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Old 06-09-2010, 11:33 AM   #26
chillzATL
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Jon Marshall wrote: View Post
As for ki aikido (to keep on-topic), I don't think it's failed any more that any other aikido, but do I think the Tohei world-view will become a bit dated if the IS stuff gets successfully integrated.

Thanks again,
Jon.
IMO, it's just like anything else in martial arts. There's a difference in doing things and doing them right. I mean he did that stuff. O'sensei did some of it as well, which is where he got a lot of it. It seemed to be part of his routine. Some aspects of it also exist in people like Sagawa's tanren. I don't think it's going to make you an IS superstar or anything, but stronger aikido, definitely. Again though, we're talking about doing the stuff properly and not just going through the motions. That includes all the ki testing stuff in the taiso as well. Even modern ki society people could be going through the motions. Then though, even if you have someone doing the stuff right, with the right focus, right intent, how much of it are they doing? Doing it for 15 minutes before class a few times a week isn't going to do much. We don't really have much insight into Tohei's personal training routine, but it's probably safe to say that he did a good bit of training off the mats.
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:58 AM   #27
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

I think there is a focus in aikido on the "goal," not the means to accomplish the goal. As aikido has become somewhat homogenized to satisfy the expansion of students, aikido choose to focus on a fixed goal, and leave the means of accomplishing that goal to the various organizations and leading instructors. Sort of an "end justifies the means" point of view. As long as you are enlightened, does it matter if you can fight? However, we are now challenging the answer to this question because: A. we are not finding enlightenment, B. We can't fight for s$#%. Personally, I agree that we need to critically review the curriculum of aikido and the tools of dissemination because I think we are weak in this respect.

As for the essence of aikido, I think the development of body and mind is an adequate summation of training, and I think the coordination and control over one's person as a result of that training would adequately outline a Westernized concept of "aiki". I think in argument, one can express aiki in a variety of different activities: flowering arranging, karate, baseball, dancing, etc. The problem is that we have difficulty expressing aiki through aikido training. We have a validation issue with a fallible curriculum that is diluted in both instruction consumption. I think this is the focus of Gleason Sensei's comment concerning the absence of the essence of aiki in training...

I think many leaders are currently reviewing their methods of dissemination and the curriculum of aikido. I think more instructors are validating their instruction against other arts and fighting principles. I think organizations are altering their instructional goals to produce a more solid foundation of students.
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:21 PM   #28
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Hi Joe,

I should probably clarify my last paragraph. When I said Tohei's world-view might become a bit dated, I meant his reductionist approach to ki - i.e. the answer to every difficulty is to extend more ki.

Philosophically, I'm not saying he's dated, though I'm not sure if his philosophy and methodology can be completely separated. Perhaps I should re-read "Ki in Daily Life", which was an influence on me too. I remember enjoying his style, but finding it a bit simplistic and overconfident in places. I don't think there's much danger of his contribution not being acknowledged in aikido histories.

Regards,
Jon.
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:48 PM   #29
Keith Larman
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

FWIW I just reread Ki in Daily Life. Sometimes it seems a bit dogmatic and oversimplified, but I was also struck with the realization of how much has always been there. The breathing exercises are certainly interesting to reread given discussions I've seen over the last few years about breathing, tension, winding, etc.

Our Kanshu has asked that we spend more time on some of the old ki tests and training as it was felt that we weren't cultivating those skills enough in the students. Some instructors I know go back long enough to remember training directly with Tohei et al. For me, I've been re-reading a lot of those old books, revisiting old notes, and it has been good, for me at least. Through new eyes I see a lot of what had always been there, lurking under the surface. Just with new abilities now to understand, explain, and hopefully get better at them and pass them along.

Another observation... In most areas of non-trivial difficulty there will always be a very large number of people who never really "get it". Of course they enjoy their practice and get any number of benefits from it. But the group of those who get *really, really good* is often a very small number. It is true of martial arts, sports, heck, pretty much anything. Those who are *truly* looking *and able* to get good will make the effort to get out there and find it, whatever *it* turns out to be. But ya gotta have both. That there are a lot of people training and teaching who aren't at the very highest levels shouldn't be surprising given the incredible popularity of the endeavor. Welcome to the greatest strength and paradoxically the greatest weakness of Aikido. The "grading curve" doesn't change. For every 100 gravitating around the mean performers there are only 1 or 2 really top notch performers. If we go to 200 then we're talking about 2-4 top notch people.

