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Old 02-20-2008, 10:35 PM   #101
Bill Dockery
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Chris,

I'd never suggest I could teach anyone but I wanted to offer another angle to the "strategy" of Aikido.

If someone wanted to learn how to do well in a fight, you could practice any martial art. Literally any art will do.

I interpret Ueshiba's intent for founding Aikido was to change the mindset of the martial artist. To get into the heads of those that were taking it upon themselves to act as judge, jury, and executioner.

The persons Ueshiba taught already knew how to "dominate", "control", "neutralize", or even quickly dispatch their opponent. These abilities could have applied in legally justified manner, but were an application of their own will. I think O-sensei wanted better for them.

The "strategy" seems to be harmonizing with the Tao in such a way that the attacker gets back what he puts in and nothing more. Kharma does not judge. Kharma is not at fault for the result of someone else's actions. Kharma is simply the "return to sender" messenger delivering a reflection of what was originally offered. Kharma remains intact and unblemished, even when the result is as severe as death.

I'm not very worldly or diverse in my direct exposure to many martial arts, but in the few that I have been exposed to, I suggest that the principles of entering, kuzushi, locking, striking, etc. are present in all of them.

What sets Aikido apart is the goal of being in the conflict, but not "of" the conflict. The outcome should be a result of natural law instead of how we feel it should it resolve.

The "strategy" of Aikido seems to be "Be Kharma". Otherwise we'd call it some other martial art.
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Old 02-20-2008, 11:42 PM   #102
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

I think you are onto something Bill. That is why I prefer Aiki arts as well. I just give someone what they want. No contention. Just help them along in the direction they want to go.

I liken it to being the ticket taker on the train. The decide where they want to go and I just punch the ticket.

But I really do not want to build bad karma punching "tickets to hell" even when they want it badly. Maybe that is why I pray for peace so often.
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Old 02-21-2008, 05:49 AM   #103
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Chris I have rethought that logic lately. A few weeks ago in Gerrmany I gave a champion stone thrower (guy can throw 300KG stones) "What he wanted" in my normal fashion of doing stuff.

He took it, and never gave it back! Not one ounce of knowledge of ANY martial art. Just strength, conditioning, speed, agility, and good instincts in how to use that.

I go back to what one of my Instructors always said, "always attack, always win!". "Ukemi is for the other guy", "if you have time to block, you have time to strike".

I think you have to be careful about what you do give.

certainly I think it is okay to create the perception of giving, only to let them fall into that hole.

However, I found that one day, you will find a guy who will take the "gift" and never give it back, and keep taking more.

It is an interesting paradox when you consider how aiki philosophy seems to tell us to give first, or to seek to understand before being understood.

Not always the best approach in my experiences!

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Old 02-21-2008, 06:59 AM   #104
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

My aikido instructor always says the goal is to take the center and their balance and never give it back. I think that goes inline with what your instructor is saying.

Of course that is better then my current aiki tactics, which is hold hands, dance, and ultimately fumble and use judo.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 02-21-2008, 09:07 AM   #105
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Quote:
The "strategy" seems to be harmonizing with the Tao in such a way that the attacker gets back what he puts in and nothing more.
Hmm...so how does that statement jive with what Ueshiba Sensei said about [paraphrasing] "in real aikido the attacker would be killed", not wanting to show a lie to the emporer, or Yukawa having his arm broken in a demonstration?

Just currious...

Best,
Ron

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Old 02-21-2008, 09:38 AM   #106
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Kevin Wrote:

Quote:
Chris I have rethought that logic lately. A few weeks ago in Gerrmany I gave a champion stone thrower (guy can throw 300KG stones) "What he wanted" in my normal fashion of doing stuff.

He took it, and never gave it back! Not one ounce of knowledge of ANY martial art. Just strength, conditioning, speed, agility, and good instincts in how to use that.
Bill is coming up for a big promotional test soon. He has picked Shawn, a Penjak Silat/Kali player who is also one of the finest global tea masters I have ever met. Shawn has never owned a driver's licesnse and bikes wherever he goes -a pure, sinewey athlete with a warrior's mind. Shawn spent 17 years wielding a gaff and gutting fish on a boat in Alaska. He takes falls for no one unless they truly make him fall. While Shawn is relatively new to Aiki arts, he is a champion stick fighter in the Arnold Classic Games in Columbus, OH.

His winning fight was against a monster who would take and give up nothing. Shawn is about 160 pounds. When the brute threw him for the third time, Shawn placed the punyo (butt) of the stick in his hand and welded his hand to his rib cage. The guy empailed himself on the punyo and the fight was over.

