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Old 06-16-2009, 02:20 PM   #1
Marc Abrams
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040) The Depth of Irimi: Week of June 15, 2009

I am gaining a greater realization that the level of one’s Aikido (or any martial art for that matter) is reflected in one’s “irimi.”  A basic definition of the the word “Irimi” is the entering or putting into the body.  In a martial arts context, it is the entering into an attack.  There are many mistaken impressions of what “Irimi” should be.  They can range from moving off line and then forward into an attack; running straight into and overpowering the attack; and other endless variants of similar themes.
True irmi is at a point beyond timing.  True irmi is at a point beyond the simple harmony of movement.  True irimi is being ahead in time while still being in harmony.  True irimi does not come from a place of intention or desire.  True irimi does not invoke a sense of fear or anger in the attacker.  True irimi can soften the attacker’s body, can immobilize an attacker’s body, can create an instantaneous state of kazushi in the attacker’s body.  True irimi has a seemingly endless depth.  One’s progress can be directly measured by the ability of the nage to enter into the uke’s attack.
A simple, yet very deep starting point is shisei.  Progress naturally emerges from proper shisei.  A clue that I have recently gained from my trip to Japan is in the realization that when punching (atemi), it is the other hand that is most important, not the striking hand.
Marc Abrams Sensei


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Old 06-16-2009, 02:41 PM   #2
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: 040) The Depth of Irimi: Week of June 15, 2009

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
True irimi is being ahead in time while still being in harmony.
Isn't that essentially what Osensei said he was doing when he "dodged" a bullet?
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:35 PM   #3
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: 040) The Depth of Irimi: Week of June 15, 2009

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
I am gaining a greater realization that the level of one's Aikido (or any martial art for that matter) is reflected in one's "irimi."  A basic definition of the the word "Irimi" is the entering or putting into the body.  In a martial arts context, it is the entering into an attack.  There are many mistaken impressions of what "Irimi" should be.  They can range from moving off line and then forward into an attack; running straight into and overpowering the attack; and other endless variants of similar themes.
True irmi is at a point beyond timing.  True irmi is at a point beyond the simple harmony of movement.  True irimi is being ahead in time while still being in harmony.  True irimi does not come from a place of intention or desire.  True irimi does not invoke a sense of fear or anger in the attacker.  True irimi can soften the attacker's body, can immobilize an attacker's body, can create an instantaneous state of kazushi in the attacker's body.  True irimi has a seemingly endless depth.  One's progress can be directly measured by the ability of the nage to enter into the uke's attack.
A simple, yet very deep starting point is shisei.  Progress naturally emerges from proper shisei.  A clue that I have recently gained from my trip to Japan is in the realization that when punching (atemi), it is the other hand that is most important, not the striking hand.
Marc Abrams Sensei

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Hi Marc,
I look forward to when we can sit down and you can show me what you've been working on...

The whole thing about irimi that people don't necessarily get is that it is the Mind that "enters". People try to develop their physical "entry" without understanding the energetic or psychic side and they can't figure out why they can't do what the highest level teachers can do.

What is tremendous about a teacher like Ushiro Sensei is that he has a vocabulary to describe what you are trying to do and exercises designed to develop the capacity to do it.

I hope you've got some pictures...

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 06-16-2009, 06:32 PM   #4
raul rodrigo
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Re: 040) The Depth of Irimi: Week of June 15, 2009

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
when punching (atemi), it is the other hand that is most important, not the striking hand.
Marc Abrams Sensei
I'm sorry to have to ask, but what do you mean exactly? Seems like a cliffhanger ending to a blog entry.

best,

R
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:33 PM   #5
Marc Abrams
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Re: 040) The Depth of Irimi: Week of June 15, 2009

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Hi Marc,
I look forward to when we can sit down and you can show me what you've been working on...

The whole thing about irimi that people don't necessarily get is that it is the Mind that "enters". People try to develop their physical "entry" without understanding the energetic or psychic side and they can't figure out why they can't do what the highest level teachers can do.

What is tremendous about a teacher like Ushiro Sensei is that he has a vocabulary to describe what you are trying to do and exercises designed to develop the capacity to do it.

I hope you've got some pictures...
George:

I will give you a phone call hopefully this week. I will definitely show you some of what I am trying to work on. You have been of tremendous help to me, that is the least that I can do.

What is just as bad as someone not getting that the "mind" or the term I have learned "Mind-Body", is when people confuse that with intention. The hard part for people is learning to use their "mind" without intention. Once you feel that difference, .....

I will e-mail you some pictures !

Regards to you and "better" 1/2 !

Marc Abrams
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:43 PM   #6
Marc Abrams
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Re: 040) The Depth of Irimi: Week of June 15, 2009

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
I'm sorry to have to ask, but what do you mean exactly? Seems like a cliffhanger ending to a blog entry.

best,

R
Raul:

Try this experiment using 1/4 to 1/2 power only (you need a nice uke- buy the uke drinks later!):

1) Get in a traditional karate position to punch. Focus in solely on your punching hand when you punch a person in the chest.

2) Get in that same position and focus solely on the drawing in hand.

Ask your uke if there was a difference and what the difference was. The change from focus is similar to the issue of intention.

This topic can easily get lost in words. When you can feel the difference from things like this exercise you begin to enter into the depths of Irimi. I would highly recommend reading the book "Karate and Ki" for more detailed and better descriptions of this topic than I am currently capable of providing you with.

