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Old 10-02-2008, 09:56 AM   #126
Mike Sigman
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Wanted to be clear in what I meant. I think Mike , or Ark could utilize these skills, sans waza to neutralize Jim's aikido.
I'd prefer to be left out these wild speculations, Dan. It's OK for you to say you could kick Jim's butt (I wouldn't take bets either way, personally), but speculating what would happen in some imaginary contest between Jim and me is more than I want to be volunteered for.

Best.

Mike
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:07 AM   #127
DH
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

That's fine, Mike.
But I wasn't even getting close to talking about kicking someones butt. Thats a whole different topic, that doesn't even belong here with the people involved. Jim's a great guy. I'm narrowing the topic down to talking about how he seems to marginalize internal power and its inherent skill sets in use. Thus, I'm talking about training and how sees things- not fighting, in the same way we talk about and train to use these skills in grappling, when we go at pell mell, we don't look at it as getting in a fight either.
In some ways what I am sayng is worse. Aikido is milder. I was making a case for skills sets- internal skills sets,and aikido skills sets; inherent power in what the body alone can do with internal-skills in use, V aikido skills and waza in use. And stating they could nuetrailize his aikido skills *without* using waza. It's not a challenge to a fight or any other such nonsense. I am curious as to why he opts to never discuss that and only stress the other end-trained waza, or waza to support this training, and that "this" training is *push* tests. It reads like someone learning ikkyo and thinking aikido is only ikkyo and believing it.

Last edited by DH : 10-02-2008 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:04 AM   #128
MM
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
I'd prefer to be left out these wild speculations, Dan. It's OK for you to say you could kick Jim's butt (I wouldn't take bets either way, personally), but speculating what would happen in some imaginary contest between Jim and me is more than I want to be volunteered for.

Best.

Mike
Mike,
I'm going to be a bit argumentative here. The speculations aren't wild.

I think if you ask *anyone* at your Itten workshop just what kind of skill level we were exposed to, *no one* there would answer that they were in your league. In fact, speculation of this kind has been conversational pieces between various people for a little while now. It is just that no one really ever wanted to say it out in public.

Seriously, I see and feel some of what you do and I see vids of Tohei and I don't think Tohei is in your league. Certainly, that is my informed opinion, but I think it's true.

There are people with 30-40 years in the Aikido world that aren't in your league either. We (the aikido world) missed something in the training. It's a bold statement but I think it's almost time for people to start opening their boxes and taking a hard, critical view towards just how long all the greats took versus how long quite a lot of us have spent so far to get nowhere near the greats.

I know you've worked hard to get where you are now. You've had to. I look at just my small start and how tough it is sometimes to do the exercises, the paired work, keeping the mental focus, and not deceiving myself about where I'm at. But, it wasn't the long hard 40 year road to mastery that many are told Aikido takes.

You put a three year student of judo or grappling against a 3 year student of aikido and I know just how many people would bet against the aikido student. We rationalized away that, oh, aikido just takes longer to get proficient in. Time to stop doing that. It's a lie.

And you are part of the proof. So are Dan, his students, Akuzawa and his students. And just to add a more solid case, Ikeda went outside to train with Ushiro to get the skills.

I gotta run, so I'll finish this later ... probably in another thread ...

Mark
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:39 AM   #129
Toby Threadgill
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
And just to add a more solid case, Ikeda went outside to train with Ushiro to get the skills.
Mark,

That's not entirely true. Ikeda and I are good friends. We've taught together and discussed this topic several times. Ikeda had very good internal skills long before he met Ushiro Kenji. It was his previous exposure to internal skills that allowed him to recognize them in others and to pursue them wherever he found them.

I will agree that Ikeda is perhaps outside the norm in the aikido community as he is willing to venture outside the box to evaluate tools he can use to improve his expression of Aikido. That's how Ushiro Kenji ended up being invited to Ikeda's Summer Camp.

Toby Threadgill
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:58 AM   #130
MM
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

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Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
Mark,

That's not entirely true. Ikeda and I are good friends. We've taught together and discussed this topic several times. Ikeda had very good internal skills long before he met Ushiro Kenji. It was his previous exposure to internal skills that allowed him to recognize them in others and to pursue them wherever he found them.

I will agree that Ikeda is perhaps outside the norm in the aikido community as he is willing to venture outside the box to evaluate tools he can use to improve his expression of Aikido. That's how Ushiro Kenji ended up being invited to Ikeda's Summer Camp.

Toby Threadgill
Hi Toby,

Thank you for the clarification. Even with it, I still have a lot of respect for Ikeda. I hope that he's progressing rapidly in his training. He was very subtle and soft when I got, ah, about 5 to 10 seconds hands on time with him.