Shawn gave the guy what he wanted and then... took him further than he wanted to go.

I know this is much harder to do in a sport Jujitsu contest. I have had my share of them in the mid 1990's. But if we throw sport to the wind and focus on street, I could do the same as Shawn did using my left thumb, for, as Shawn Connery once said, "my right one is much too powerful". The Presidio (1988)


By the way, how did the competitions go? To bad you were shackled in a sport venue. I sense that you are the kind of warrior that would have fishooked him and bit him where he is most afraid of being bit, if it were the real you and the venue was "training your troops".

Then again, I guess some folks really want to go to hell and there is no alternative but to punch their ticket. I have just been lucky about that kind of karma, I guess.
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Old 02-21-2008, 09:23 PM   #107
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Hmm...so how does that statement jive with what Ueshiba Sensei said about [paraphrasing] "in real aikido the attacker would be killed", not wanting to show a lie to the emporer, or Yukawa having his arm broken in a demonstration?

Just currious...

Best,
Ron
I never said he was perfect. Just that I thought that was his intent. If it wasn't, I still like the approach.
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Old 02-21-2008, 10:11 PM   #108
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Go you Bill for choosing Shawn as uke.
he will make an honest man out of anyone's movement.
I hope to be in town cheering you on.
I will buy the tea when you are done.
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Old 02-22-2008, 12:34 AM   #109
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Quote:
Bill Dockery wrote: View Post
If someone wanted to learn how to do well in a fight, you could practice any martial art. Literally any art will do.

I interpret Ueshiba's intent for founding Aikido was to change the mindset of the martial artist. To get into the heads of those that were taking it upon themselves to act as judge, jury, and executioner.

The persons Ueshiba taught already knew how to "dominate", "control", "neutralize", or even quickly dispatch their opponent. These abilities could have applied in legally justified manner, but were an application of their own will. I think O-sensei wanted better for them.

The "strategy" seems to be harmonizing with the Tao in such a way that the attacker gets back what he puts in and nothing more. Kharma does not judge. Kharma is not at fault for the result of someone else's actions. Kharma is simply the "return to sender" messenger delivering a reflection of what was originally offered. Kharma remains intact and unblemished, even when the result is as severe as death.

I'm not very worldly or diverse in my direct exposure to many martial arts, but in the few that I have been exposed to, I suggest that the principles of entering, kuzushi, locking, striking, etc. are present in all of them.

What sets Aikido apart is the goal of being in the conflict, but not "of" the conflict. The outcome should be a result of natural law instead of how we feel it should it resolve.

The "strategy" of Aikido seems to be "Be Kharma". Otherwise we'd call it some other martial art.
For what it's worth, I also like this post very much. It reminded me of something a sensei once told me about Aikido not just being a case of blending one's technique with that of one's opponent, but also a blend of your kokoro (heart/mind) with your partner's kokoro.

The same sensei told us the story of a tonosama (feudal lord) who witnessed a competition between a huge sumo wrestler and a much smaller bushi . The tonosama assumed the sumotori would win the contest because of his size and training. The fight began with the bushi immediately stabbing the sumo in the heart with a short knife. The tonosama cried "That was unfair!" The warrior said "that's budo". If you have rules, it is not a true competition. It is not "shinken". Real conflict has no rules.

That's where the Tao comes into play -- seeking a path that avoids conflict. As a form of budo, breaking arms and killing are not off the menu in Aikido, but these things are not done in order to win a conflict. You win before you start: Masakatsu agatsu -- true victory is self victory.

regards

Carl
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Old 02-22-2008, 06:26 AM   #110
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

I am curious what others perspective is on what it means to "neutralize an attack"? or to "blend with it".

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Old 02-22-2008, 01:23 PM   #111
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Hey,

A simple description for me would be to place you and your uke in a position where his technique cannot harm anyone other than himself hence nutralizing it and I try to do this by blending aka Irimi aka entering...Think of a bull fighter with a cape entering the empty space between him and the bull...No matter how much the bull tries to attack the Matador is safe from harm and has control.

Hopefully that makes sense. LOL

William Hazen
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Old 02-22-2008, 04:50 PM   #112
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Yes it makes sense, however this is the very thought I am trying to resolve in my mind right now. Blending doesn't seem to resolve anything at all. Yes, you avoid the bull, but he is still "in the fight".

Also, what are the mechanics of the neutralization. That is, what are the standard conditions that must be in place for neutralization to be in effect?

Certainly irimi is an option, and a good one if you cannot handle the bull!

But are you really blending as you enter during or after the irimi, or is there something else going on?

