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Old 08-18-2008, 03:43 PM   #1
mathewjgano
 
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revelation "vs" intuited aiki

I've read (or, read into it) that a lot of the IMA folks are essentially saying aiki is counter-intuitive and that because of this one has to learn it from someone who knows in order to actually learn it. My feeling is that with intensity of purpose one should be able to simply look inward to discover "it." I'm not saying teachers aren't a necessity. In fact they're crucial to time management, but I get the sense that these skills are being presented as if they're not innate to us and that seems silly to me.
I'd appreciate any thoughts folks might have which might clarify this issue for me.
Take care,
Matt

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Old 08-18-2008, 04:22 PM   #2
Jonathan
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

Quote:
I've read (or, read into it) that a lot of the IMA folks are essentially saying aiki is counter-intuitive and that because of this one has to learn it from someone who knows in order to actually learn it.
If I follow this thought back to the very first person to discover these "counter-intuitive" aiki principles and I ask myself how they figured it out without a teacher, I find myself very much in doubt about the notion that aiki must be taught. Is there some reason, apart from time and motivation, that would prevent me or you from making the same aiki discoveries without a teacher? I don't think so. Granted, having a teacher show me aiki would be much faster than divining the aiki way for myself, but actually figuring out aiki principles by oneself I believe can be done by anyone who has interest and time enough to do so.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 08-18-2008, 04:50 PM   #3
raul rodrigo
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

I believe in the need for aikido to be passed on "body to body". Of course we all express aikido waza and principles in our bodies in highly individual ways. But the initial jump in understanding, to my mind, requires body to body contact with someone more adept. As Mike Sigman and others say, it has to be felt, or else its just too easy to take a wrong turn. Take something as simple as suwate kokyu ho. I was doing it wrong for oh, eight or ten years, and it took hands on experience with several shihan to feel the difference between what i was doing and what they were doing. otherwise, it's just too difficult to figure out how to "float" someone at the first contact, without effort and by sourcing the power from the hara and not the shoulders and arms.
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:40 PM   #4
bkedelen
 
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

It is not my understanding that the IMA guys think you have to learn internal skills directly from them, they are just saying that you have to have felt the application of the skillset so that you even know what you are pursuing. Basically it is like walking a tight rope. If you had never seen a person walk a rope and were asked if you thought it was possible, you would say probably not. Once you see that it can be done, nothing stands in your path other than practice (falling off a rope 1,000 times). You do not need to learn to walk a tight rope from a guy who can do it, you just need to know that it is possible.

Last edited by bkedelen : 08-18-2008 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 08-18-2008, 11:19 PM   #5
JamesC
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

Well said Benjamin.
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:37 AM   #6
MM
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I've read (or, read into it) that a lot of the IMA folks are essentially saying aiki is counter-intuitive and that because of this one has to learn it from someone who knows in order to actually learn it. My feeling is that with intensity of purpose one should be able to simply look inward to discover "it." I'm not saying teachers aren't a necessity. In fact they're crucial to time management, but I get the sense that these skills are being presented as if they're not innate to us and that seems silly to me.
I'd appreciate any thoughts folks might have which might clarify this issue for me.
Take care,
Matt
From personal experience, I have found that it is very, very hard to learn it without someone to teach it to you. Looking inward with intensity of purpose will not get you these skills. They are not "innate" in that you have to train in specific exercises to gain a specific martial body.

Look at it this way, if you wanted to be a pro cyclist, would having a 280 pound, 40% fat - body type help or hinder? Or do you need a lean, no fat body type to compete as a pro cyclist? And there are exercises for that. Okay, so you want to be a front guard (sorry, not a football person) for a football team. Will a 110 pound, 0% fat body type work? Or would a 300 pound sumo be better? Bulking up helps. And there are training environments for that. Can you do either with just looking inward with intensity of purpose? Why do you think the kata and all the training are there for in the first place? They are supposed to be exercises for building a martial body, not something you learn to do out in the real world.