I'm looking forward to catching him at another seminar sometime in the upcoming year or two and getting just a bit more hands on time.

Mark
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:10 PM   #131
Jim Sorrentino
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

Dan,
Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Jim
You spend a lot of time being seemingly contrary, and stressing either aikido and or simply skills over the power inherent in this type of training. Or at least that Aikido skills are equal to this training
Would you please provide an example of this? Honestly, I do not believe that I do this. Sorry to be so contrary!

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
You have met and trained with people who train this way as well. Your statements - when viewed as a whole in many posts - seem to express an opinion this training appears to be just another *thing* you need to do, just another *tool* in your tool box.that is marginally or partly useful in your Aikido. This would exaplin your notion of obesseeive training against multiple arts and kohei and sempai and many hours training in waza.
Again, would you please provide an example? Mark Murray asked us to speculate how the "greats" became great, and I offered a few possibilities --- none of which included "many hours of training in waza", by the way --- in addition to "this training".

No, I do not regard "this training" as just another tool in my tool box. But I am also curious about Ueshiba's other skills, such as those displayed and analyzed in the fine article on Aikido Journal here: http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=704. You may recall that Rob Liberti referred to the ability of Mitsugi Saotome and other senior aikidoka under his tutelage to move in such a way that they seemed to "disappear". How does the training that you do relate to the skill that Ueshiba displays in the portion of the film discussed in the article above?

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Am I correct then in reading you, that apparently you feel you can handle Ark or Mike with your Aikido? That what they do is fine, but really your aikido skills would take them apart? If not-why not?
No, you're not correct --- in fact, I do not believe that I have written anything that would lead a reasonable person to that conclusion. Would you provide an example where I have said something like this?

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I find this curious as I have seen a totally different response. Everyone I have met from 3rd Dan to 6th dan, has decided what I am doing....that the training I've shown and what they feel I am displaying- in use-is the essence of aikido. They have decided this almost immediately

So...why do you think there is such a different view between them and you?
Again, I need a cite. I believe that in all my writing about my encounters with Mike Sigman, Rob John, and Minoru Akuzawa, I have not said anything disparaging the essential nature of this training for high-quality aikido.

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
You never seem to support the idea that these skills are also stand alone power in use, you don't state it, and only stress the obverse view -such as in your quote above- when the subject is brought up. All while only talking about a push test.
Dan, please correct me if am wrong, but you yourself seem to distinguish between "these skills" and the ability to use them in a dynamic environment. That's what I believe you mean by "stand-alone power in use" --- if not, please explain.

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Is this how you currently see these skills-as push tests? That's fine if it's due to the fact that it's all you been shown at your current level is just push tests, so its all you are currently able to assess? However, if you have been shown more, why not talk about that-since you brough it up. In other words, if you have been shown more, are your comments, in reducing these skills only to push tests, designed to demean this type of training or marginalize it? Or genuinely how you feel?
No, I do not see these skills as "mere" push-tests. Could you please cite an example where I have said that? It was you (and more recently, Mark Murray) who brought up the push test.

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
If your comments are genuine, and not political I guess it explains why you still see Ueshiba's power as waza training.
My comments are genuine, but I have never expressed the opinion that I view Ueshiba's power as waza training. (If you believe that I have, please provide the cite.) As you know, I study aikido under Mitsugi Saotome and Hiroshi Ikeda. (I believe that you have never been on the mat with either one --- is that correct?) Neither of these teachers is known for his focus on waza --- far from it, in fact. Both focus on principle-based training. That is what interests me. By the way, you should also know that I have nothing but disdain for aikido "politics" --- for example, I have hosted many people at my dojo who are not in my own teachers' tradition/approach --- so please don't try to pin that label on me, thanks.

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I find it curious as I'd bet that on any day I could take your entire Aikido skill set apart and stop you cold, while...only...using these skills without any defined waza at all. For some reason, I think I'd include both Ark and Mike in that bet as well.
Let's be very clear: you and I have never met. I have never even seen a picture of you. Further, I do not believe that there are any videos of me doing aikido floating around --- so all you have to go on concerning my skill set is what you have been told. But let's say that you are correct in your wager: what would that prove? Please remember that I have stated that I found both Mike Sigman's and Minoru Akuzawa's skills and methods inspiring.

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Being that I find your sentiments curious I'm wondering;
How do you see these skills- in light of or in comparison to-your aikido skill sets?
I've said it before, and I will say it again: "these skills", as I have seen them most recently expressed by Mike Sigman and Minoru Akuzawa, are essential to practicing high-quality aikido --- and you may quote me on that!