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Old 02-22-2008, 08:09 PM   #113
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Blending doesn't seem to resolve anything at all. Yes, you avoid the bull, but he is still "in the fight".
I agree with the idea that blending itself doesn't resolve the fight...unless you mean blending to include the wills too. I think it was described pretty clear in another thread that simply avoiding an attack isn't aiki. When the bull eventually gets tired and stops the attack, that's when the conflict gets resolved.
I'd say blending physically is the "easy" part. Removing the will to attack is much more difficult.

Quote:
But are you really blending as you enter during or after the irimi, or is there something else going on?
I can't speak for William's take on it of course, but I'd say that ideally one ought be blending throughout: before contact, during contact, and after contact has been removed so if another attack is launched, you're already in position.
Hope that's along the lines of what you're looking for.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 02-22-2008, 08:40 PM   #114
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Not looking for anything in particular, just trying to see what other's perceptions of this are.

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Old 02-23-2008, 02:06 PM   #115
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Kevin wrote:

Quote:
what are the mechanics of the neutralization. That is, what are the standard conditions that must be in place for neutralization to be in effect?

Certainly irimi is an option, and a good one if you cannot handle the bull!

But are you really blending as you enter during or after the irimi, or is there something else going on?
Kevin,

I think there IS something in particular. I mentioned it once before in the "Strategy in Aikido" posts. I make a discinction between unbalancing someone (reducing their base) and making someone "unstable".

When I enter or "At first touch" when he enters, I want to control the uke's (1) balance and (2) stability. I think this is why I can do techniques slowly and uke cannot easily recover from the motion. If I only control his balance, he can create a new base and the fight is equal again.

I have three videos upcoming that I will post. We mainly filmed them to show how one hand can do the aiki with one hand and the other hand "bounces" the uke with the "freight train-style" power (kinetic energy).

I do the tecyniques slowly. Bill Dockery is a great uke for this as his body reacts well on camera. Every movement I make has a direct effect upon him. No wasted motion.... No portion of my movement without an equal and opposite reaction that gains more of his (1) balance or (2) stability.

I will post them tomorrow.
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Old 02-23-2008, 04:48 PM   #116
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Not looking for anything in particular, just trying to see what other's perceptions of this are.
I'm not sure if you already described it and I missed it, but what's your take on it?

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 02-23-2008, 05:04 PM   #117
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
When I enter or "At first touch" when he enters, I want to control the uke's (1) balance and (2) stability.
Hi Chris,
could the stability you describe controling also be described along the lines of binding uke's body? Not in a full on pin per se, but still creating enough of a thinning of uke's structural integrity that their power cannot recover sufficiently?
Not that I've got much skill at aiki, but when I get the sense I've initiated a techique well, I also have the feeling I can change directions and move uke around me and use them as a shield, more or less at will...as long as they keep extending through their legs and don't collapse or completely lose their balance and go the way of gravity.
What do you think?
Cheers,
Matt

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Old 02-23-2008, 05:25 PM   #118
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
...Blending doesn't seem to resolve anything at all. Yes, you avoid the bull, but he is still "in the fight".
I've been thinking about this some more in terms of the . Please someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe includes the method of entry/connection; includes the method of remaining connected/musubi and blending; and includes the method of gaining complete control (an explosive or exponential quality), usually by way of pin or projection. They're incomplete concepts in my mind, but with what I'm able to apply, they make me think blending ( ) is part of the formula. That for aikiwaza to happen, there must be that in which the harmonized/blended force of nage is explosive or somehow exponentially increased in nature; which happens through the musubi/connection.
...Maybe a bit abstract...

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Old 02-23-2008, 06:40 PM   #119
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Quote:
could the stability you describe controling also be described along the lines of binding uke's body? Not in a full on pin per se, but still creating enough of a thinning of uke's structural integrity that their power cannot recover sufficiently?
Yes, That's a good word for it. It took about three years to get decent with it. I had been exposed to it while training in Daito Ryu but couldn't figure it out. John Clodig trained me in it. Yanagi Hara Ryu.
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Old 02-23-2008, 07:11 PM   #120
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Matthew,

I don't have a take on it right now....thought I did, but know I am re-evaluating things some. At this point I am lacking words to quantify or objectify what I think is going on.

Also, not sure these days how important it is to mentally/verbally explain it, or if you can! that is, from a holistic point of view.

I am starting to see issues with reductionist definitions that try and distill things down to basic 1,2,3, "this is what is going on".

The flip side is this: "it is like water running over a rock". Doesn't really tell you much in the way of being helpful!