Quote:
Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post
If I follow this thought back to the very first person to discover these "counter-intuitive" aiki principles and I ask myself how they figured it out without a teacher, I find myself very much in doubt about the notion that aiki must be taught. Is there some reason, apart from time and motivation, that would prevent me or you from making the same aiki discoveries without a teacher? I don't think so. Granted, having a teacher show me aiki would be much faster than divining the aiki way for myself, but actually figuring out aiki principles by oneself I believe can be done by anyone who has interest and time enough to do so.
So, how do you know it was only one person? Since these skills date back to at least early China and possibly before then, how do we know it was one person. It's nice to sit and think that someone just invented this stuff, but realistically, I'd have to say it was more of a group effort over long periods of time. And it didn't have to be the same group.

Let me ask you this ... through time and motivation, have you discovered how to stand feet side by side, shoulder width apart, arms relaxed to your side and take a full force push from someone bigger than you to your chest and you just stand there without involving your arms and without readjusting your feet and without being bowled over? It is a very disconcerting feeling to be on the pusher's end of that.

This isn't the "aiki" of moving around an attacker and trying to "blend" with the person. This is the "aiki" that allowed Ueshiba, a small man, to resist Tenryu's, a very large man, attacks. This is the "aiki" that allowed Shioda to toss large men around. This is the "aiki" that allowed Tomiki to let Judo men grab his wrist and watch them fail miserably as they tried everything on him.

It isn't intuitive and it isn't easy. It takes direct teaching to get it. But, the good thing is that it doesn't take full time direct teaching. Just look at Takeda and Ueshiba. They didn't have a full time teacher-student relationship. Takeda taught Ueshiba and then traveled around. He came back and taught Ueshiba some more -- I'm guessing because Ueshiba actually worked on what Takeda told him. Repeat as necessary with some longer teaching intervals.

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
It is not my understanding that the IMA guys think you have to learn internal skills directly from them, they are just saying that you have to have felt the application of the skillset so that you even know what you are pursuing. Basically it is like walking a tight rope. If you had never seen a person walk a rope and were asked if you thought it was possible, you would say probably not. Once you see that it can be done, nothing stands in your path other than practice (falling off a rope 1,000 times). You do not need to learn to walk a tight rope from a guy who can do it, you just need to know that it is possible.
IMO, you have to study with someone who has the skills. Period. It is far too easy to not get things right. However, once you have a start, you can work on things by yourself. And that's where the time and effort come in. You have to do the work - solo and paired. It really isn't like walking a rope where you actually have a chance to do it without guidance.

Think about it ... if it was like that, then why isn't it prevalent? Ueshiba taught hundreds. Shioda taught hundreds. Tomiki, Tohei, etc, etc, etc. How many have had their hands on these teachers and felt what can be done? How many know and/or knew what could be done? Now, how many can actually do?
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Old 08-19-2008, 08:42 AM   #7
Ketsan
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I've read (or, read into it) that a lot of the IMA folks are essentially saying aiki is counter-intuitive and that because of this one has to learn it from someone who knows in order to actually learn it. My feeling is that with intensity of purpose one should be able to simply look inward to discover "it." I'm not saying teachers aren't a necessity. In fact they're crucial to time management, but I get the sense that these skills are being presented as if they're not innate to us and that seems silly to me.
I'd appreciate any thoughts folks might have which might clarify this issue for me.
Take care,
Matt
I could probably have developed all the skills I have now on my own, or with a partner. But it would have taken me a lifetime probably.
For me the most important thing my instructor has is the experience of Aiki. He knows what it feels like and he knows how he got where he is.
So he can make me do the same things he did until I feel something, get on the end of my technique and then he can say "Right, that's what you're looking for" or more often "No, try it again." If you like he just guides my intuition.
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Old 08-19-2008, 09:05 AM   #8
Erick Mead
 
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
From personal experience, I have found that it is very, very hard to learn it without someone to teach it to you. Looking inward with intensity of purpose will not get you these skills. They are not "innate" in that you have to train in specific exercises to gain a specific martial body.
Look at it this way, if you wanted to be a pro cyclist,...
... start riding a bike, stopping only when necessary to sleep, eat and attend to personal needs. That pretty much covers it.

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
They are supposed to be exercises for building a martial body, not something you learn to do out in the real world.
Dealing out hard blows and learning to receive them with minimal impact used to be something one actually did out in that there "real world." Nothing has changed in regard to what is necessary -- only our sensibilities about what we consider "normal" in the "real world."

