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Old 03-21-2007, 04:36 PM   #176
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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Mark Chiappetta wrote: View Post
This begs a question: How far and how quickly do you actually want to propagate these skills? Should they be accessible to everyone in aikido? How about outside of aikido? How about tennis players, bowlers, javelin throwers, etc.?

Dan? George?

Mark
My position on this is that the ability to use these skills, at least at a rudimentary level, should be part of ALL Aikido training, right from the start.

As for outside of Aikido, I suspect that these types of skills might be of value just about anywhere but coaches will tune in if it looks like it will provide a performance edge for their athletes. Someone simply has to expose them to the skills and the training methods.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 03-21-2007, 05:05 PM   #177
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
As for outside of Aikido, I suspect that these types of skills might be of value just about anywhere but coaches will tune in if it looks like it will provide a performance edge for their athletes. Someone simply has to expose them to the skills and the training methods.
You know, when I started Aikido I was always told "extend ki" and I understood that I was being asked to perform a specific action that I did not yet grasp. Each time I did the exercises I came a little closer to actually grasping them, but it wasn't really sticking.

Then another aikidoist who was pretty good at extending ki saw me playing bass. He pointed out that my ki was extended the whole time I was playing.

DINGDINGDINGDINGDING!!!!!!

Okay, no, I didn't have an instant epiphany and master ki extension at a single stroke, but it made a huge difference in my training because I had a frame of reference.

FWIW: I've decided that "mastery" is a pretty slippery concept. Every time I become able to do the things some of my teachers did all those years ago (that I saw as evidence of mastery at the time) I realize that I still have a long way to go to mastery. The upshot is that I can extend ki - or whatever you want to call it - way better than I did then, but I still find places where these skills need work.

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Old 03-22-2007, 05:23 AM   #178
DH
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
My position on this is that the ability to use these skills, at least at a rudimentary level, should be part of ALL Aikido training, right from the start.

As for outside of Aikido, I suspect that these types of skills might be of value just about anywhere but coaches will tune in if it looks like it will provide a performance edge for their athletes. Someone simply has to expose them to the skills and the training methods.
Hi George

All to true. But in the end I think-utterly meaningless. It's still a lively debate as to who is even doing these things. You've seen the reaction AFTER folks felt it up front. Even they aren't interested in discussing it much in detail. all. They saw it, and felt it and were dumfounded by it. And most realized its start-over time.
So we agree that serious debate over these things is probably over-the how-to is what becomes dicey.
First, someone who can impart the skills they know is needed.
Second, someone who will give the time.
Third, a student willing to devote countless hours of alone time working.
So in the end few- Mikes 2% suggestion- will likely achieve good results.
Everyone wants it described and spelled out for them here. While the ways and ideals can be spoken in a few paragraphs, there is little point. Even single sentences can take years of effort. The work takes much concentration and inglorious alone time. For most the wisest choice would be to stop practice for years to rebuild, rewire. Few will.
It has long been spoken, long been written and recorded that few did achieve it. Everywhere it's mentioned it is likewise mentioned as a rarity. Again I am reminded of the story in the "fighting spirit of Japan" when after gifting a large cash donation to the Kodokan a Judo man is given a "gift" in return by being brought an Aikijujtsu master. He was likewise dumbfounded by the skills. He asked the Aikijujutsu master about these skills (this was early twentieth century Japan) "Who knows them?" "Where are they taught?" His reply was that few know these things anymore. They are not openly taught. If it was that way in the country of their origin a hundred years ago-we shouldn't be surprised at their rarity today.

Then you have the guys, the masters, comparing levels. Like the older Sagawa testing the 68 year old Ueshiba and stopping him dead. One master to another. Same skills different levels of development.