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Old 02-23-2008, 07:14 PM   #121
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Yes it makes sense, however this is the very thought I am trying to resolve in my mind right now. Blending doesn't seem to resolve anything at all. Yes, you avoid the bull, but he is still "in the fight".

Also, what are the mechanics of the neutralization. That is, what are the standard conditions that must be in place for neutralization to be in effect?

Certainly irimi is an option, and a good one if you cannot handle the bull!

But are you really blending as you enter during or after the irimi, or is there something else going on?
A key principle of our Aikido is "The fight is over at the moment of contact." How we do this is with irimi. Should the uke wish to continue then we progress through a technique to it's end point. At every point in irimi/blending you are safe from harm and the uke is exposed...Our Hanmi/Stance and foot work are closer to Daito Ryu in concept then Aikido as though we were in Ken te Ken.We use a half step and keep our axis centered on the Uke's axis. So... continuing with the Bullfight anology the Bull will continue to try and attack but the Matadors position enables him to inflict damage and "tire" the bull out at the same time The more he bull tries to attack the swifter the resolution becomes...At every point of "blending" the Nage can strike or throw while the Uke cannot...

If you get the chance Kevin there are quite a few Youtube videos out now of Shoji Nishio Shihan and his students demonstrating the principles of "irimi/blending."

Every one of our "irimi's" starts with an Atemi in order to "take the ukes mind" and enter into the technique.... as Shoji Nishio has said another key principle of proper Aikido is to execute it with the rythem and flow of Atemi.

Over the years we've continue to try and modify and improve our Aikido so that it is effective against other Martial and Grappling Arts. Our "ground waza" still needs allot of work in my opinion but the Senior Yudansha are taking steps to understand the newer methods and improve our Aikido's effectiveness so we can preserve Aikido's relevance as a Martial Art.

I understand this may be an oversimplification but I am working on trying to articulate these concepts so that the reader my understand what the heck it is I am trying to describe. LOL

William Hazen
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Old 02-23-2008, 07:35 PM   #122
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Thanks William, I understand your point of view and perspective on this. I don't disagree.

I will check out the videos hopefully tonight!

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Old 02-23-2008, 10:42 PM   #123
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I've been thinking about this some more in terms of the . ...
includes the method of entry/connection;

includes the method of remaining connected/musubi and blending; and

includes the method of gaining complete control (an explosive or exponential quality), usually by way of pin or projection. ...
think blending (circle) is part of the formula. ... there must be that (square) in which the harmonized/blended force of nage is explosive or somehow exponentially increased in nature; which happens through the musubi/connection.
Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
...what are the mechanics of the neutralization. That is, what are the standard conditions that must be in place for neutralization to be in effect?
Certainly irimi is an option, and a good one if you cannot handle the bull!
But are you really blending as you enter during or after the irimi, or is there something else going on?
I have thought about this a great deal -- often at greater length out loud than most have patience for. But doing so has brought me to a summation in these terms:

Triangle relates to Irimi and Kuzushi: Balance is deflected to its external limits of stability by direct entry - visualised as a wedge, or plow -- kiri-otoshi or suri-otoshi -- fundamentally tangential action. Even in yokomenuchi uchi-mawari entries, contact of one hand with the advancing strike forms a triangle with the countering hand striking uke, like the wedge or plow -- carrying his balance to its uttermost limit.

Circle relates to Tenkan and Tsukuri -- Momentum is further directed and converted tangentially or centripetally (tenkan) to alter the plane of rotation or potential rotation (moment) (both fundamentally right-angle concepts- i.e - Juji) in three dimensions -- that produces three dimensional spiral paths.

Square relates to Juji and Kake -- The momentum may be constrained radially or tangentially (respectively, the uprights and crossmembers of the square) and in that regard constrained either inward or outward in affect (the opposed parallels of the square) the to the point of an inevitable release either of projection nage-waza or reduction of the connection (osae-waza youch).

Some more practical observations:

One point of said triangle is directly aimed at uke's center, one at nage's center and one away from both. A triangle is rigid and points in one of these three ways depending on the sense of emphasis on the other two. Uke can cover one or two but never all three, because he only has two points of support.

Triangles literally point the way if you see them. From that example, consider the triangle formed by the connections in the yokomenuchi uchi mawari entry :: uke and nage's joined hands -- uke's arm connected at his body -- and nage's hand connecting to uke's body in atemi.

If uke's striking energy in the hand is relatively strong -- the counter-atemi point of the triangle at uke's center shows the way to iriminage or whatever else you find there.

If his connection is relatively strengthened at that point to deflect nage's counterstrike, then the point of the triangle where uke's attacking hand joins nage's blending hand shows the way. It points him further out of his center into sumiotoshi or whatever you like.

