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Old 06-13-2008, 06:26 PM   #1
Bill Danosky
 
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Am I turning to the dark side?

I'm at an interesting juncture in my Aikido training path. The philosophy of the dojo I belong to is something like "power through perfect technique". I feel like I have a decent possession of the kyu waza and I'm even pretty happy with my jiyu waza. But lately I'm wondering how much there is beyond the mere techniques.

Yoshinkan Aikido is not known for emphasizing Ki. Chida Sensei famously held up his car keys once and said, "Ki? This is Ki."

I'm not so sure. There's a big part of me that says ALL martial arts are about war BUT I think my progress is leveling off because I'm still fighting instead of harmonizing. The Force is not strong with this one and whether it's "Jedi or Sith" I'm going to get to the next level.

I know what I should be doing but I'm just not buying into the "budo is love" thing like I need to.
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Old 06-13-2008, 06:32 PM   #2
crbateman
 
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

So explore... The more you experience, the more you will know. How can you make decisions about your own path without having as much information as possible? In a nutshell, ki is for some people, but for others, it isn't.
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Old 06-13-2008, 06:43 PM   #3
Keith Larman
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

As a guy who has been jokingly referred to as Anakin on occasion, I say explore. I've gotten out on the mat with folk doing daito-ryu as well as various other styles. For myself I hope to understand aikido better by better understanding its roots and influences. So I look to the weapons, I look to the originating arts, and I try to understand how what we do today came from those things. People like O-sensei did not develop his skills in one day from nothing. And many of his first generation of deshi themselves have considerable backgrounds prior to devoting themselves to aikido. So I see no reason why one shouldn't expand horizons in order to better understand what we do now.

YMMV, but I say explore and keep an open mind.

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Old 06-13-2008, 07:57 PM   #4
Enrique Antonio Reyes
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Lightbulb Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

Aikido is more philosophical than physical. Nope, you're not turning to the dark side you're probably just succumbing to reality...

Iking
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Old 06-13-2008, 08:24 PM   #5
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

IMHO, some will consider this turn as towards the dark side because it is not the direction they are going. Others will consider it turning towards the light because that the direction they are going. Turning to the dark or the light is a matter of perspective.

Of course, I am one of those mat rats who are constantly respecting what I have while staying open to what I don't have yet.

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 06-13-2008, 09:37 PM   #6
Dathan Camacho
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

Quote:
I know what I should be doing but I'm just not buying into the "budo is love" thing like I need to.
Alright, I'm throwing this out there with my usual "I'm a young person new to aikido" caveat.

The shihan at my previous dojo used to joke with us sometimes and say "with all my love" as he completed a technique with a pin. We'd kind of laugh, because that statement always led directly to temporary pain and a tap out, which was ironic and funny.

But - if you put that in the context of a bar fight or something, where that pin, albeit temporarily painful, might prevent someone from doing something stupid and maybe going to jail, you could construe the pin, and the pain that accompanied it, as an act of love. Maybe it's a more enlightened, more evolved interpretation of the "take 1 life to save 100" philosophy.

I'd like to hear other's thoughts on this. I personally don't think you're at the point of "going over to the dark side." Love doesn't have to be a group hug.
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Old 06-14-2008, 03:13 AM   #7
Stefan Stenudd
 
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A chance to retreat

Quote:
Dathan Camacho wrote: View Post
But - if you put that in the context of a bar fight or something, where that pin, albeit temporarily painful, might prevent someone from doing something stupid and maybe going to jail, you could construe the pin, and the pain that accompanied it, as an act of love.
Nishio sensei regarded every irimi entrance as giving the attacker a chance to stop the attack and retreat. This way, he saw aikido as a forgiving budo. His way of doing the aikido techniques usually contained not just one, but several moments where the attacker had a chance to halt and step back.

Where there is a winner, there will be a loser. I think that Osensei was aiming at a budo with neither, to do away with fighting completely.
It is an ideal, difficult to realize - but I think it should be strived for.
And oddly enough, this attitude leads to the most superior techniques.

Stefan Stenudd
My aikido website: http://www.stenudd.com/aikido/
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:54 AM   #8
Lauren Walsh
 
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

One of my instructors once said that when he was training overseas a sensei told him "You are fighting; you will never learn anything!" I often remind myself of this when I find I'm resorting to strength and forcefulness.

As for the "love", I think it is something that can be contemplated on many different levels. It is said that "Budo is love". When one takes it upon themselves to learn a Budo form, they automatically assume a certain responsibilty associated with this. That is to protect the weak, uphold justice, promote peace, etc. I personally do not believe that learning a martial art should be purely a selfish endevour, but rather as a means to benefit others.