Sincerely,

Jim
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:42 PM   #132
Aikibu
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

Wheeeew!!!

Where have I read this stuff before???

Aikido sucks ad infinitum...

Aikido sucks because it's not "realistic"

Aikido sucks because there's no fighting...

Aikido sucks because there's no internal power...

Perhaps I started this ball rolling by giving props to some IMA folks out of respect but let me make this perfectly clear...

In one of my favorite movies Doc Holliday once said to Johnny Ringo..." I am your huckleberry."

Folks know where to find me too and a few have visited with knowledge of this stuff (and no in the spirit of others here if they wish to identify themselves they can )

All I can say is anyone's Aikido will improve with knowledge and training in this skill set but to dismiss Aikido entirely because one cannot kick someone else's a** with it or without it is ridiculous. I KNOW our Aikido's technical curriculum holds up against almost any Martial Art.

I do plan on visiting some folks to be sure so let's try to blend together a bit better shall we when we do meet... I don't want to hurt anyone. and I am too old to be hurt too. LOL.

Back to the subject of thread as Joko Beck Roshi once put it to me" Do not be in such a hurry.... The lessons of a lifetime take a lifetime to learn. Learn appreciate each day instead."

Mastery is a JOURNEY not a DESTINATION. One can always improve and polish what they know into something new and become "better"...

William Hazen

Last edited by Aikibu : 10-02-2008 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:46 PM   #133
rob_liberti
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

Saotome sensei's ability to disappear is my absolute favorite thing about his aikido. Several - but still only few - of his students can do it. I experienced Pete Trimmer sensei doing it to me on a yokomenuchi strike! That was just weird... Marsha Turner disappeared on me while I was 1 of 3 people attacking freely in randori. I almost attacked one of the other attackers. That was impressive for her and almost embarrassing for me. Jane Doyle disappeared on me once too. That's it in my experience with the ASU. There may be more people who can do it, or do it once and a while. But it's certainly not a common thing. * I * still cannot do it. Outside of the ASU, I experienced this with Takeda Yoshinobu sensei and several of his senior students (he had like 6 people in class that were 6th dans and some of them did it pretty well too). That was fun and inspiring.

I do wonder if the current skill set I'm learning will help me with this kind of thing. It is a totally different way of moving (HA! moving with center and all) then what I had been doing and it is really hard to read. I used to think you MUST learn this skill set to ensure the person attacking you had to commit some weight if they ever were going to seriously try to hit you. I no longer think that this is a MUST - but I will always consider it a NICE TO HAVE.

My personal and most recent experience with Ikeda sensei was that _some_ of the things he tried about 2 years ago do not stand up to the level of internal training I am doing now. I would NOT be entirely shocked if what he was experimenting with 2 years ago has been completely revamped. I like that about him. He tries things, a lot ... and that is inspiring...

Rob
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Old 10-02-2008, 01:01 PM   #134
DH
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

Thanks Jim
That's the type of clarification I was looking for. As I stated it "appeared" -when I go back and read a composite of your views, and consider both what you say and more importantly what you do not say whenever these skills are brought up. It made me curious to read what you think if I asked for a more clear and concise statement.

Quote:
Dan, please correct me if am wrong, but you yourself seem to distinguish between "these skills" and the ability to use them in a dynamic environment. That's what I believe you mean by "stand-alone power in use" --- if not, please explain.
I separate internal power, from internal skills, from fighting ability using the above. Then in levels of stress and experience. The point I was making is that internal power and skills in and of themselves are so substantial that I use them to stop grapplers without resorting to fighting back. So aikido-which I consider to be far less stressful environment in a martial sense-would be no problem. I mentioned it as it "appeared" you were being overly focused on "Aikido technique" and technical expression. Why did I bring it up? Because you yourself never seem to mention or discuss internal skills as a stand alone potent skillset like so many others who are training this way themselves tend to do. It left me curious as to whether maybe Ark or Mike didn't demonstrate what these skills are capable of in some of their classes or they did and you were unconvinced. I know that both are very capable so again that curious questions of how you relate your abilities to deliver with waza to their ability with internal power and skills.