Or, if he strengthens both of his points simultaneously (trying to stop and reassess, essentially), the point of the triangle at nage's center shows the way and nage moves his own center out and across -- the classic set up for shihonage, kokyunage, or what have you.

Similar relationships (sometimes squashed in a certain dimension) can be found that tie other engagements into the same basic entry principle.

Even when those 3d spirals are squashed into a single two dimensional plane curve there is still strong moment (rotation potential) that wants to break the plane and so there is hidden reserve of physical response along the suppressed plane of motion that is quite literally not perceptible until uke tries to go there, only to find a wall already poised and falling on him.

While the crossing moments and the boundary of gravity and ground are stable ( antoerh set of images for the square), the constraint of the square is only critically stable. If need be, the square figure can still collapse catastrophically into release in shear sideways (image of the square racking sideways and the side toppling together). In reality, it happens along the third plane of spiral orientation, (the image of a stick figure cube racking and collapsing in torsional shear, or the Daito-ryu image of asagao - the opening and closing of morning glory blossom) With that additional rotation potential, more reduction/projection/destruction remains to be delivered, if necessary.

In osae-waza, the momentum making up the 3d spiral motion is critically constrained through the connection in a progressively damped fashion (the opposite of releasing it) transforming the momentum of body rotation into moment ( potential for rotation) -- simultaneous moments in two planes (thus the square image) bounded by the ground and gravity, making movement structurally impossible.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 02-23-2008 at 10:55 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:06 AM   #124
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

Quote:
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At this point I am lacking words to quantify or objectify what I think is going on.
Hi Kevin,
I hear you on that! I have such a vague sense of what is going on most of the time that I'm pretty unconfident whenever I really try to articulate my take on things. I can usually feel the difference, so my training is usually one of gaining "body-feel," but when it comes to descriptions...I'm left wanting.
Eric,
thanks for the descriptions! They're definately more in depth than I can muster right now. Good food for thought! At times I have a hard time utilizing the triangle circle square concepts because they take a certain degree of imagination that can be very difficult to make useful. Abstractions like those are particularly difficult for westerners perhaps too. Still, I find they do create an interesting contrast. I liken them to being top-down in approach to learning, where the more scientific approach Kevin was describing is bottom-up. I try to use both with the idea of approaching understanding from both ends, but I have to admit one seems to take a lot more mental energy.
Anyhoo...I'm tired and tomorrow I get to go jump in glacier run-off half naked so: pleasant dreams everyone (daydreams for those of you in the middle of your day)!
Take care,
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:45 AM   #125
Aiki1
 
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Re: Strategy and Aikido

At this level (technical) I work with three things - loss of balance where an attempt at recovery can occur, loss of balance where there is no way to recover, and a loss of structural integrity where there is no way to recover. For me, this is done through two processes, depending on the nature of the attack - either full on, or more controlled.

If full on attack, the process I teach is Musubi - Tsukuri - Kuzushi - Release. In the process of Musubi (connection and flow), my positioning and angles (part of Tsukuri) allow for the Kuzushi (my definition is allowing someone to lose their balance) to take place, then one just releases what ever anchor Nage is giving them and they fall.

If the attack is more "sophisticated" meaning not over-extended etc., the process becomes Connect - Blend - Track - Lead - Resolve. This can take a little more time, because Nage must process the interaction such that through tracking Uke's movement, speed etc., Uke "tells" nage exactly where the Avenue of Release (as I think of it) is as the interaction unfolds, and thus Kuzushi etc. happens.

Loss of structural integrity is a little more subtle, in a sense, in that Uke doesn't necessarily perceive why the loss is happening, he just experiences falling down, or more often, collapsing down or inward....

All of the above, for me, depend on what we term "Kinesthetic Invisibility" - the skill of not giving any reference to Uke as a result of "proper Aiki" i.e., at this level, Musubi and Tracking - thus there is nothing for Uke to react to, nor is Nage "doing anything" per se, to Uke. Nage is "going along 'with' the ride" and allowing a somewhat different outcome to occur than originally intended by the attacker.

As far as Square, Circle, and Triangle, for me they flow into each other - Nage starts in the Square, aware of the eight directions that are possible for attack - moves into a Triangle entry for proper position and angle, and then allows the Circle - or actually Sphere - to manifest, which is the proper execution of Technique, or in my mind, the Release.

This addresses some of the "physical" elements - for me there are other levels that can be taken into account as well.... emotional, mental, energetic, and spiritual....

Anyway, just a few random thoughts....

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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