Regards,

Marc Abrams
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:48 PM   #7
raul rodrigo
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Re: 040) The Depth of Irimi: Week of June 15, 2009

If you focus on the drawing in hand instead of the striking hand, wouldn't that free up the entire body to do the strike, instead of clenching up? Endo shihan has a segment in a recent DVD where he discusses moving when uke has you in a strong morote-dori. He said the important thing is to move the free hand and that will open up the rest of the body.
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:30 PM   #8
Marc Abrams
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Re: 040) The Depth of Irimi: Week of June 15, 2009

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Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
If you focus on the drawing in hand instead of the striking hand, wouldn't that free up the entire body to do the strike, instead of clenching up? Endo shihan has a segment in a recent DVD where he discusses moving when uke has you in a strong morote-dori. He said the important thing is to move the free hand and that will open up the rest of the body.
Raul:

Purposeful intention in your body will definitely cause your body to tense-up (besides your fist). Physically and "mentally" releasing intention not only "frees up" your body, but the impact is even more profound upon the uke. I would go so far as to say that the nature of this type of "mind-body" movement applies to how we respond to any and all attacks. George Ledyard speaks very clearly about the importance of the mind (mind-body) entering into the other person's center before any movement takes place. The really difficult part is using this "mind" without intention.

Tonight, I had my students focus in on the differences (both nage and uke) when using one's intention in movement and letting go of intention in one's movement. This focus was on a very simple movement. When students (I ALWAYS include myself in this category) can feel how difficult this is to achieve as the intensity of the attack increases, students can gain some sense of the true depth of this topic. More importantly, the students gain a sense of real power in executing techniques.

Marc Abrams
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:21 PM   #9
Janet Rosen
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Re: 040) The Depth of Irimi: Week of June 15, 2009

Thank you for fascinating thread.

Janet Rosen
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:25 AM   #10
raul rodrigo
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Re: 040) The Depth of Irimi: Week of June 15, 2009

Hi Marc:

I think I know what you mean purposeful intention. Aikido, as my first teacher would say, is the art where the instant you try to do something, it won't work. So I think I follow at least part of what you are saying.

On the other hand, I have attended seminars with Japanese shihan where they talk about "intention." Or more precisely, they are speaking in Japanese and the word they use is then translated as "intention." As in: one sixth dan was telling us that in ikkyo, one's intention ("awareness", perhaps?) should not be on uke's arm but on a point maybe two feet behind him--that the waza should feel as if one is not acting on uke, but right through him.

Perhaps "intention" is a misleading translation for what they meant (and no, I didn't catch the actual Japanese word they used). But does any of this sound at all congruent with what you are saying?

best,

R
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:41 AM   #11
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Re: 040) The Depth of Irimi: Week of June 15, 2009

One thing I have wondered about Ushiro Sensei, and George Ledyard's posts about the mental aspect of his teaching ties in with this, is how does he tie in his iaido training with the concept of irimi described above?

I've never had the good fortune to train with Ushiro Sensei, but some of what I've seen reminds me of a video taken of an old Okinawan (in his nineties) doing irimi against a variety of weapons.
I think his name was Kurihara. Ring any bells?
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:17 AM   #12
Marc Abrams
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Re: 040) The Depth of Irimi: Week of June 15, 2009

Raul:

I would answer it this way. The precise nature of movement is entirely separate from conscious intention. Conscious intention is too slow. The practice of precise movement allows us to move at a pre-conscious level.

Oisin:

I hope that our paths cross on one of my trips to Japan. I would enjoy training with you followed by some good Japanese beer or sake....

There is no difference between Ushiro Sensei's sword work and empty-hand work. The best way to describe my experience is that a bunch of us put our hands on his body. As he made a movement to prepare to draw an imaginary sword, all of us felt him physically expand. He literally entered in a 360 degree manner. He was everywhere yet nowhere discernible. When his sword is drawn in this manner, you do not perceive it in the same time frame that it is drawn. His irimi is ahead of our awareness and connected to us at the same time.

With Imaizumi Sensei as a silent force and Ushiro Sensei as a more vocal force, if I cannot begin to comprehend and learn some of this stuff with such quality of teachers, I am beyond hapless and hopeless (which is how I feel more often than not) !

Marc Abrams
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:05 PM   #13
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Re: 040) The Depth of Irimi: Week of June 15, 2009

Great thread Marc and again without sounding too much like a simpleton...We seem to agree that "Aikido is the Sword"

WIlliam Hazen
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Old 06-18-2009, 11:18 PM   #14
oisin bourke
 
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Re: 040) The Depth of Irimi: Week of June 15, 2009

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Raul:

I would answer it this way. The precise nature of movement is entirely separate from conscious intention. Conscious intention is too slow. The practice of precise movement allows us to move at a pre-conscious level.

Oisin:

I hope that our paths cross on one of my trips to Japan. I would enjoy training with you followed by some good Japanese beer or sake....

There is no difference between Ushiro Sensei's sword work and empty-hand work. The best way to describe my experience is that a bunch of us put our hands on his body. As he made a movement to prepare to draw an imaginary sword, all of us felt him physically expand. He literally entered in a 360 degree manner. He was everywhere yet nowhere discernible. When his sword is drawn in this manner, you do not perceive it in the same time frame that it is drawn. His irimi is ahead of our awareness and connected to us at the same time.

With Imaizumi Sensei as a silent force and Ushiro Sensei as a more vocal force, if I cannot begin to comprehend and learn some of this stuff with such quality of teachers, I am beyond hapless and hopeless (which is how I feel more often than not) !

Marc Abrams
Hi Marc,

Well, you're very welcome if you ever make it "Up North". We can enjoy some fine Sapporo Beer while I pick your brains.

Regarding Ushiro Sensei's "intent" (Possibly "Ishiki" 意識?) an omnidirectional awareness was way beyond what I was even considering. More study is needed

Something I'm playing around with is bringing one's Ishiki to what I term "the neutral point" which is roughly akin to where one connects with the ken. From what I've seen, Ushiro sensei is a master at maintaining this point.

Anyway, more food for thought for me.
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