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Think about it ... if it was like that, then why isn't it prevalent?
Because we got out of the habits that developed the foundations -- like no longer doing heavy manual labor and discouraging people from hauling off and hitting one another on a fairly regular basis? Those are both facts. Nothing more is necessary to explain it, and Occam's razor cuts off the remainder of the supposition.

Have you studied what traditional uchi-deshi training entailed? The secret formula is as old as the hills -- Chop wood, carry water, scrub floors. Heavy, repetitive tasks build efficient basic movement and body carriage. There is no substitute for work. Dojo time was nothing but shape and polish.

Now the legitimate question is how, in our present environment, to have workable substitutes for those basics (or to engage in them in a modern setting) -- and then how to refine that raw material. No one should pretend at ancient secret principles that don't at some point involve something like hauling lumber and hacking brush.

Look at the IMA exercises -- actually look at them. Imagine loads where loads would be carried if you had them. Look at the kokyu undo, and imagine wielding tools where tools might be wielded in them. They are all little more than structured imitations of the effort of actual labor. For this reason they probably do work if done right. That is the only reason for having people to correct you in doing them, because keeping the illusion of actual loads is critical, and that takes some imaginitive focus. Kettlebells work wonders for most of them.

OR, you could chop wood and carry water. The skill is no secret, and the body will learn carriage and efficiency on its own if you are mindful in dealing with ACTUAL heavy repetitive loads and body extension tasks like cutting, tossing, lifting, sweeping, raking etc.

The better course for refinement from those basics in our culture I take different view of, and it can take a variety of forms, but the basics are not really in question, on either score, even if they may be misunderstood.

Me, I do and have done a lot of construction. I practice at not quite hitting people in aikido. IOW, 90% of my aikido is an atemi and the last 10% (or so) of every atemi I just leave off, in most settings. If pushed my innate and intuitive response it to hit the person pushing me. Why? Because like every other human being, I inherited the hindbrain of a killer ape.

We can pretend better but we do not alter nature, we only provide it another outlet. We have to work to restrain that. Most of the time we succeed only in waiting to hit him better. It is what we want to do and is innate and intuitive and left to its own devices we seem to kill pretty well, with minimal training, and technology has removed much of that restraint.

My considered sense of aikido is that it is best considered as a leash on a well-loved but very bad dog. That is why it is more necessary now in a technologically violent but physically passive culture than it was when those aspects were reversed in prominence. Nature has not changed merely because capabilities have shifted. This is as poorly understood among the "more power now" crowd as is the relationship between traditional labor and traditional budo.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 08-19-2008 at 09:08 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:27 AM   #9
Jonathan
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

Quote:
So, how do you know it was only one person? Since these skills date back to at least early China and possibly before then, how do we know it was one person. It's nice to sit and think that someone just invented this stuff, but realistically, I'd have to say it was more of a group effort over long periods of time. And it didn't have to be the same group.
Whether it was a group effort or a single person, the discovery or development of internal power at the very beginning was not taught by a teacher. Inasmuch as this is true, it is not impossible, then, to repeat this feat. That was my point.

Quote:
Let me ask you this ... through time and motivation, have you discovered how to stand feet side by side, shoulder width apart, arms relaxed to your side and take a full force push from someone bigger than you to your chest and you just stand there without involving your arms and without readjusting your feet and without being bowled over? It is a very disconcerting feeling to be on the pusher's end of that.
Your above remarks and question are completely off my point. I made no comment on what it would be like to be unable to push someone over. I'm sure it is, as you say, "disconcerting."

Quote:
This isn't the "aiki" of moving around an attacker and trying to "blend" with the person. This is the "aiki" that allowed Ueshiba, a small man, to resist Tenryu's, a very large man, attacks. This is the "aiki" that allowed Shioda to toss large men around. This is the "aiki" that allowed Tomiki to let Judo men grab his wrist and watch them fail miserably as they tried everything on him.
I've never suggested otherwise. What does this have to do with my original comment?