Then there is the philosphy of Aikido relating to Universal love and harmony, which is in turn embodied within the physical martial aspect of Aikido. But then I think these ideas stem straight from Budo itself, therefore itsn't strictly confined to Aikido.

At a technical training course I attended a few months ago, "love" was also defined as the respect you have for your opponent. Mostly it related to keeping correct ma-ai and a respectful distance from the very, very beginning so that you are in a somewhat safe and correct position before beginning any movement or technique. We were constantly reminded to "love our enemy" - not in an airy fairy way - but in a practical martial common sense.

You aren't drifting to the darkside!! You have come out and raised these questions for a start which is a fantastic way to start to explore these concepts.

"The warrior's ultimate ideal is for when the sword resides not in the hand, but in the heart."
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Old 06-14-2008, 03:05 PM   #9
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

Thank you, everyone, for your comments and encouragement. It's closer to the truth to say my intention's been to drift away from the dark side. I spent twenty years or so studying other martial arts and sought out Aikido a few years ago, attempting to soften my mentality.

My nature does tend to reassert itself so I have to stay focused on using my powers for good. So I'm trying to convince myself O Sensei's super powers were found through peace and love, hoping that will help me embrace it. But when you hit those plateaus in your training, the old habits seem very familiar and very alluring.
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:52 PM   #10
Dathan Camacho
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Re: A chance to retreat

Quote:
Nishio sensei regarded every irimi entrance as giving the attacker a chance to stop the attack and retreat. This way, he saw aikido as a forgiving budo. His way of doing the aikido techniques usually contained not just one, but several moments where the attacker had a chance to halt and step back.
And he specifically pointed out these moments when he demonstrated techniques? Could you give an example, maybe a specific technique? I ask not to challenge the concept, but to understand it better.
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:57 PM   #11
Aikibu
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Re: A chance to retreat

Quote:
Dathan Camacho wrote: View Post
And he specifically pointed out these moments when he demonstrated techniques? Could you give an example, maybe a specific technique? I ask not to challenge the concept, but to understand it better.
Yes he did. This is the basic philosophy behind his Waza.
I suggest clicking over to the Aikido Journal Website and perhaps purchasing his book or purusing Stan's excellent archive of Nishio Shihan.

William Hazen
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:51 PM   #12
giriasis
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

Or, others might just seeing you going Mando'ade, ner vode.

Reject the jetiise and the darjettii.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:17 PM   #13
mickeygelum
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9PTMSwr1h0

Mr. Camacho...Hope this provides you with your answer. Even though it does not address your question directly, it provides the answer to the question.

Train well,

Mickey
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Old 06-14-2008, 09:18 PM   #14
Dathan Camacho
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

Wow! That's an awesome aikido video, on many levels!

Thanks for posting that. Sensei Gelum, will we see you in Denver next month?
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Old 06-16-2008, 08:34 AM   #15
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

Hi Bill,

I wouldn't worry about the peace and love stuff so much. I think Keith L.'s answer is a great one. Be open enough to get out and look at some different things, especially if they can provide context for aikido and where it comes from.

Some other important points (crucial, I believe) is to look at ***what*** powers your waza. Is your uke off balance the moment they touch you? Can you perform your waza slowly, and still have the same unbalancing affect on uke? Can you maintain your structure under non-cooperative attacks?

I think there are some answers to these questions, but I no longer expect someone to teach me these answers...I think we have to dig deep into our selves for these. Know your own body...and find the truly best ways to use it.

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 06-16-2008, 12:46 PM   #16
mickeygelum
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

Quote:
I think there are some answers to these questions, but I no longer expect someone to teach me these answers...I think we have to dig deep into our selves for these. Know your own body...and find the truly best ways to use it.
Ron Tisdale
The essence of self-victory.....

Mr.Camacho
...I am not sure at the moment. I will know in a week or two if I am able to attend Nationals or not. I am going to try, is Mink Sensei going to be there? Give him my regards, please.

Train well,

Mickey
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:18 PM   #17
phitruong
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

Quote:
Bill Danosky wrote: View Post

I'm not so sure. There's a big part of me that says ALL martial arts are about war BUT I think my progress is leveling off because I'm still fighting instead of harmonizing. The Force is not strong with this one and whether it's "Jedi or Sith" I'm going to get to the next level.