Lots of people play tennis. Few can hang with someone like Federer. That doesn't mean those who can't shouldn't play. Nor should we lament the sheer number of people who can't hold their own with the world class players. We should, however, be aware that most of us cannot hold our own. That, I think, is the real issue -- the self-delusion that we're all really good at it.

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Old 06-09-2010, 12:51 PM   #30
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

What's the quote from the NPR show... "Welcome to _______ where all the students are above average." Love that line.

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Old 06-09-2010, 01:03 PM   #31
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

My take on part of this issue is that what Tohei has shown quite well, is that the basic level(s) of what I call Internal Aiki, and the power that is one result of it (or, one level of it's application), can be learned and accessed through internal awareness and feeling/kinesthetic training, using relatively simple and straight-forward methodologies.

The thing is, there is a lot more that needs to be learned beyond that in order to externalize it properly, and actually apply it in Aikido. But without even the basic knowledge and training to make these internal connections, Aikido becomes, as has been said, "simply a form of Jujitsu" (not a bad thing, but in actuality very different.) This is mostly what I have seen in the Aikido world over the last three decades. If one wants to "bring back Aiki to Aikido", Tohei's "Ki training and mind/body coordination/unification" is a very reasonable place to start.

To me, though, it has it's limitations. Unfortunately, (forgive me my Ki Society friends) even though Ki Society training in this fundamental area is good, in my opinion it isn't always applied, or applied properly, interactively to actual Aikido practice and execution, and that's where things start to fall apart, so to speak. (I have known some very good older/upper level practitioners though.) Also, I think Ki Society has become over-identified with their teachings and training methodologies around Ki and leading the mind, such that some other things tend to be neglected. (Similarly, to me, many Aikido styles tend to be over-identified with external technique and neglect, are mistaken about, or are devoid of, the internal training, thus also being out of balance and "incomplete.") Coupled with the fact that, for various reasons, Ki Society training tends to be fairly isolated from other organizational training, I think this is why people would see Tohei's "attempt" at bringing this fundamental aspect to Aikido, and the expected results, as unsuccessful. In a real sense, it's true.

To me, what it ultimately means to both learn and then apply "Aiki", at different internal and external levels, to Aikido practice and actual execution, is the tricky and interesting thing. There are other methodologies than Tohei's available, though not many. To learn it, and learn to access it, it is best to be inducted into the experience by someone who is well-versed in it. It's difficult to find on one's own without being able to feel it. But to me, this stuff comprises the core elements and very heart of Aikido.

Larry Novick
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Old 06-09-2010, 04:45 PM   #32
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
IMO, it's just like anything else in martial arts. There's a difference in doing things and doing them right. I mean he did that stuff. O'sensei did some of it as well, which is where he got a lot of it.
Not according to him. He has said in several interviews that Ueshiba did not teach. If I am not mistaken he meant this to be inclusive of his peers as well, not just himself. I believe he stated "The only we got from Ueshiba was, to relax."
He got his ki ideas from "Outside the art."
Getting it outside the art is what some of contemporary senior teachers are doing right now, and all but ignoring the most senior Japanese staff in doing so.

Quote:
It seemed to be part of his routine. Some aspects of it also exist in people like Sagawa's tanren. I don't think it's going to make you an IS superstar or anything, but stronger aikido, definitely.
You're not going to have much to stand on comparing Tohei's approach to Sagawa's-nor their comparative power. Sagawa was a an I.S. superstar of a sort, but we really don't know what other I.S. "stars" he might have played with to be considered a "superstar" do we? I've a feeling people like Wang Chu Shin would have landed Sagawa on his butt in a hurry.

