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Old 09-03-2009, 03:17 PM   #1
Rob Watson
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What is holding you back?

I had a bit of a revelation the other day. We celebrated the 25th anniversary of our dojo recently and as is typical during seminars we went to the local park for some weapons practice. It is a modest park with a nice stand of redwoods and a Frisbee golf course. Local folk frequent that park for family outings.

During the training I noticed that my kiai was way way louder and more pronounced than I ever recall. Even a few days later during regular practice in the dojo I noticed my kiai was diminished back to the usual level. There was something about being out in that park that made a huge difference.

Originally it was very difficult for me to kiai because the previous two teachers I had never stressed kiai and training was always silent. Just getting over that hurdle took maybe 2-3 years.

It occurred to me recently that all my life as a kid my parents, grandparents and most every other adult of import had stressed to use ones 'indoor voice' so as not to be such a disturbance with my typically wanton rambunciousness. Have I been programmed for decades to limit the level and type of vocalizations while indoors to such an extent that now when in a setting in which a powerful kiai is encouraged and even required (sensei says 'everyone kiai' more than once each class) that old conditioning kicks in and throttles me back?

Now it think it is exactly that conditioning that is holding me back in expressing the kiai like I can outside in the park but not inside the dojo. Now I'm really worried about all the other types of conditioning from the past decades that are holding me back? I can tell you it is a startling revelation as I catch myself perpetrating this conditioning on my own children and pondering just what I'm doing and how much of my parenting is going to have exactly what kind of lasting effects on my children.

Maybe it is a stretch from shouting in the park to parental angst but it certainly has me thinking about stuff in a whole new way.

There is hope because the old dog can learn new tricks after all!

Thanks

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-03-2009, 03:47 PM   #2
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Re: What is hoplding you back?

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post

It occurred to me recently that all my life as a kid my parents, grandparents and most every other adult of import had stressed to use ones 'indoor voice' so as not to be such a disturbance with my typically wanton rambunciousness. Have I been programmed for decades to limit the level and type of vocalizations while indoors to such an extent that now when in a setting in which a powerful kiai is encouraged and even required (sensei says 'everyone kiai' more than once each class) that old conditioning kicks in and throttles me back?

Now it think it is exactly that conditioning that is holding me back in expressing the kiai like I can outside in the park but not inside the dojo. Now I'm really worried about all the other types of conditioning from the past decades that are holding me back?
Thanks
Doing some reading of Eckhart Tolle and came across this.

"When you are present in this moment,
you break the continuity of your story, of past and future.
Then true intelligence arises,
and also love.
The only way love can come into your life
is not through form, but through that inner spaciousness that is Presence.
Love has no form."

My understanding is the true intelligence arising is very much akin to Takemusu. Working with the concept of breaking the continuity of my story has helped my aikido. I am letting go of old concepts of how this technique should be done.

Just a thought.

Cheers,
Jeff
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Old 09-03-2009, 05:02 PM   #3
grondahl
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Re: What is hoplding you back?

OT
San Leandro?
Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
. We celebrated the 25th anniversary of our dojo recently and as is typical during seminars we went to the local park for some weapons practice
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Old 09-03-2009, 06:05 PM   #4
dps
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Re: What is hoplding you back?

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
I had a bit of a revelation the other day. We celebrated the 25th anniversary of our dojo recently and as is typical during seminars we went to the local park for some weapons practice. It is a modest park with a nice stand of redwoods and a Frisbee golf course. Local folk frequent that park for family outings.

During the training I noticed that my kiai was way way louder and more pronounced than I ever recall. Even a few days later during regular practice in the dojo I noticed my kiai was diminished back to the usual level. There was something about being out in that park that made a huge difference.

Originally it was very difficult for me to kiai because the previous two teachers I had never stressed kiai and training was always silent. Just getting over that hurdle took maybe 2-3 years.

It occurred to me recently that all my life as a kid my parents, grandparents and most every other adult of import had stressed to use ones 'indoor voice' so as not to be such a disturbance with my typically wanton rambunciousness. Have I been programmed for decades to limit the level and type of vocalizations while indoors to such an extent that now when in a setting in which a powerful kiai is encouraged and even required (sensei says 'everyone kiai' more than once each class) that old conditioning kicks in and throttles me back?

Now it think it is exactly that conditioning that is holding me back in expressing the kiai like I can outside in the park but not inside the dojo. Now I'm really worried about all the other types of conditioning from the past decades that are holding me back? I can tell you it is a startling revelation as I catch myself perpetrating this conditioning on my own children and pondering just what I'm doing and how much of my parenting is going to have exactly what kind of lasting effects on my children.

Maybe it is a stretch from shouting in the park to parental angst but it certainly has me thinking about stuff in a whole new way.

There is hope because the old dog can learn new tricks after all!