Quote:
It isn't intuitive and it isn't easy. It takes direct teaching to get it. But, the good thing is that it doesn't take full time direct teaching. Just look at Takeda and Ueshiba. They didn't have a full time teacher-student relationship. Takeda taught Ueshiba and then traveled around. He came back and taught Ueshiba some more -- I'm guessing because Ueshiba actually worked on what Takeda told him. Repeat as necessary with some longer teaching intervals.
That's nice. I remain unconvinced, however, that direct teaching is absolutely necessary. That may have been your experience, but that doesn't mean it is necessarily every one else's. Figuring out aiki stuff can be aided in a multitude of ways these days: books, videos, weekend seminars, careful thought and experimentation. Yes, I'm sure its really cool and instructive to actually feel well-developed aiki ability, but for those who do not have ready access to such ability it is the other means upon which they will have to rely. I think it is untrue that such teacher-less folk will garner nothing positive from their efforts.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:56 AM   #10
MM
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

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Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post
Whether it was a group effort or a single person, the discovery or development of internal power at the very beginning was not taught by a teacher. Inasmuch as this is true, it is not impossible, then, to repeat this feat. That was my point.
So, you're saying that you can, in one lifetime, repeat what a group or groups of people have done over many lifetimes?

If not, then it does matter whether it was a group effort and how long it took. Since neither of us knows for sure, it's a moot point. Or it would seem. However, if it was an individual within a lifetime, then by that very nature, many, many people in the martial arts would have "rediscovered" it in their 20+ year career.

Since that hasn't happened (in essence, there have been no greats reproduced. Unless you know of someone of Shioda, Tomiki, or Tohei caliber), it's much more plausible to view it historically as something other than one individual in one lifetime.

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Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post
Your above remarks and question are completely off my point. I made no comment on what it would be like to be unable to push someone over. I'm sure it is, as you say, "disconcerting."

I've never suggested otherwise. What does this have to do with my original comment?
It would seem that my view of "aiki" is certainly different than yours. Otherwise I dont' think your comments of confusion wouldn't have been made.

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Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post
That's nice. I remain unconvinced, however, that direct teaching is absolutely necessary. That may have been your experience, but that doesn't mean it is necessarily every one else's. Figuring out aiki stuff can be aided in a multitude of ways these days: books, videos, weekend seminars, careful thought and experimentation. Yes, I'm sure its really cool and instructive to actually feel well-developed aiki ability, but for those who do not have ready access to such ability it is the other means upon which they will have to rely. I think it is untrue that such teacher-less folk will garner nothing positive from their efforts.
Granted, it is my experience. And, granted, someone, somewhere could possibly figure it out without a teacher. Personally, I'd say the chances of that are like winning the Powerball jackpot lottery, getting struck twice by lightning, and having a meteor hit you -- all at the same time. But, that's just my opinion. It's also my opinion that you won't get it from books, videos, seminars, thought, or experimentation -- until you get firsthand training experience in it.

But then again, Matt wanted some answers from people and I gave mine. If you think that my posts and answers sound way out of touch, then I would say that your definition of "aiki" and mine are not the same in any way, shape, or form. So, if that's the case, then when dealing with "aiki" from the "IMA" people, you might want to take a step back, throw out all preconceived ideas on what you know about "aiki", and take a good, hard look at what people are saying and doing.

What was Ueshiba supposed to have said when Tenryu couldn't push him over? I knew the secret of aiki. In a push test, the secret of aiki kept Ueshiba solid. Ueshiba's small 5 foot frame versus Tenryu's large 6 foot frame. So, we go back to the same question -- can you withstand a push? Because to do so requires the secret of aiki. No secret of aiki, then how are you doing "aikido"?
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:03 PM   #11
Jonathan
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

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So, you're saying that you can, in one lifetime, repeat what a group or groups of people have done over many lifetimes?
Hmmm...I thought my meaning was pretty clear. What I mean is what I said (or, more precisely, wrote).

Quote:
If not, then it does matter whether it was a group effort and how long it took. Since neither of us knows for sure, it's a moot point.
What I may or may not be able to do doesn't necessarily limit what others may or may not do. Neither you nor I can be used as a universal standard of comparison. Thus, my point is not entirely moot.