Quote:
Doing it for 15 minutes before class a few times a week isn't going to do much. We don't really have much insight into Tohei's personal training routine, but it's probably safe to say that he did a good bit of training off the mats.
Agreed. Doing any of this as just a warm up before class is all but a waste of time. Of course many people are going to take the information being offered and do that very thing anyway. In a few years we will be right back here with people saying the same things "Aiki doesn't really work. I felt....." and they will proceed to talk about those very same people. More poor representatives of their own casual efforts...and so it goes.
Hopefully, there will be enough hard workers out there to occasionally set the record straight for any doubters by actually being able to deliver and "keep it real" under more stressful freestyle testing.
Dan
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Old 06-09-2010, 06:14 PM   #33
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

how many hours a day/week to be for real?
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:03 PM   #34
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Not according to him. He has said in several interviews that Ueshiba did not teach. If I am not mistaken he meant this to be inclusive of his peers as well, not just himself. I believe he stated "The only we got from Ueshiba was, to relax."
He got his ki ideas from "Outside the art."
Getting it outside the art is what some of contemporary senior teachers are doing right now, and all but ignoring the most senior Japanese staff in doing so.
I only meant the taiso. There's vids of Ueshiba doing some parts of what became the taiso. They were a part of his earliest books and vids, all of which were approved by Ueshiba. He had the favor of Ueshiba and there had to be more to that than the numbers of people Tohei brought to the dojo. Regardless of what he may say later, scorned, or what he learned later, he paid attention to what Ueshiba was doing.

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You're not going to have much to stand on comparing Tohei's approach to Sagawa's-nor their comparative power. Sagawa was a an I.S. superstar of a sort, but we really don't know what other I.S. "stars" he might have played with to be considered a "superstar" do we? I've a feeling people like Wang Chu Shin would have landed Sagawa on his butt in a hurry.
Wasn't trying to draw comparisons to ability, only the similarity in some of their exercises. There was some overlap there, so there has to be some value in Tohei's exercises. If Ueshiba approved and Sagawa also used some of those things, they both come from the same place, there has to be value. Maybe not full boat skills here, but if we're just talking better aikido, I think so yah.

Still haven't read the book, but isn't there a story of Sagawa and Ueshiba meeting and Ueshiba inviting him to come teach at the Aikikai? That has to say something about the guy.

Quote:
Hopefully, there will be enough hard workers out there to occasionally set the record straight for any doubters by actually being able to deliver and "keep it real" under more stressful freestyle testing.
Dan
No interest in getting hit, but being able to grapple with this stuff would be pretty awesome. It would be hard to not want to go find some judo guys or wrestlers to test it out with.
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:12 PM   #35
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
how many hours a day/week to be for real?
I read someone equate it to any physical skill. If you wanted to be great at tennis or basketball, you wouldn't get there playing or practicing only an hour a week. To even be decent at those things you'd have to put in several hours per week, minimum and that's decent low level ability.

Last edited by chillzATL : 06-09-2010 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:34 PM   #36
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

I don't have any answers for you on the internet. I'd just make sure it was time well spent. I think a lot of people are trying to throw together a bunch of unrelated training material and hoping for a good outcome. It might prove to be a whole lot of wasted hours spent.
Training intelligently is the first order of business, then how long you do it. If you understand what you are shooting for there are any number of things you can do everyday.
I train while I am driving on long commutes, when I open doors, when I lift a carton of milk, when I go up and down stairs, when I hike, when I lift rocks on my property, when I am answering ridiculous questions from misinformed soccer moms at variance hearings...while feigning my focused attention.
Stolen moments; I have cables attached to a door frame in my office where I can push and pull at break intervals (It beats eating donuts). Now add to that real focused training morning and evenings
Then of course you have actual workouts in the dojo twice a week for 6 hours and visiting other dojos twice a week for four hours at a whack.

Dedication is an interesting thing. If we were getting paid a million bucks to change our bodies; we would find out the who, what, where, why's and when...so fast our heads would spin...and we'd actually do it.
Alas, no million dollars, just the choices we make.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 06-09-2010 at 07:39 PM.
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:08 PM   #37
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
Wasn't trying to draw comparisons to ability, only the similarity in some of their exercises. There was some overlap there, so there has to be some value in Tohei's exercises. If Ueshiba approved and Sagawa also used some of those things, they both come from the same place, there has to be value. Maybe not full boat skills here, but if we're just talking better aikido, I think so yah.