Thanks
Or maybe it is because indoors you receive feedback from the echos of your kiai off the walls, floor and ceiling and subconsciously adjust the level of your kiai.

Whereas outdoors you have to kiai louder to try to get the same feedback (echo) as indoors.

David
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:00 PM   #5
crbateman
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Re: What is hoplding you back?

Kiai comes from the hara. When you are "in the zone" you will hear it, but it will almost sound like it comes from someone else. It is then that you will feel less inclined to temper the volume, and just let it go. Much of what I've read about O'Sensei's kiai was that his was dynamic. I've heard that those who have heard him, say that the recordings commonly found today do not do it justice. He just let 'er rip, indoors or out.
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:28 AM   #6
SeiserL
 
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Re: What is holding you back?

Osu,
Agreed, IMHO it is our unconscious conditioning that sets our limits and hods us back. Some of those limits are useful and worth while, others we need to see through and shout from our hearts.
Well said. Compliments.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:43 PM   #7
Walter Martindale
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Re: What is holding you back?

I think what's holding us back is that we may not have experienced a true Kiai. I had a judo sensei who described his situation of having been trained in a non-yelling tradition - no shouting, no growling, just training and working quietly on techniques.
Then, he said, once (in about 20 years of judo) he was in a shiai, and he wasn't sure what "clicked" but this odd sounding roar came out mid-throw, the technique was executed cleanly, fast, dynamically, and the point was earned with no doubt whatsoever. He said that the sound he produced came up from his diaphragm or below, and he'd never tried to do anything like it.
I think THAT may have been a "real" kiai, and most of the shouting we do in dojo all over the world is just that - shouting.
Consciously trying to yell something isn't necessary a kiai. producing power in a conscious/unconscious movement - may or may not be accompanied by a shout, but there's probably a kiai in there, whether you hear it or not...
But that's IMO..
W
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Old 09-04-2009, 05:32 PM   #8
Rob Watson
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Re: What is holding you back?

While the original post is actually not about kiai I refer those interested in kiai to see this article by our friend Mr. Amdur. http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=153

If one is still concerned about kiai re this thread then I submit the forest has been missed for the trees. Perhaps the way we have been taught to read has been conditioned in such a way that the literalist disables comprehension. We can read the words but we miss the message ... I often am so afflicted so I am sympathetic. Certainly rereading several times helps break out of the bonds.Try to look between the lines .. maybe there is nothing there, maybe that is where the meat is even if unintended.

Perhaps I am the dull one and the point is made that since the route towards the realization is flawed what has been discovered along the way is similarly flawed. Well, the greatest discoverys often are the results of great blunders and happenstance but are plenty valid nonetheless.

Thanks for the kind words.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-04-2009, 07:32 PM   #9
crbateman
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Re: What is holding you back?

My take was that you were talking about having a moral or aesthetic "volume control", or in broader terms, letting surroundings in general affect execution. You used kiai as an example. My response was that you have to "let it go". Likewise, I used kiai as an example. Did I miss the point?
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Old 09-04-2009, 07:49 PM   #10
Rob Watson
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Re: What is holding you back?

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Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
My take was that you were talking about having a moral or aesthetic "volume control", or in broader terms, letting surroundings in general affect execution. You used kiai as an example. My response was that you have to "let it go". Likewise, I used kiai as an example. Did I miss the point?
Control implies I knew what I was doing. I don't think I know what I was doing and attribute that to being conditioned (in the sense of operant conditioning, etc but also more general). Now that I see the conditioning I have something to breakdown and rectify.

I was using my kiai as an example but was more concerned about the other types of conditioning that I operate under but am similar unaware and how to get to work on breaking that down too.

I would also include along with the behavioural type conditioning physical conditioning as well. Consider how many time ones mother admonishes "elbows off of the table" and how while sitting in a tense situation in which weapons are likely present just how suspicious it is to have ones hands in thier lap hidden from view instead of up on the table, elbows and all, in plain view. Is that physical, now I'm confused. Not really relevant - just how many other 'habits' we have that exist for no particular reason besdies the fact that they were drilled into us from a very early age?

"let it go" is right on point.

I'm contemplating just how many 'its' there are to let go of ...

Thanks

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-05-2009, 12:55 AM   #11
crbateman
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Re: What is holding you back?

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
I'm contemplating just how many 'its' there are to let go of ...
Why count 'em? Just let 'em all go. Mushin, the state of "no mind", is about acting without the time-consuming process of thinking. Those things you've conditioned yourself to do, but would rather do away with, are still thought about, although at much deeper than at a conscious level. The same practice and repetition that put them there can also take them away. Your "conditioning" can be "reconditioned".
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Old 09-05-2009, 03:09 AM   #12
Walter Martindale
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Re: What is holding you back?

