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Old 08-07-2009, 08:32 AM   #76
MM
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Re: "Internal training, Aiki, and empowering Aikido" Seminar w/Dan Harden

Quote:
Mark Jakabcsin wrote: View Post
Mark M.,
All true and very good points, especially when doing drill based training. Train slow, learn fast. But there is a time to test what you learn and that requires faster speeds and greater stress. The question is what percentage of overall training needs to be 'testing' as compared to 'learning'?

Mark J.
Hi Mark,

I think that you are testing at the same time as you are learning. Take, for example, the simple push test exercise. You stand with arms extended out to the sides. Someone pushes on your open palm. As you start learning this exercise, you are testing your body with how much force it can "ground". As you progress, you find yourself able to structurally hold up under greater force. As you keep going, you find yourself learning to hold structure under a force that goes through you, up at a 45 degree angle, around you, etc.

You're actually testing yourself as you are learning to build structure. Start playing with a technique and you find just where you can keep structure while moving and under a load/pressure. Keep working that, and you get better at things.

Keep working all of these and you find that you can move quicker while still being able to hold structure under movement and load/pressure.

You're testing yourself each and every time you work on this stuff. The better your structure, the more you pressure test it. The more you pressure test it, the better your structure gets.

The hard part is not to overload yourself because you think you should be able to do more or should be better at it. Not to go fast to gloss over weaknesses. To work on solo training.

Does that answer the question?
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:32 AM   #77
DH
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Re: "Internal training, Aiki, and empowering Aikido" Seminar w/Dan Harden

The application issue and when to use speed always vexes everyone. I have seen it so many times. I saw a bunch of Taiji guys copying their teachers "shaking power" and a bagua guy copy his teachers explosive movement. All three students had nothing...zero power. A few people had asked me at dinner how I personally developed this; the time line, methods pitfalls etc.
I learned this from the flat of my back-from failure!
I followed a similar path of what Rob just highlighted "getting ahead of myself" "letting ego get in the way," "not wanting to lose," etc. My list of never ending stupidity went on and on. I would do well in class and when I went to do judo or grapple I would either revert back to what I normally did (when my competitive instincts took over) or I would fail! Why fail? Because my body wasn't conditioned enough yet to use aiki in freestyle. In short, I was the poster boy for getting ahead of myself.
As I progressed-and thankfully got a little wiser I knew I had to ramp it up by doing slow motion throwing drills-and retaining central equilibrium through mental focus and always maintaining in yo ho under load and stress-otherwise all was lost-I went right back to using muscle, being one side weighted, receiving everything into me, either sending or receving and not both, etc..
Sadly, I have had guys who trained here, got some power and a boalt load of "principle based" jujutsu and split. In their eyes they called it a success, to boot! They though they "got it" when nothing could be further from the truth.

Learning curve
You got the points of working on intent; paired and solo. Initial opposing force; up/down/ in /out. Central axis pivoting, and winding, then felt its use in spiraling and support.
What is seldom discussed-because no one wants to be the wet blanket on the best discussions to happen to Aikido since the founding of Aikido- is that the work sooner or later, is just "plain ol' work." People either get bored or they "settle" for much less than their own potential. It's just the way of it.
You cannot state definitively how long it will take person (a) or person (b), because there are too many variations; talent, intelligence, fullness of methods trained etc.
I've been chasing this type of training for decades and I am horribly disappointed in myself. Plus, I keep finding, and discovering other things I need to work on. It's just comforting to know that my best years are ahead of me that I can't wait to be 65 and feel me then.

What the purists will discover is that every few years you will make a jump. And you won't tell you, other people will tell you. You may or may not sense that you feel loser (say your central axis pivot is freer and faster and well seated) but not really sensing anything definitive. The,. out of no where, people go flying when they try to throw you. The good news is that contrary to that same ol nonsense of just "having a good night at the dojo" this training lets you know exactly WHY your having a good night at the dojo.
Okay that said, the reason you will hear it from others, is the same reason you all heard at the seminar. Its classic “But I didn’t do anything!” That’s how I feel when I people try to throw me or I hit them. I’m just moving. I didn’t feel much of anything to “throttle back on” in the first place.