Quote:
However, if it was an individual within a lifetime, then by that very nature, many, many people in the martial arts would have "rediscovered" it in their 20+ year career.
Only provided they were looking for it, had "found" it, and were rigorously practicing it.

Quote:
Since that hasn't happened (in essence, there have been no greats reproduced. Unless you know of someone of Shioda, Tomiki, or Tohei caliber), it's much more plausible to view it historically as something other than one individual in one lifetime.
My personal knowledge of the aiki abilities of all aikido teachers is hardly exhaustive. There may be teachers who are highly skilled in the use of aiki of whom both you and I are unaware.

Quote:
It would seem that my view of "aiki" is certainly different than yours. Otherwise I dont' think your comments of confusion wouldn't have been made.
Oh, I don't know...I think how one may obtain aiki skills differs from yours, but that's all you can really comment on without doing so from ignorance.

Quote:
Granted, it is my experience. And, granted, someone, somewhere could possibly figure it out without a teacher. Personally, I'd say the chances of that are like winning the Powerball jackpot lottery, getting struck twice by lightning, and having a meteor hit you -- all at the same time. But, that's just my opinion.
Its an opinion that is both hyperbolic and conflates disparate things. If developing aiki skill were really as difficult as you say, it would never have been discovered at all. Moreover, developing skill is completely unlike matters of chance. I could explain the difference, but I don't like explaining the obvious.

Quote:
It's also my opinion that you won't get it from books, videos, seminars, thought, or experimentation -- until you get firsthand training experience in it.
Of course, you are entitled to your opinion - as I am to mine.

Quote:
But then again, Matt wanted some answers from people and I gave mine. If you think that my posts and answers sound way out of touch, then I would say that your definition of "aiki" and mine are not the same in any way, shape, or form.
Uh, where do I say anything like this? I have only commented on whether or not one may develop aiki skills apart from the direct guidance of a teacher. You have repeatedly tried to expand the intent of comments to suggest far more than they do. Why is that?

Quote:
So, if that's the case, then when dealing with "aiki" from the "IMA" people, you might want to take a step back, throw out all preconceived ideas on what you know about "aiki", and take a good, hard look at what people are saying and doing.
Nothing I've said warrants this comment at all. You know absolutely nothing about what I have or haven't considered, what my preconceived notions might be, or at whom I have or haven't "looked hard." Why are you so quick to make assumptions based on ignorance?

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Old 08-19-2008, 02:10 PM   #12
Timothy WK
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

I think the truth is somewhere in the middle between what Mark and Jonathon are saying.

I think it's obvious that certain people HAVE learned *some aspects* of these skills by themselves. I can throw up a couple Youtube videos of people who, IMO, display low-level or proto-internal skill. I have also met a couple aikido-ka that displayed, IMO, a "relaxed solidness" that I now think indicates low-level or proto-internal skill.

But notice I said "some aspects"/ "low-level"/ "proto-skill". I don't believe those people are ever going to get much farther without a qualified instructor.

For one thing, I believe those people train rather inefficiently, as far as internal skill goes. Take those aikido-ka---the people I've met have enough skill that you take notice, but beyond that they're nothing special. And they've been at it for 15-20 years. I've been practicing overt internal exercises for 1.5 years, and I'll probably pass them up in another 6-12 months.

And the time issue is a big one. Even when you're on the "fast track", it still takes several years to condition the body before you can start attempting the more "mysterious" and "amazing" things.

Beyond that, there's some stuff that's almost unimaginable unless you have someone who can actually show you that, yes, it's possible. Maybe if you did a lot of experimentation you might stumble onto some of it---because obviously, someone at some time did stumble onto it, and then passed the knowledge on---but most people don't realize that there's anything beyond what they're already doing, so they don't even try.

Last edited by Timothy WK : 08-19-2008 at 02:16 PM.