Here's a bit of a change of subject
I've often wondered why the masters of this stuff were all said to ab a bit wierd. Were they wierd before hand? Self absorbed, odd ducks? Or did the hours and hours of work, and failure, then these "masters in the making" the facing all the other budo-johnies so ill equiped to face THEM that gave them a bit of low opinion of others efforts? A little research shows the personaliteis of many of the known masters was a litany of strange behaviour.
I know my comment can offer some comical comebacks, but it is interesting when you read story after story.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 03-22-2007 at 05:37 AM.
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Old 03-22-2007, 06:35 AM   #179
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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For most the wisest choice would be to stop practice for years to rebuild, rewire
I can't wait until I retire -- right now I have a hard enough time carving out even 7-10 hours a week, which is maybe barely enough to do the solo work, much less anything fun like aikido waza.

Tom
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Old 03-22-2007, 07:01 AM   #180
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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Here's a bit of a change of subject
I've often wondered why the masters of this stuff were all said to ab a bit wierd. Were they wierd before hand? Self absorbed, odd ducks? Or did the hours and hours of work, and failure, then these "masters in the making" the facing all the other budo-johnies so ill equiped to face THEM that gave them a bit of low opinion of others efforts? A little research shows the personaliteis of many of the known masters was a litany of strange behaviour.
I know my comment can offer some comical comebacks, but it is interesting when you read story after story.
IMHO, its not a change of subject at all. Besides the internal physical skills, there are certainly the internal attitude (for lack of a better word) skills that also direct energy (ki).

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 03-22-2007, 07:23 AM   #181
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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For most the wisest choice would be to stop practice for years to rebuild, rewire. Few will.
Although I agree with most of what you say, I'm of the opinion that an intelligent and practical teacher can learn enough of this stuff to get his foot in the door and then he can alter the practice in his dojo to focus on these skills rigorously for a year or two. With some outside assistance and this focus, I don't think they have to "stop practice"... but they do have to alter it.

The alteration I'm envisioning is to spend more in class doing Aiki-Taiso and other basic-movement exercises to burn in kokyu/jin, movement, ki-exercise/tests, and so on. (I'm agreeing on the personal work aspects, but let's leave that as a given). Then I see a teacher only doing a few basic waza in each class, doing them slowly and analysing them closely for continuous, unbroken usage of this type of power. Gradually, the techniques can evolve back to more complex and realistic Aikido techniques, but always with an eye to doing them completely through with correct power.

I also think that as power grows, some direct and powerful sudden techniques like Ueshiba and Shioda used occasionally should be introduced. Not ones that "look" like what they did, but ones that are capable of putting a grown man down. I.e., I think a little Ai-yai-yai should be put back in Aikido.
Quote:
Here's a bit of a change of subject
I've often wondered why the masters of this stuff were all said to ab a bit wierd. Were they wierd before hand? Self absorbed, odd ducks? Or did the hours and hours of work, and failure, then these "masters in the making" the facing all the other budo-johnies so ill equiped to face THEM that gave them a bit of low opinion of others efforts? A little research shows the personaliteis of many of the known masters was a litany of strange behaviour.
I know my comment can offer some comical comebacks, but it is interesting when you read story after story.
Most people are weirder under the surface than you think (look at the overwhelming number of porn sites on the internet.... who do you think they're making money from? Your neighbors). When you can kick butt, you can afford to let your natural weirdness off the leash, in too many cases.

Mike

Last edited by Mike Sigman : 03-22-2007 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 03-22-2007, 07:37 AM   #182
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
I've often wondered why the masters of this stuff were all said to ab a bit wierd. Were they wierd before hand? Self absorbed, odd ducks? Or did the hours and hours of work, and failure, then these "masters in the making" the facing all the other budo-johnies so ill equiped to face THEM that gave them a bit of low opinion of others efforts? A little research shows the personaliteis of many of the known masters was a litany of strange behaviour.
IMHO, its not a change of subject at all. Besides the internal physical skills, there are certainly the internal attitude (for lack of a better word) skills that also direct energy (ki).
What about systema, Mikhail & Vlad? If what they say on the 'net is true, these guys got some skill at least, and Vlad at least seems to be genuinely nice and all that (not that I've met him).

I wonder how much of this is just related to general aristocratic culture and/or a general drive to succeed. There are plenty of examples of quirky millionaires.