Practical application
The sensitivity you garner from internal training to make aiki- creates (as Greg aptly noted a few posts back) a heightened sensitivity to feel, and sense weight and force from anyone who contacts us. This isn’t a skill you go after, “a thing” you develop, it is a by product of the training. Remember the directed force-in? That is being burned into you for you to feel certain paths-which I won’t discuss here. But you all felt it happening. So, ask yourself, “if that guys can force me to feel certain paths by his choosing, what can he do with those paths since they are under his control? In other words it’s a great learing tool for both sides isn’t it? If (a) can direct force through you and sense your response and then does it for hours and hours and hours in the dojo with different bodies…when do YOU think that will turn into one monster of a useful skill in aikido? Yet person (b) is training to feel forces coming in and neutralizing and playing and giving single and multiple paths of receiving, sending entering for the same amount of hours what is that going to on his side of the equation? The sensitivity and control is built on both sides.
How great is it to control their own feet, to sense their every weight shift, to know (as you felt or watched me say “You are trying to lift your left leg -because you just shifted your weight to the right”) at the instant they “think it and are trying to move. It is key to the old budo admonition of arriving first. Many people comment on how fast we feel. We’re not fast, we’re quick. We sense, we read, we arrive first.
Now consider, that all of the above is just reading someone. Now consider you controlling and setting them up and dominating through their intent.


When some of you played with or Andy you felt spiral energy at work. There is nothing “to have,” every contact point is treated with a negative and positive aspect of the spiraling arcs. Thus they rise-and-sink, receive-and-feed, send-and-enter, all at the same time, on two different helix’s moving around a dynamic central column. It’s like sticking your finger into Quisinart blender. The blender is balanced within itself turning from within without transferring weight out to you. Your finger? It doesn’t look so good!
The longer you train the more you retain that sense of balance. The more tissue that gets involved (breath training) the looser and more connected you get, the more connected you get-the more powerful you get.

Everyone felt or saw people putting their hands on my chest wall and being moved around? The aiki connection from that is the result of tissue involvement in a path from the feet to the hands with no slack in the body. As you train -you get ever more elusive for an opponent to find. The trick is that when he tries to find you? “He” is revealed
But all of that work is from dead slow, hours long, non-fighting, practice. Most just don't have the stomach for it.
On the up side it makes aiki (and anti-aiki) faster and greater than any kata method I have ever seen.

Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 08-07-2009 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:09 AM   #78
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Re: "Internal training, Aiki, and empowering Aikido" Seminar w/Dan Harden

Nice post, Dan.

I think that's one of the big things with IS work that gets lost . .just how much of it is based on conditioning the body and mind. . and it's not the kind of conditioning where you just repeat it again and again until you "get it". Your words on "intent" apply very well here as well . . in addition to listening, critiquing, trying, failing, etc. It's not a "Well I'm already doing things 50 percent right and I just need the other 50 percent" . .

I like what's coming out of the discussions on last weekend (congrats and of course I'm going to echo best wishes for the personal stuff going on as well, big time). I think a common thing that's being communicated is that the vocabulary only gets you so far . . you can't cognitively just get this and make it click in your body . . you have to be shown, have it burned in and then keep burning it in so that you rewire how your body moves . . and then there's the applications, etc, fitting these things into the framework of whatever martial art you do.

Yeah, it's a fun time right now to watch and participate in these things.

Best/Budd
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:27 AM   #79
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Re: "Internal training, Aiki, and empowering Aikido" Seminar w/Dan Harden

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Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
Nice post, Dan.

I think that's one of the big things with IS work that gets lost . .just how much of it is based on conditioning the body and mind. . and it's not the kind of conditioning where you just repeat it again and again until you "get it". Your words on "intent" apply very well here as well . . in addition to listening, critiquing, trying, failing, etc. It's not a "Well I'm already doing things 50 percent right and I just need the other 50 percent" . .

I like what's coming out of the discussions on last weekend (congrats and of course I'm going to echo best wishes for the personal stuff going on as well, big time). I think a common thing that's being communicated is that the vocabulary only gets you so far . . you can't cognitively just get this and make it click in your body . . you have to be shown, have it burned in and then keep burning it in so that you rewire how your body moves . . and then there's the applications, etc, fitting these things into the framework of whatever martial art you do.

Yeah, it's a fun time right now to watch and participate in these things.