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Old 08-19-2008, 03:03 PM   #13
RonRagusa
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
What was Ueshiba supposed to have said when Tenryu couldn't push him over? I knew the secret of aiki. In a push test, the secret of aiki kept Ueshiba solid. Ueshiba's small 5 foot frame versus Tenryu's large 6 foot frame. So, we go back to the same question -- can you withstand a push? Because to do so requires the secret of aiki. No secret of aiki, then how are you doing "aikido"?
From Aikido Journal:

Mr. Saburo Wakuta: Sumo Champion Tenryu And Morihei Ueshiba

by Stanley Pranin

Aiki News #76 (December 1987)

"Ueshiba Sensei brought Mr. (Noriaki) Inoue with him. After they showed some techniques, Ueshiba Sensei said: "You are probably thinking that we cannot possibly do these techniques without some sort of collusion between us. Since you are all martial arts practitioners, if there is a man among you, come and test this old man." However, no one stepped forward. At 35 I was the youngest among them. I had recently arrived in Manchuria and several government officials were observing the demonstration. I thought that I should test my own ability and said, "Yes, I will try". Ueshiba Sensei replied: "You are Mr. Tenryu, aren't you? You too are probably imagining that an old man like me won't be able to throw you very well. However, budo is much more than what you think it is. He offered his left hand saying it was weaker than his right and continued: "You must be quite strong physically. I am not putting strength into my arm so you can do anything you want with it. Try!"

I thought that this old man was speaking nonsense and slapped his hand down as I grabbed it. But the moment I touched him I was startled. I felt as if I had taken hold of an iron bar. Of course, I knew very well from my experience in Sumo that it would be useless to struggle against him. I immediately knew I had been defeated. However, I couldn't just leave things like that and attempted to twist his arm up and out. He didn't move an inch. I tried again with both hands using all my might. But he used my strength against me and I fell down."

I see grabbing, slapping and twisting mentioned; nothing about pushing. Is there another test that occured between Ueshiba and Tenryu? If so I'd be interested in reading about it.

Best,

Ron
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Old 08-19-2008, 03:13 PM   #14
ChrisMoses
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
I see grabbing, slapping and twisting mentioned; nothing about pushing. Is there another test that occured between Ueshiba and Tenryu? If so I'd be interested in reading about it.

Best,

Ron
From my favorite OSensei interview...

Quote:
O Sensei: Yes. I met him when we were making the rounds after a celebration marking the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the government of Manchuria. There was a handsome looking man at the party and many people prodding him on with such comments as, "This Sensei has tremendous strength. How about testing yourself against him?" I asked someone at my side who this person was. It was explained to me that he was the famous Tenryu who had withdrawn from the Sumo Wrestler's Association. I was then introduced to him. Finally, we ended up pitting our strength against each other. I sat down and said to Tenryu, "Please try to push me over. Push hard, there's no need to hold back." Since I knew the secret of Aikido, I could not be moved an inch. Even Tenryu seemed surprised at this. As a result of that experience he became a student of Aikido. He was a good man.
Probably describing the same event, and both would have been translated, but OSensei describes the event as being unmoved while being pushed.

Chris Moses
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:30 PM   #15
mathewjgano
 
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

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Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
It is not my understanding that the IMA guys think you have to learn internal skills directly from them, they are just saying that you have to have felt the application of the skillset so that you even know what you are pursuing. Basically it is like walking a tight rope. If you had never seen a person walk a rope and were asked if you thought it was possible, you would say probably not. Once you see that it can be done, nothing stands in your path other than practice (falling off a rope 1,000 times). You do not need to learn to walk a tight rope from a guy who can do it, you just need to know that it is possible.
We basically agree (I think I would have said "yes" in your analogy ). I think the vast portion of learning takes place with the aid of a teacher of some kind or another and that direct interaction with the things we seek to learn is how people learn about them the best. Your example of falling 1000's of times basically describes the 1000's of times a person practices something and in so doing refines his or her approach approximately the same number of times. With no corresponding understanding, it seems likely those refinements will be done more or less at random, which takes a lot more time to find a way that works. You can either borrow a guide or hope you have enough correlating understanding of your own to make good guesses. Either way, it's always quicker if someone can just tell you specifically what you should be doing; the tricks they've acquired that make the task at hand work best for them.

Quote:
Mark wrote:
Looking inward with intensity of purpose will not get you these skills. They are not "innate" in that you have to train in specific exercises to gain a specific martial body.
Here I mean that whatever the feeling we're looking for is, we should be paying the strictest attention to it. A lot of folks describe the need to feel it; that seems like an internal issue to me so I feel inside to get the internal shape of things and that takes consistent focus for me. Intensity of purpose just means always doing our best to pay fullest attention to the lesson before us.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 08-19-2008 at 05:33 PM.