Quote:
By the way, you should also know that I have nothing but disdain for aikido "politics" --- for example, I have hosted many people at my dojo who are not in my own teachers' tradition/approach --- so please don't try to pin that label on me, thanks.
Yes, Good on you. It will be interesting to hear where you go with your training after having so many different people in. In others words with correct training in five to seven years, you should become one of the most substantial martial artists in the aikido world, and none of the teachers you are hosting should then be able to do much with or to you without a great deal of trouble.
Good luck in your training
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Old 10-02-2008, 01:12 PM   #135
Mike Sigman
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I think if you ask *anyone* at your Itten workshop just what kind of skill level we were exposed to, *no one* there would answer that they were in your league. In fact, speculation of this kind has been conversational pieces between various people for a little while now. It is just that no one really ever wanted to say it out in public.

Seriously, I see and feel some of what you do and I see vids of Tohei and I don't think Tohei is in your league. Certainly, that is my informed opinion, but I think it's true.
No offense, Mark, and you've met me enough to know that I talk offhand and directly in person exactly as I do in writing... but with no animus.

First of all, I don't like becoming part of a discussion. It's what I meant by "ad hominem"... the actual issue changes to personal stuff and I dislike it because it constantly goes off topic.

Me personally and my skills? They're mediocre, Mark. I've met some real professionals and I'd honestly peg my skills at mediocre because that's my accurate gauge. Tohei's skills? I know a few things he didn't know (I can see that in the way he moves and the things he did in his techniques), but those few extra things I know don't pull the balance toward me being better than Tohei. My judgement of Tohei would easily be that overall he was better than me by a pretty good amount. He is/was a martial artist; I'm someone who focuses on the how's and why's of internal strength development. Probably someone at the Itten Dojo will wind up in the next few years being more skillful than I am and they'll be doing it in more of a martially-organized context than I do.... they will be more in line to be compared to Tohei. I'm not.
Quote:
There are people with 30-40 years in the Aikido world that aren't in your league either. We (the aikido world) missed something in the training. It's a bold statement but I think it's almost time for people to start opening their boxes and taking a hard, critical view towards just how long all the greats took versus how long quite a lot of us have spent so far to get nowhere near the greats.
Well sure there are people with a lot of time in Aikido, karate, judo, Tai Chi, etc., who don't have the internal strength skills that I do, but in the Kingdom of the Blind, the one-eyed man is king. In other words, what happened with the loss of the ki skills damaged many peoples' abilities who sincerely applied themselves to a number of various arts. Those arts are simply waiting to be reinvested with the skills. Since I don't practice any specific martial arts anymore, I'm actually outside of that conversation. To me, personally, I feel like an interested spectator watching the denouement of a soap-opera. Nothing more. Seriously. Someday when your own skills get pretty advanced, you'll be able to see what my real level is and you'll appreciate the fact that I didn't over-blow my own horn or allow anyone to do if for me.
Quote:

I know you've worked hard to get where you are now. You've had to.
The best thing we can do right now, in my opinion, is to get off all this talk about personalities and try to keep the topic of these skills as clinical as we can. The personality stuff is, again IMO, an embarrassment that doesn't belong in serious martial arts.

Show me what you can do... that's fine. I appreciated the effort you put into the videos you posted on YouTube. Talk about what you're practicing, what you think is most effective, how to do some basic and necessary skills in Aikido, and so on. But let's get off of the personality discussions (and I know that you mean well by them, so don't take me wrongly). Jim Sorrentino argues well and he can be rebutted factually without anyone's name being mentioned, if the topics are kept clinical. That level of professionalism in Aikido would be, IMO, as great a boon as instilling ki/kokyu skills back into the art.

Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 10-02-2008, 01:13 PM   #136
DH
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

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William Hazen wrote: View Post
Wheeeew!!!

Where have I read this stuff before???

Aikido sucks ad infinitum...

Aikido sucks because it's not "realistic"

Aikido sucks because there's no fighting...

Aikido sucks because there's no internal power...

Perhaps I started this ball rolling by giving props to some IMA folks out of respect but let me make this perfectly clear...

In one of my favorite movies Doc Holliday once said to Johnny Ringo..." I am your huckleberry."

Folks know where to find me too and a few have visited with knowledge of this stuff (and no in the spirit of others here if they wish to identify themselves they can )

All I can say is anyone's Aikido will improve with knowledge and training in this skill set but to dismiss Aikido entirely because one cannot kick someone else's a** with it or without it is ridiculous. I KNOW our Aikido's technical curriculum holds up against almost any Martial Art.

I do plan on visiting some folks to be sure so let's try to blend together a bit better shall we when we do meet... I don't want to hurt anyone. and I am too old to be hurt too. LOL.

Back to the subject of thread as Joko Beck Roshi once put it to me" Do not be in such a hurry.... The lessons of a lifetime take a lifetime to learn. Learn appreciate each day instead."

Mastery is a JOURNEY not a DESTINATION. One can always improve and polish what they know into something new and become "better"...