Still haven't read the book, but isn't there a story of Sagawa and Ueshiba meeting and Ueshiba inviting him to come teach at the Aikikai? That has to say something about the guy.
Hello Jason
My point was as I stated- simply that there is little to nothing to stand on in comparing the two. That's all.
When you called Sagawa a "superstar" of IS I decided to make an equally nebulous (but more interesting for me) comparison between Sagawa and Wang Shu Chin. It goes no where. See what I mean?

I was having the discussion with a senior teacher today ...
About testing a master level Daito ryu teacher. What's the point? There is really only one way to test the guy, and they are not going to have it.
How do we compare superstars who train in systems where:
Students just don't try to stop a teacher as a regular practice (hell if ever), when the training model is to take ukemi instead of effect change and give their energy back and when people are convinced that taking ukemi by falling is a good thing.
Compared to "superstars" in arts where the goal is to neutralize constantly and give it back where both people have power and they try to undo each others efforts.
And that compared to the few guys who train IP/aiki where you fight or at least seriously spar.
Answer........you can't.

Quote:
No interest in getting hit, but being able to grapple with this stuff would be pretty awesome. It would be hard to not want to go find some judo guys or wrestlers to test it out with.
I understand the doubt and why you would consider it awesome, but if you really understand IP/ aiki -it is made for MMA/ grappling and should not be unusual. Grappling alone bores the hell out of me anymore without the ability to hit and kick. Same thing with weapons without the ability to freestyle with them. I mean what the hell's the point? Its just trading one more limitation for another when you have inherent power and ability to deliver the whole package.
As for IP/aiki in freestyle MMA? I stopped debating those points here anymore. I think the Ki wars poisoned the well and people can never even dream that their arts aiki was good or real enough to be a stand alone power that absolutely kicks-ass wholesale. They have lost confidance and the understanding that what once was the cornerstone of their arts power can be again.
Bill had some interesting views on Ki, as well as Ki in aikido as well as Ki in fighting. And I will tell you, that 65 yr old man showed up in sweats and wanted to go at with me "full-on" to see what would happen. I have no end of respect for the shear guts of that man.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 06-09-2010 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:58 AM   #38
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I don't have any answers for you on the internet. I'd just make sure it was time well spent. I think a lot of people are trying to throw together a bunch of unrelated training material and hoping for a good outcome. It might prove to be a whole lot of wasted hours spent.
Doesn't this come back to the IQ threshold thing again though? If someone is just doing exercises with no thought towards what they want out of it or how it would be used in their particular art, sure, it's going to be time wasted. At best they might get some cool tricks out of it, but if someone applies just a bit of intelligence to what they're doing I think they could/should figure out how what they're doing fits their art (or not) and make adjustments from there. I know you're probably well past that point, but that discovery process is pretty damned fun and interesting too. I mean I'm a total noob, but I can't see how someone who was really interested and even semi-serious wouldn't be able to start figuring that out after working with someone enough to get started on the basics. If they couldn't, then it probably wouldn't matter if you drew them a map with a giant X on it.

Quote:
Stolen moments; I have cables attached to a door frame in my office where I can push and pull at break intervals (It beats eating donuts). Now add to that real focused training morning and evenings
Then of course you have actual workouts in the dojo twice a week for 6 hours and visiting other dojos twice a week for four hours at a whack.
Tengu! Isn't that the title Ueshiba earned himself by training like that?
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Old 06-10-2010, 08:18 AM   #39
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I understand the doubt and why you would consider it awesome, but if you really understand IP/ aiki -it is made for MMA/ grappling and should not be unusual. Grappling alone bores the hell out of me anymore without the ability to hit and kick. Same thing with weapons without the ability to freestyle with them. I mean what the hell's the point? Its just trading one more limitation for another when you have inherent power and ability to deliver the whole package.
Well I think you probably relate it to what you do and since I don't do MMA/grappling at this point, finding those connections are more revelatory to me than they would be to someone like yourself or a straight grappler, but you're also a Tengu Dan and I'm just a nub trying to learn. You never know what could change after a few years.