Best/Budd
It's new to some, old to others eh?
I keep encouraging people to get out and feel some of the giants in the ICMA when they come around to the States for seminars. You may not become a student or learn how-to's, but it's good to get an expanded "picture" of what's out there with some experts. It helps to keep the target ever ahead of you and keep you hungry and not satisfied.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 08-07-2009 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:38 AM   #80
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Re: "Internal training, Aiki, and empowering Aikido" Seminar w/Dan Harden

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
It's new to some, old to others eh?
I keep encouraging people to get out and feel some of the giants in the ICMA when they come around to the States for seminars. You may not become a student or learn how-to's, but it's good to get an expanded "picture" of what's out there with some experts. It helps to keep the target ever ahead of you and keep you hungry and not satisfied.
Cheers
Dan
Makes a lot of sense to me, for sure.
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:09 AM   #81
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Re: "Internal training, Aiki, and empowering Aikido" Seminar w/Dan Harden

A good visual "trick" I use to bring it home is whenever someone is wowed by me in my dojo and they start that complimentary crap, I apologize and tell them they are confusing me with those responsible. Then I bring them over to line-up to the pictures on the Kamiza. I tell the person-"Go bow to them. I didn't invent this stuff. I'll wait till your done and we go back to training!"
It gets the message across loud and clear.

The other thing I do is-at a certain point- I demand they go out and at least feel if not train with other people. Most of my people have felt and or trained with Mike, Ark, top teachers in DR, Aikido, ICMA, Koryu, on and on. It keeps the kiss-ass factor down to near zero, and it keeps the blinders off.
Oddly, after meeting the students of the above gentlemen, it reinforces the model to them that "it's on them to fix them! No one's gonna do the work for them."
Then it releases me to just be another student who has some information.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 08-07-2009 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:46 AM   #82
Lee Salzman
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Re: "Internal training, Aiki, and empowering Aikido" Seminar w/Dan Harden

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
A good visual "trick" I use to bring it home is whenever someone is wowed by me in my dojo and they start that complimentary crap, I apologize and tell them they are confusing me with those responsible. Then I bring them over to line-up to the pictures on the Kamiza. I tell the person-"Go bow to them. I didn't invent this stuff. I'll wait till your done and we go back to training!"
It gets the message across loud and clear.

The other thing I do is-at a certain point- I demand they go out and at least feel if not train with other people. Most of my people have felt and or trained with Mike, Ark, top teachers in DR, Aikido, ICMA, Koryu, on and on. It keeps the kiss-ass factor down to near zero, and it keeps the blinders off.
Oddly, after meeting the students of the above gentlemen, it reinforces the model to them that "it's on them to fix them! No one's gonna do the work for them."
Then it releases me to just be another student who has some information.
Cheers
Dan
"No respect I tell ya!", you say. You wouldn't have had to pay for food or beer for the entire weekend if you didn't want to!
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:40 PM   #83
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Re: "Internal training, Aiki, and empowering Aikido" Seminar w/Dan Harden

Dan and all the people I got to work with, a hearty thank you!

As I wrote to Dan privately, it is a great compliment to him that his students were, without exception, really terrific to work with. There was something so congenial and helpful in the attitude. It was mentioned above but is worth underlining that Dan emphasizes his hope that people develop the capacity to teach and share and articulate this approach.

He encouraged us to bring these ideas back to our respective dojos now, not until some distant day when we had mastered the approaches. And his students illustrated by example what it is like to talk through the techniques. The continuous and helpful feedback is something I think many training situations could benefit from. And you can see that talking about what is happening in the middle of technique, to your body, muscles, intention, fascia, ... benefits from practice. If you never struggle to describe it you won't get better at describing.

So kudos to the people who regularly train with Dan, who came out to help those of us who were new. It will be interesting to see over the next few years how a language and set of useful metaphors develops around these practices. There is probably a useful thread to be started about both how metaphors communicate kinesthetic information and which metaphors seem to work best (for most people).

The various ideas and exercises from the seminar have been rattling around my psyche since the seminar. As I wrote to a friend they stick to you and with you and challenge how you think of any number of techniques. I suppose that cross training always raises existential questions about where one art ends and another begins. I was left with both the feeling that Aikido was distinctive and that there were helpful and provocative gifts in what Dan is sharing.

I have enjoyed recapitulating parts of the seminar to folks at my dojo and would encourage others to do so. Nothing like trying to explain something to help it settle into your bones (or fascia ).

Again, thank you Dan for the workshop and the participants for the experience.

- Jeremy

p.s. For folks who attended the seminar, you may find the last chapter, "An Introduction to Anatomy Trains", in The Concise Book of the Moving Body by Chris Jarmey, contributed by Thomas W. Myers to be of interest.
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