William Hazen
Interesting interpretation of what I said.
If you can do express internapower and internal skills, you would find not trouble with the idea of discussing "internal skills" as a martially viable set of skills without waza. Moreover that were a person to have them in a significant and measurable way...then another just using aikido waza, done without these skills doesn't stand a chance.
Your "feelings" about it wouldn't enter into it or be relevant to the discussion either way. And no where was "kicking someone's butt" a talking point. Why would anyone want to do that? Neutralizing and stopping them cold was. That is a physical debate not a fight. We do it all the time without anger or prejudice.

Last edited by DH : 10-02-2008 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 10-02-2008, 02:15 PM   #137
MM
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

It's really too bad that we all can't be sitting down over dinner discussing this instead of using the Internet. What fun we'd have over drinks. Maybe one of these days.

Mike,
I always enjoy your posts. Never any offense taken with them. I understand your point about personalities and instead talking about the skills. I'll try to keep to that. Someone else once mentioned doing that, too.

William,
We should get together when I'm out in San Diego. Any chance of that?
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Old 10-02-2008, 03:39 PM   #138
Aikibu
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Interesting interpretation of what I said.
If you can do express internapower and internal skills, you would find not trouble with the idea of discussing "internal skills" as a martially viable set of skills without waza. Moreover that were a person to have them in a significant and measurable way...then another just using aikido waza, done without these skills doesn't stand a chance.
Your "feelings" about it wouldn't enter into it or be relevant to the discussion either way. And no where was "kicking someone's butt" a talking point. Why would anyone want to do that? Neutralizing and stopping them cold was. That is a physical debate not a fight. We do it all the time without anger or prejudice.
Is this a discussion about Mastery or Internal Power? Is the only form of "Great Mastery" Aiki as expressed by some of it's proponents here?

I don't think so...

By the way Dan with all due respect. You're not the only one I am referring to in fact my reference is not limited to just those on the IMA side of the "debate" but Aikidoka as well. Perhaps I was not specific enough for you.

William Hazen
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Old 10-02-2008, 03:43 PM   #139
Aikibu
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

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William,
We should get together when I'm out in San Diego. Any chance of that?
Actually Mark (As we had discussed previously when you first mentioned your visit) a few of us we're planning on it. In my case it's depends on the health of my mom.

Hope to see you.

William Hazen
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Old 10-02-2008, 07:53 PM   #140
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
Wheeeew!!!

Back to the subject of thread as Joko Beck Roshi once put it to me" Do not be in such a hurry.... The lessons of a lifetime take a lifetime to learn. Learn appreciate each day instead."

Mastery is a JOURNEY not a DESTINATION. One can always improve and polish what they know into something new and become "better"...

William Hazen
William,

No one really cares if they have it or we have it or if anyone else has it.

In fact, even if you had "it", you couldn't put it to any kind of use. It will not bring back my loved ones. It will not send my kids to college. It will not put a roof over my head.

But, working hard every day, improving, bettering one's life is quite practical. It allows us the opportunity to choose prosperity in life. Keep doing what you do...keep your eyes open and you will improve.

Best,
Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

Joseph T. Oliva Arriola
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Old 10-02-2008, 07:57 PM   #141
rob_liberti
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

There are pool players who have pretty horrible lives. But they play pool better than everyone else. One of these guys explained that if makes the next shot his life would get just a little better...

I think about that a bit when it comes to training. I want to do each thing I do just a bit better.

Rob
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Old 10-03-2008, 08:36 AM   #142
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

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Rob Liberti wrote: View Post

I think about that a bit when it comes to training. I want to do each thing I do just a bit better.

Rob
Amen brother.
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:09 PM   #143
Jim Sorrentino
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Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia, Aikido Shobukan Dojo
Location: Washington, DC
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 221
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Re: How Long and In What Manner to Great Mastery?

Hi Mark,
Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
[...]I still have a lot of respect for Ikeda. I hope that he's progressing rapidly in his training. He was very subtle and soft when I got, ah, about 5 to 10 seconds hands on time with him.

I'm looking forward to catching him at another seminar sometime in the upcoming year or two and getting just a bit more hands on time.
Ikeda-sensei will be at Aikido Shobukan Dojo in Washington, DC, Thursday evening, February 5, 2009 - Sunday morning, February 8. Generally, about 60 to 75 people attend this seminar, and there are many opportunities for direct hands-on interaction with Ikeda-sensei. Also, you can stay in the dojo to reduce costs. There is more information at http://www.aikido-shobukan.org/seminars/?seminarid=73.

See you on the mat!

Jim
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