Quote:
As for IP/aiki in freestyle MMA? I stopped debating those points here anymore. I think the Ki wars poisoned the well and people can never even dream that their arts aiki was good or real enough to be a stand alone power that absolutely kicks-ass wholesale. They have lost confidance and the understanding that what once was the cornerstone of their arts power can be again.
The fluffy philosophy of Aikido is attractive to a lot of people and there's nothing wrong with that. IMO, even if this stuff were a clearly taught part of the art, I don't think you'd have many more people interested in testing it that way than you do now though. Hell, I'm still not convinced that this growing interest in this stuff in the Aikido world is going to amount to much long term anyway. I mean anything that makes aikido better/stronger is a win, even if it's only in the dojo. My own interests are skewing a little beyond that at this point though.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:10 AM   #40
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Doesn't this come back to the IQ threshold thing again though? If someone is just doing exercises with no thought towards what they want out of it or how it would be used in their particular art, sure, it's going to be time wasted. At best they might get some cool tricks out of it, but if someone applies just a bit of intelligence to what they're doing I think they could/should figure out how what they're doing fits their art (or not) and make adjustments from there. I know you're probably well past that point, but that discovery process is pretty damned fun and interesting too. I mean I'm a total noob, but I can't see how someone who was really interested and even semi-serious wouldn't be able to start figuring that out after working with someone enough to get started on the basics. If they couldn't, then it probably wouldn't matter if you drew them a map with a giant X on it.
I dunno, I think it's more about good information and hands-on. I wouldn't bet on IQ being as important as average intelligence with a good dose of dogged determination. Many times "actual" practice can trump talent.
Now, good information, with talent, and intellect....coupled with fighting experience outside of the constraints of traditional arts....with this stuff. Now that is an interesting combination.

How would that training experience change a person and offer information to experienced teachers to enhance ki in aikido? Bill and other teachers are going out and finding out for themselves. They have seen, felt, and are making their own personal judgments in that regard, picking methods and systems and training them.

Is it a surprise- that to a man- these teachers are all going outside aikido to find it. Is it any wonder after being exposed to outside sources they speak in a unified voice saying that aikido has lost aiki? Is it a surprise that those who have not had exposure don't know what these teachers are on about and are perfectly happy to get more air time (ukemi) and hope for some kind of change or enlightenment to get aiki, and still others don't care about anything at all and just want a work out with some groovy techniques?
It's just the way it is.

I'm just betting that this time around with the 'ki wars" that the information is better, the training for it is real, and the results-definitive. In time, I don't think there will be a Japanese Shihan living who will be able to successfully debate the training method and the results it brings (all within the traditional paradigm of their own arts) hands on with some of their own. Aiki is undeniably real....when it is real and more so; when it is taken to a different level then the strictures of traditional kata and ukemi (something which I abhore). There are some men who can hand them their heads...with aiki... but used in a manner they are simply not capable of dealing with.

I am very hopeful that the aiki arts are going to have a resurgence...backward. Which is another comment I have heard from some teachers. They are as convinced as I am -that it was there with the founders of these arts and then went decidedly down hill from there.
Dan
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:16 AM   #41
Jon Marshall
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Keith Larman wrote:
Quote:
Another observation... In most areas of non-trivial difficulty there will always be a very large number of people who never really "get it". Of course they enjoy their practice and get any number of benefits from it. But the group of those who get *really, really good* is often a very small number. It is true of martial arts, sports, heck, pretty much anything.
I find this a helpful reminder to stay humble with it all. Yeah, I'd love to be in the *really, really good* crew, but given my work rate (which may change), I will probably have to settle for less. There is an element of fantasy that I can recognise in myself (who doesn't want Jedi powers?), but people who get super-good at stuff do tend to be quite obsessional. I admire them, but wouldn't necessarily want to be them - they can pay a high price. Still, I'd like to one day make the *really good* gang.

And I'd like to nominate Jon Reading for Quote of the Thread.