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Old 08-19-2008, 07:26 PM   #16
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
OR, you could chop wood and carry water. The skill is no secret, and the body will learn carriage and efficiency on its own if you are mindful in dealing with ACTUAL heavy repetitive loads and body extension tasks like cutting, tossing, lifting, sweeping, raking etc.
Well put Eric.

Spending years of throwing 75 to 125 lb hay bales onto wagons and into hay lofts is good way to develope internal strength.

David
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:37 PM   #17
RonRagusa
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
From my favorite OSensei interview...

Probably describing the same event, and both would have been translated, but OSensei describes the event as being unmoved while being pushed.
Thanks Chris.

Best,

Ron
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:37 PM   #18
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

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David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Well put Eric.

Spending years of throwing 75 to 125 lb hay bales onto wagons and into hay lofts is good way to develope internal strength.

David
Yay!:

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Old 08-20-2008, 06:01 AM   #19
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

Just seems kind of funny ... you have people who have experienced the IMA version of "aiki" saying basically the same thing ... it's different and you have to train differently to get the skills. And then, you have all the people who haven't experienced the IMA version of "aiki" saying just train more in what you're doing or do some heavy work.

So, I guess the decision is yours for which you think is going to clarify the issue ...
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Old 08-20-2008, 08:37 AM   #20
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

I think the decision is yours to decide what clarifies your issues for you.

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 08-20-2008, 08:46 AM   #21
Timothy WK
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I've read (or, read into it) that a lot of the IMA folks are essentially saying aiki is counter-intuitive and that because of this one has to learn it from someone who knows in order to actually learn it.
Matthew, I wanted to speak about this a bit---internal skill is both intuitive and counter-intuitive at the same time. It is paradoxical. The big issue---in the beginning, at least---is that you have to quite literally re-learn how to use the body.

It is intuitive because exploring the body is inherently a deeply personal adventure. It certainly IS about looking inward, trusting your body, and learning to be honest with yourself. Words can be used to describe what you (approximately) feel, but ultimately, the kinesthetic experience is something that can never fully be communicated. As such, the task of the IMA student is to interpret what certain advice means on a physical, biomechanical level, within their own body.

But it is counter-intuitive because re-learning how to use the body means going against what we already know. IME, there are two issues that make self-study of IMA extremely problematic, if not outright impossible:

The first is that IMA involves not simply refining skills we already have, but it involves learning totally new skills. Thus we have no frame of reference for what precisely we should be doing. IME/ IMO, internal skill involves developing conscious control over biomechanical functions that normally are controlled subconsciously. Since these functions are normally subconscious, we quite literally have no intellectual concept of how to engage them, let alone what these functions can do. The various mental imagery and meditative techniques associated with IMA training---particularly all the "intention" talk---is designed to engage the subconscious and activate those latent abilities. (In time, as the student becomes familiar with these various abilities, they can discard the mental tricks and engage the function directly.)

The second issue is that we all have various bad habits that impede our practice that we are often unaware of, as well as misperceptions of what is or isn't a correct habit. IME, good form is the first step in developing internal skill, and if someone did have perfect posture/alignment/etc, they probably would intuit a baseline of internal skill rather quickly. (The "external-to-internal" paradigm that many JMAs use is to developed good form, and then use the personal insight and sensitive granted by that form to guide internal development.) But noone has perfect form, and as I said, most people have in fact a poor understanding of proper bio-mechanics. Without someone to point out these unseen issues---ie, a teacher---at best these habits will slow down progress, but at worst, the student might start reinforcing their bad habits and block any progress at all. Personally, I view the "it must be felt" sentiment as being less about feeling what others are doing, and more about having a teacher who can feel what you're doing, and can correct what you're doing physically.

Last edited by Timothy WK : 08-20-2008 at 08:51 AM.