I know what I should be doing but I'm just not buying into the "budo is love" thing like I need to.
"Resistance is futile!" oh wait! wrong sci-fi. wonder if the borg and the sith could join force, the borg of sith or sith of borg.

have not considered budo as love. compassion and mercy, maybe; not love. at least not yet. doesn't one need to know what fighting is before know what harmonizing, or vice versa? yin and yang sort of thing?

I also heard that the dark side threw great parties.
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Old 06-16-2008, 04:09 PM   #18
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Some other important points (crucial, I believe) is to look at ***what*** powers your waza. Is your uke off balance the moment they touch you? Can you perform your waza slowly, and still have the same unbalancing affect on uke? Can you maintain your structure under non-cooperative attacks?
Hi, Ron. You are well suited to hear my confession because it looks like you're also at a Yoshinkan school: My waza is more dependent on having good form than good movement. For instance, in Shiho nage I can keep my uke unbalanced, even when I'm working slowly as long as I have a good wristlock.

This is why I named this thread what I did. When you watch your uke's eyebrows raise, you know you're getting pain compliance, not real kuzushi. At this point in my practice, I feel like I should be getting beyond forcing non-cooperative ukes to receive the technique.

So I'm glad Uke can't do walkaways when I don't want them to. But I'm not having the magic Aiki moments I thought I'd have by now. I don't necessarily like torturing my practice partners but I'll take it over "Aiki-dance class".
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Old 06-16-2008, 04:22 PM   #19
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

Hey Bill,

The 4rth Dans at the Doshinkan only cause me pain when they **want** to... I still have trouble keeping the "float" without *any* pain...but I can use much less than I used to!

Best,
Ron (don't look for magic, look for a LOT of sweat equity...)

Ron Tisdale
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St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 06-16-2008, 04:53 PM   #20
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
don't look for magic, look for a LOT of sweat equity...
Spoken like someone who has both!
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Old 06-16-2008, 05:23 PM   #21
Dathan Camacho
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

Ron, it sounds like you've reached the point where progress becomes harder to measure, i.e. when Aikido becomes less about memorization (like remembering footwork) and more esoteric, where you start to develop a 6th sense. Does this sound right? I can't really relate because I'm still in the memorization phase, but I'd be interested in hearing other's insight on this. How do you measure progression once you've covered all the basics and the milestones are less obvious?
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Old 06-17-2008, 03:27 AM   #22
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

Quote:
Dathan Camacho wrote: View Post
Ron, it sounds like you've reached the point where progress becomes harder to measure, i.e. when Aikido becomes less about memorization (like remembering footwork) and more esoteric, where you start to develop a 6th sense. Does this sound right? I can't really relate because I'm still in the memorization phase, but I'd be interested in hearing other's insight on this. How do you measure progression once you've covered all the basics and the milestones are less obvious?
Skip the memorization,
Cut to the chase find someone that can teach you how to train "what" is "supposed" to be trained in the techniques and you'll find all that rote memorization to have been a major waste of neuron space
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Old 06-17-2008, 07:38 AM   #23
rob_liberti
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

well, as far as sith and borg, I think they covered that a to a degree with Darth Vadar.

As far as 6th sense, (first I find the first 5 are hard enough!): When I cut happo giri, I leave my mind with the previous cut all the way until I make the next cut. I do the same in multiple attack. So when I throw someone, I leave mental focus on that person until I deal with the next person. In that way, I develop some sort of 6th sense. I used to think it also had something to do with reading people's attacks a bit - but recently I've met people who move so differently that I'm not so sure that is as much of the same type of sense as I initially thought.

I believe that 7th sense in aikido is about seeing patterns of energy in nature and how it related to what you are doing with your body in martial arts. The Harmony of Nature does a great job demonstrating this type of stuff.

8th sense is probably getting into mysticism and is getting away from what I would consider aikido.

NONE of that has much to do with internal training. That doesn't have to be the dark sde, you can be an aiki jedi if you like.

Rob
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Old 06-17-2008, 09:53 AM   #24
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
NONE of that has much to do with internal training. That doesn't have to be the dark side, you can be an aiki jedi if you like.
What if you don't like? Mmwaa ha ha ha ha.
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Old 06-17-2008, 05:49 PM   #25
Dathan Camacho
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Re: Am I turning to the dark side?

Quote:
Robert John wrote: View Post
Skip the memorization,
Cut to the chase find someone that can teach you how to train "what" is "supposed" to be trained in the techniques and you'll find all that rote memorization to have been a major waste of neuron space
Right, but some of us are still mastering the first five senses - things like not falling down before uke!
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