Also, it's worth noting that there are plenty of stories of monks--from all religions, east and west--who display "quirky" attributes. I read something (I forget where) that stated that the type of long periods of isolation and meditation that monks undergo leads to mental issues in some people. It suggested that simply maybe not everyone has the mental endurance & will power to undergo such practices.

I also read a story a year or two ago about a hardcore endurance bicyclist from Russia, I believe. He would participate in races that were 500-2000 miles long, such as the Race Across America (west to east coast, stopping only for sleep). Anyway, his training involved long periods of isolation and physical hardship. He began developing weird obsessive behaviours and other mental issues. The story ended with him going to see a doctor because the mental & social stuff was beginning to interfere with his personal life.

So maybe there's some of that in play as well in those masters' lives.

--Timothy Walters Kleinert

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Old 03-22-2007, 08:07 AM   #183
DH
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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Although I agree with most of what you say, I'm of the opinion that an intelligent and practical teacher can learn enough of this stuff to get his foot in the door and then he can alter the practice in his dojo to focus on these skills rigorously for a year or two. With some outside assistance and this focus, I don't think they have to "stop practice"... but they do have to alter it.
..... Gradually, the techniques can evolve back to more complex and realistic Aikido techniques, but always with an eye to doing them completely through with correct power.

Mike
Well actually we agree there. I should have said stop practice as it is now done. The exercises done just when training are the slower road still. I also think that getting folks to be able to move with structure is essential. Its where most fall apart and resort to what they know to compensate.
I don't know if we agree or I am understanding you about complex movements though. I just never have bought into complex movements of any kind; Aikido's, Daito ryu's or Koryu jujutsu. It's pretzel logic is only viable when one can capture and draw their energy and even then it offers too many chances. Good grappling I agree with, and "downing a man" (good choice of words BTW) striking him or projecting is a better choice. Or we can opt for everything like MMA.
Even when a certain level of skill is achieved I hate seeing guys get to crazy over themselves in what it does in cooperative play. Broken rythm attacks, feinting and change-ups with full force offer a more intense test. Better still go to a gym or fight club and try it out In a strictly Japanese MA perspective like Aikido's- I'd remain simple and direct both in training and in use. It's why I think adopting these skills in a dojo setting and having slow drills with serious attacks like MMA style would greatly increase the skill level of Aikidoka in using their art. Cases in point would be learning how to stop standup grappling attempts, or takedown attempts with the aikido practioner doing little to make a sucess of it. Then learning to be the agressor. Side benefits being the ability to absorb blows while handling someone. I can see a great deal of benefit to a syllabus with both an actual reduction in complexity and an increase in power at the same time. All down safely and slowely
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 03-22-2007 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 03-22-2007, 12:15 PM   #184
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post

So maybe there's some of that in play as well in those masters' lives.
The fact is, regular people don't do this stuff... so you start with a group which is already a bit out of sync with their fellows and then a very small group of them are the geniuses and the obsessives who will take their arts to the highest levels or even create something new. Those are the folks you read about many years later not the regular, run of the mill students.

There have always been folks who managed to be this obsessive but also pretty complete as individuals... Yamaoka Tesshu would have been one. But normally these amazing people are not the ones you look to for models you might want to use for your own life (unless you ar equally obsessive).

George S. Ledyard
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Old 03-22-2007, 01:19 PM   #185
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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The alteration I'm envisioning is to spend more in class doing Aiki-Taiso and other basic-movement exercises to burn in kokyu/jin, movement, ki-exercise/tests, and so on. (I'm agreeing on the personal work aspects, but let's leave that as a given). Then I see a teacher only doing a few basic waza in each class, doing them slowly and analysing them closely for continuous, unbroken usage of this type of power. Gradually, the techniques can evolve back to more complex and realistic Aikido techniques, but always with an eye to doing them completely through with correct power.
Mike
I agree with this and I am trying to head this way. The difficulties I see revolve around a true understanding on the part of the teacher as to what full body movement, movement with structure, feels like so you can back engineer it into your aiki taiso to get the kind of practice results you have been talking to. Another difficulty lies with the numbers involved, and by this I mean the number of teachers teaching in a given dojo. Slow moving repeated practice of the kind being talked about will drive many students into other classes and away from yours if there are multiple teachers in the dojo and if there is only one that teacher may get bored with it also. I think we are back to only limited numbers are willing to seek the training and even more limited numbers are willing to put the time into getting it. As for me when I get a chance to touch bases with you I can see were I am and what it is I might have missed. I may also rediscover some of the things I was shown in the 70's and may not have picked up on or have forgotten.