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Old 08-20-2008, 10:54 AM   #22
Allen Beebe
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

Kinda like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk9_340xqeU

Only IME the "trying" part usually lasts longer than the Hollywood version and the "doing" part usually would manifest as a dribble down the arm at first but I'd still be ecstatic. Both the doing trigger and the doing result are developed over time. (The wall is one aspect of "teacher" )

I liken the process to learning to wiggle your ears, or better yet, learning a musical instrument. At first one starts with the idea of what we want to do and the intent to do it. Then one fiddles around until one slowly builds the skills necessary to manifest the idea. During the process, experience and imagination mutually influence each other. At some point one can begin to "make music" without having to mind all of the particulars that they needed at the beginning of the process.

Now say a person heard of an instrument popular in the middle ages called a DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD. Just having heard ABOUT it, one is rather unlikely to be able to reproduce in the original. Having seen one helps. Having seen and heard (experienced) one helps much more. Getting to work hands on with one, hear it regularly, and be instructed on how to play it oneself is obviously going to be, not only of great advantage, but also will greatly insure the fact that one is learning to play a DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD and not ones personal conception of what a DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD is based purely on here say.

Of course this can all be complicated if an individual or a group of individuals handed out TREFINGLEs, called them DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOODs, teaching folks how to play them. The students might set up DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD schools where they faithfully taught, as they were taught, the TREFINGLE, and so on and so forth. Until the schools spread throughout the world and everyone "knew" that a DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD school teaches the TREFINGLE, what that looks like, what that sounds like, and what it takes learn it.

If that were to happen, someone actually playing a DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD might not be recognized as such. In fact they might be told that they are doing something completely different. "That is no DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD that I've ever seen!" Or perhaps some would say, "We do that." Thinking that blowing an producing a sound is the same. It might be possible that other DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD players would recognize the sight and/or sound of a DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD and come out of the shadows and reluctantly say, "That is what I was taught a DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD is too." But then there would be so few of them that it would be difficult to be truly convincing.

I'm a slow learner and my teacher is dead so what does that mean for me?

BTW, for those of you interested, the DOUBLE Eb HYPOLAXODOCHRIAN SNOOD really is an instrument. If you think you can reproduce it on your own here is a descriptive "Doka" written by an anonymous monk to help you on your way!:

O Snude y-soune lyk a goose
Ichot be a rabyd vertyng moose
O sowne that verteth syc a blyster
A rabyd moose y-bitte my syster.

-Anon. Margarinalia Codex Digitalis

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Old 08-20-2008, 11:05 AM   #23
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

Rotfl!!!
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Old 08-20-2008, 11:12 AM   #24
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

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David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Well put Eric.

Spending years of throwing 75 to 125 lb hay bales onto wagons and into hay lofts is good way to develope internal strength.

David
Dan answered this idea far better than I could have.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...&postcount=166

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
If you tried, you could not be more perfectly...wrong.

Since I was brought up by a farm boy turned contractor, into a family of contractors, taught how to carry and manage loads like shoveling all day, carrying 100lb shingles up a ladder, or bags of mortar or brick, long before I got out, I learned to do everything you just mentioned. I learned a much more practical means of shoveling and carrying than most guys ever would and used more lower leg and back power. Add to that- that I lived in the Gym mostly power lifting and wrestling for fun.
None...of which prepared me for meeting a little man from Japan with a different idea. Which he kept saying to me was "Danny...different" while showing me things to do with my body. And none of that I truly got till I STOPPED lifting and started training solo to change my body.
.
You are far, far from being the only one to have told me all this. I have yet to have a single guy walk through my door or train with me anywhere- who wasn't training internals- and could do anything we do. Most will tell you it feels unnatural and weird, and takes some getting used to. Just the way we train to carry our weight and walk or hit is counter intuitive. Even after being shown, they can't do it and default back to norms they and everyone else uses.
And *THAT* is the mistake in your idea of first training under heavy load. You default...every time.
Most experienced people already know that
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Old 08-20-2008, 11:59 AM   #25
Ron Tisdale
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Re: revelation "vs" intuited aiki

Allen, that was PRICELESS!!!

You get the golden ring for the year!

Best,
Ron (and again it is funny how one group simply speaks what they have experienced, and another group claims the first group "has issues"...I had THOUGHT we'd gotten past all that)

Ron Tisdale
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