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
While the original post is actually not about kiai I refer those interested in kiai to see this article by our friend Mr. Amdur. http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=153

If one is still concerned about kiai re this thread then I submit the forest has been missed for the trees. Perhaps the way we have been taught to read has been conditioned in such a way that the literalist disables comprehension. We can read the words but we miss the message ... I often am so afflicted so I am sympathetic. Certainly rereading several times helps break out of the bonds.Try to look between the lines .. maybe there is nothing there, maybe that is where the meat is even if unintended.

Perhaps I am the dull one and the point is made that since the route towards the realization is flawed what has been discovered along the way is similarly flawed. Well, the greatest discoverys often are the results of great blunders and happenstance but are plenty valid nonetheless.

Thanks for the kind words.
Well, OK, I think I see. My situation was "be quiet, your father's sick" "Don't you talk back, you'll get your father upset and he'll have another heart attack." and so on. Learned not to confront, not to argue, not to stand up for myself. Takes great effort to do so. Some societies have a "don't stand out" approach, and I think this is more prevalent in places like here (NZ) and other Commonwealth countries, where the "tall poppy syndrome" exists. Japan, too - "urusai" - noisy or rude - something you don't want to be called..

We (well, I) don't feel comfortable shouting in a martial arts class, for example, because it's not part of how I grew up. My previous reference to my judo sensei having an unplanned kiai may have been out of place, but what's wrong with doing the breath control/body consolidation/ or getting my "ki" in "ai" without screaming about it?

This only skims the surface, I'm sure - I've read something Amdur sensei wrote about a shout that froze his son in his tracks - one of those "where did that come from" things, but it did keep the boy from running in front of traffic, if I recall correctly. When you "do" a "true" kiai, you won't have planned it, your inhibitions won't block it, and you'll wonder what happened - likely so will those around you.

Hasn't happened to me yet.
Walter
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Old 09-05-2009, 05:25 PM   #13
Rob Watson
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Re: What is holding you back?

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Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
... I'm sure - I've read something Amdur sensei wrote about a shout that froze his son in his tracks - one of those "where did that come from" things, but it did keep the boy from running in front of traffic, if I recall correctly. When you "do" a "true" kiai, you won't have planned it, your inhibitions won't block it, and you'll wonder what happened - likely so will those around you.

Hasn't happened to me yet.
Walter
I'm sure you can appreciate that Mr. Amdur trained in this very long and very hard so it didn't 'just happen'.

Thanks

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-05-2009, 05:28 PM   #14
Rob Watson
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Re: What is holding you back?

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Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
Why count 'em? Just let 'em all go. Mushin, the state of "no mind", is about acting without the time-consuming process of thinking. Those things you've conditioned yourself to do, but would rather do away with, are still thought about, although at much deeper than at a conscious level. The same practice and repetition that put them there can also take them away. Your "conditioning" can be "reconditioned".
Well, if I did the conditioning then I'm not so concerned about it but it is the conditioning that was done to me when I didn't know it that I'm worried about. Perhaps you can elaborate on how to 'let go' of that which there is no awareness? That is why I plan to 'count' them so I can become aware of the conditioning and decide if I want it as it is or want to change it.

Thanks

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-06-2009, 02:27 AM   #15
Walter Martindale
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Re: What is holding you back?

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Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
I'm sure you can appreciate that Mr. Amdur trained in this very long and very hard so it didn't 'just happen'.

Thanks
Yes it did just happen - after many years of hard work.
Amdur's Hiding in Plain Sight is waiting for me - logging off.
W
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Old 09-06-2009, 01:03 PM   #16
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Re: What is holding you back?

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
Well, if I did the conditioning then I'm not so concerned about it but it is the conditioning that was done to me when I didn't know it that I'm worried about. Perhaps you can elaborate on how to 'let go' of that which there is no awareness? That is why I plan to 'count' them so I can become aware of the conditioning and decide if I want it as it is or want to change it.
Sounds like you already are aware. You pointed it out in the example in your first post. Specifically where and by whom you became conditioned probably isn't that important, as long as you can identify that there are habits or tendencies that you wish to change or do away with. You move forward by focusing on how you want to behave, and then practice it enough that it becomes second nature. You're "overwriting your programming", so to speak. We all do that, consciously or not, every day. Doing it with purpose is what makes all the difference.
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Old 09-07-2009, 08:46 PM   #17
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Re: What is holding you back?

Personally I just don't like a lot of noise or to make a lot of noise. It calls attention to me so I figgured I would be likely to kiai a whole lot. But looking back there have been times when I have done so in intense work situations where I needed to break through to a higher level of intensity. It generally causes a large pause in the activity levels around me.

My last class at the dojo was the first time we actually worked on it as a part of our class and the self conscious calling attention concerns kicked in but I have no doubt that when the time comes I need to hit a higher level of intensity on my technique I'll find it happening all on its own.
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