant, like saying "your internal skills and your body must arrive simultaneously"... huh?

I do not believe that particular concept (ki-no-seme) has anything to do with body skills. Not that internal skills is not relevant to kendo, I just think it's really not part of the formal curriculum.

Edit: Some obvious applications of internal skills in kendo I can think of would include resistance to tai-atari (body-checks), stronger kensen, ability to attack without visible windup... I'm sure experts can think of more then a newbie like me.

Last edited by Haowen Chan : 08-15-2007 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 08-15-2007, 01:54 PM   #96
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

Well, I can give you tons of examples of "jin" and "qi" being translated as "energy", but that's not what it means at all, in the functional sense. For the moment, I'm going to assume that "ki-ryoku" means just what it says and that "spirit" is an interpretation rather than a translation of what the term meant.

Best.

Mike
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Old 08-15-2007, 02:14 PM   #97
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

with regards to kendo:
http://www.osi.uio.no/kendo/pdf/Noma.pdf

There are some interesting points raised in this manual which seem to contradict some modern kendo teachings. anyways here are some exerpts

With a calm facial expression hold the bridge of the nose erect and thrust the chin slightly forward. As for the neck, keep the tendon at the back of the neck straight and tense the nape.
From the shoulders down maintain an even distribution of tension throughout the entire body, lower the shoulders hold the back straight and do not stick out the buttocks. Tense the legs between the knees and toes and tighten the abdomen so the hips do not bend. There is teaching that commands us to tighten the knot (of the obi) and hold the stomach in with the sheath of the short sword in such a manner as not to loose the obi.

There is also discussion a couple of times with regards to "bracing the stomach".
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Old 08-16-2007, 01:32 AM   #98
Walker
 
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Well, I can give you tons of examples of "jin" and "qi" being translated as "energy", but that's not what it means at all, in the functional sense. For the moment, I'm going to assume that "ki-ryoku" means just what it says and that "spirit" is an interpretation rather than a translation of what the term meant.

Best.
Mike
Not to quote you back to yourself, but when someone doesn't have experience...

One point about kanji compounds -- just because you know the meaning of both parts does not guarantee that you know the meaning of the compound. The compound may be a literal combination of the two ideas, it may be one shade of the possible meanings or it could even be an obscure connection.

In this case ki ryokyu is a commonly used compound conveying ideas similar to several words in English i.e vigor, vitality, pep, spirit, pluck, mettle, drive, will power, energy (as in having the energy to do something as in kiryoku dake de = by sheer force of will). It is easily found in a Japanese dictionary.

Another point is that seme defined as attacking with spiritual and physical pressure or force is a good description of the experience of ken. What becomes readily obvious when you step into the venue of the ken is that there are levels beyond the physical issue of force that feel like mental and, I dare say, spiritual force. Hence, if nothing else, it is a description of the experience if not the reality of the matter and kendoka in my experience think and talk about seme a lot; far more than aikidoka.

-Doug Walker
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Old 08-16-2007, 05:15 AM   #99
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

Quote:
Doug Walker wrote: View Post
kendoka in my experience think and talk about seme a lot; far more than aikidoka.
I don't think that's true at all, aikidoka talk about it a lot, they just don't call it seme...

As to the rest, I tend to view seme as an extension of things that've been achieved before in terms of internal skill, things that involve training the body and mind in a coordinated fashion. I also think that a lot of people who go to a dojo say twice a week, three times a week wouldn't get it without something else being added to the mix. Unlike some I don't believe any of this is missing from aikido, just not emphasized and practised enough and in the right context. IMHO.

I believe Richard Feynmann called it a cargo cult when describing Melanesian religious activities not long after WW2:
"During the war they saw aeroplanes with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they've arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head as headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas - he's the controller - and they wait for the aeroplanes to land. They're doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn't work. No aeroplanes land."

Regards

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:24 AM   #100
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ellis Amdur's Post on Aikido Journal

Quote:
Doug Walker wrote: View Post
Not to quote you back to yourself, but when someone doesn't have experience...
Absolutely. And I made it clear that I was making a personal choice, not taking an insistent position that others should follow. And my choice actually a matter of "experience" in the sense that I'm now well aware that the sword arts are as chock full of the ki/kokyu skills as is Aikido.... yet the western "experts" don't seem to know much about those skills. So the gamble (and that's all I put it out there as) that the original discussions of "ki-ryoku" is more literally true than "spirit" is simply what I consider a reasonable bet; no more than that.

As an example, look at Kuroda Sensei demonstrating a couple of basic ki/kokyu skills in this YouTube video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InlQtTMK5Ys

If you go back and look at the early primer that Kisshomaru Ueshiba did on Aikido in the 70's (IIRC), he actually does a fairly good explication in general terms of Ki in the functional sense. But the western "experts" never understood what ki was, so they'd argue me to a standstill, based on their understanding from "years of experience". It's becoming clearer to a lot of people that the functional aspects of ki/kokyu have been in Aikido all along, suddenly. A lot of "experts" with many years of "experience" are suddenly in a difficult position (although it's a GOOD position for Aikido as a whole that things are moving forward).

However, my comments about sword arts is just a guess and I try to be very careful not to say something definitive that could come back to haunt me in the coming years. That's why I don't teach anything.... it turns out that these studies are pretty complex and long and anyone who sets himself up as an expert too soon could be cruisin' for a stumble.
Quote:
One point about kanji compounds -- just because you know the meaning of both parts does not guarantee that you know the meaning of the compound. The compound may be a literal combination of the two ideas, it may be one shade of the possible meanings or it could even be an obscure connection.

In this case ki ryokyu is a commonly used compound conveying ideas similar to several words in English i.e vigor, vitality, pep, spirit, pluck, mettle, drive, will power, energy (as in having the energy to do something as in kiryoku dake de = by sheer force of will). It is easily found in a Japanese dictionary.
I agree with you. I found that to be true when I started studying Japanese in 1965.
Quote:
Another point is that seme defined as attacking with spiritual and physical pressure or force is a good description of the experience of ken. What becomes readily obvious when you step into the venue of the ken is that there are levels beyond the physical issue of force that feel like mental and, I dare say, spiritual force. Hence, if nothing else, it is a description of the experience if not the reality of the matter and kendoka in my experience think and talk about seme a lot; far more than aikidoka.
I hear what you're saying, but I'm not convinced that you're correct, simply because, as I've said, I've seen this situation already, a number of times, where entire western martial cultures have been built around mistaken translations. My instinct would be to keep my mind open.

Best.

Mike Sigman
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