Still moving after all these years......
Gary
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Old 03-22-2007, 10:51 PM   #186
eyrie
 
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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The alteration... to spend more [time] in class doing Aiki-Taiso and other basic-movement exercises to burn in kokyu/jin, movement, ki-exercise/tests, and so on. ...only doing a few basic waza in each class, doing them slowly and analysing them closely for continuous, unbroken usage of this type of power. Gradually, ... evolve back to more complex and realistic Aikido techniques, but always with an eye to doing them completely through with correct power....some direct and powerful sudden techniques... should be introduced.... ones that are capable of putting a grown man down. I.e., I think a little Ai-yai-yai should be put back in Aikido.
Heh heh... I hope you don't mind if I steal... er.. borrow... that as my new slogan... "putting the Ai-yai-yai back into Aikido."..

One of the benefits of focusing mainly on basic body movement, body conditioning and basic techniques done with the correct body mechanics, is that students tend to pick up the more complex techniques a lot quicker. Plus, the smarter ones will tend to extrapolate stuff and be more capable of responding with the appropriate technique - thus seemingly "creating new forms".

This would seem like a good motivation for reducing the focus on waza, to the extent that whatever basic waza is introduced, it's treated more as an exercise in reinforcing proper body mechanics and effective/efficient use of "effortless" power.

However, the "change" also necessitates a change in the student's mindset. The ones that can't see the immediate benefits of such a practice modality, in terms of gaining any real or perceived fighting abilities, tend to drop out very quickly.

Ignatius
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Old 03-23-2007, 06:16 AM   #187
DH
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

It's pointless to try and convince everyone. At a point you need to concentrate on your self. Perhaps some folks are getting a clearer understanding of why there all these stories of man going off to train alone and they coming back "masters" with a vision.

So why consider leaving Aikido? Change just you!
There's no point in driving / flying out to meet certain folks if your not going to do the work when you are alone. The real test is going to be finding folks who will train and focus. This training is harder in the sense that it requires an active mind in prolonged training. We have a saying that "The mind gives out before the body." It sounds perfectly goofy to say in writing-as do the descriptions of what the mind is doing to the body in the first place. It also sound goofy to say "You sweat your butt off standing more or less still." Or "Wind through the body." But to those who have tried to do the work-they know exactly-what we're talking about.
The first order of business is feeling it first hand and having it explained to you, then training at home alone, then going back to train and test and correct, then back alone, and so on and so on. At a point in time you will say "My body is changing" Its just the way of it. At least I can say as much as you power lift your body will strengthen-as much as you body condition internally -your body will strengthen as well. And your sensitivity will go through the roof.
"Going back to do complex techniques?" complex techniques really aren't budo to begin with- and never were. They are an artiface, an after effect of too much dojo training. That said if folks get their jollies by doing them, yes, they will be easier. In fact drawing-in and gaining a magnetic feel as the opponent is drawn to you will increase with this training. You're really controlling you and just being you not trying to really control them. But even with all that- I always advocate simple techniques in budo.

It may still be brighter days ahead for those seeking the heart of the old budo.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 03-23-2007 at 06:30 AM.
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Old 03-23-2007, 06:31 AM   #188
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

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So why consider leaving Aikido? Change just you!
IMHO, besides the relaxed alignment and mechanics, this is where internal strength comes from.

Compliments and appreciation.

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 12-13-2009, 10:47 PM   #189
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

great thread.
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