Quote:
As long as you are enlightened, does it matter if you can fight? However, we are now challenging the answer to this question because: A. we are not finding enlightenment, B. We can't fight for s$#%.
Ha ha,
Jon.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:42 AM   #42
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Jon Marshall wrote: View Post
Keith Larman wrote:

I find this a helpful reminder to stay humble with it all. Yeah, I'd love to be in the *really, really good* crew, but given my work rate (which may change), I will probably have to settle for less. There is an element of fantasy that I can recognise in myself (who doesn't want Jedi powers?), but people who get super-good at stuff do tend to be quite obsessional. I admire them, but wouldn't necessarily want to be them - they can pay a high price. Still, I'd like to one day make the *really good* gang.

Ha ha,
Jon.
I think those are good comments
To that end, IP/aiki will empower DR and Aikido practitioners without the need to "learn to fight" and will serve to simply make whatever you do martially ...far more viable. And it will do that to whatever degree YOU practice. I am hearing from people that it is changing their aikido and how they see aikido after just one weekend. From there it goes deeper as each person trains.

Common ground
There are some truths that are viable and beyond opinion. Once shown certain things about moving from center, wire framing yourself and others, how to create a stable body, what it feels like in error, where force and power can be as one with absorbing and neutralizing, what it feel like to use balance as a weapon, etc, you can gain a whole new insight into your practice, And it doesn't mean you had to learn to fight.
There are teachers from ICMA, Karate, Aikido, and Daito ryu all training this way now. How is it that they can join in with jujutsu/ MMA people and all find common ground for use within their own respective arts?
Bills comments, while related to his own love for aikido, are more expansive beyond even what he considered. He is meeting teachers from other disciplines who are sharing his same views.

Fighting, or just doing TMA? Enlightenment...really?
It is probably worth repeating that I actually admire the choice that Ueshiba made to make the art more defensive and less stressfull to practice. Further, his visionary approach to what it could do to bring people together worldwide. As most know there is an element to aikido past its martial foundation.
I just happen to believe that a) the aiki power to do that very thing against trained resistance is largely now gone from the art of aikido. and b) you simply cannot teach IP/ aiki in a large format. It just doesn't work. Hence, my decision to teach teachers, in order for them to do the real work in reaching others.
I think enlightenment is too nebulous a goal and cannot be defined. It's an ever moving target so I'm not going there. Budo can but not always will make you a better person for the effort...and in the process you can learn to be martially effective They are not mutually exclusive. I do believe you can have a measure of both, even if it is incremental.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 06-10-2010 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:42 AM   #43
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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And I'd like to nominate Jon Reading for Quote of the Thread.
seconded.
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:11 AM   #44
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei



I think it is interesting that many of our aikido leaders who are expanding their training are moving outside aikido to do so - Dan hit the nail on the head. Current aikido curriculum is incomplete education. Leading instructors have tried different (personalized) approaches to adjusting curriculum to solicit a more successful result to a greater or lesser extent.

I think sometimes we forget that many of the earlier Ueshiba students (pre-war) came to aikido with a pre-education in martial arts. The experiences under which aikido was "created" were related to a collection of martial experience (although arguably Daito Ryu was most influential). It should not be surprising to find that experience outside aikido may significantly improve training and wisdom to better transmit aikido. I think the quiet move of key aikido people to begin seeking information from other martial arts is indicative of the potential...

Obviously, the other factor that contributes to this observation is the duration in which the curriculum is taught. It should reason that the length of practice also improves training and wisdom. Martial arts are reduced to hobbies, to which we neither devote significant time, nor effort. I think the comment begs the question, but arguably most people do not express a need for fighting knowledge that would make significant time investment in training worthwhile. Most instructors could not impart onto a student fighting education giving the time we commit to training - it is an unrealistic expectation.

Who realistically expects modern aikido to produce another Tohei sensei? O'Sensei? Saito Sensei? Saotome Sensei?
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:45 AM   #45
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Who realistically expects modern aikido to produce another Tohei sensei? O'Sensei? Saito Sensei? Saotome Sensei?
every single newbie

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Old 06-10-2010, 11:47 AM   #46
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post


I think it is interesting that many of our aikido leaders who are expanding their training are moving outside aikido to do so - Dan hit the nail on the head. Current aikido curriculum is incomplete education. Leading instructors have tried different (personalized) approaches to adjusting curriculum to solicit a more successful result to a greater or lesser extent.

I think sometimes we forget that many of the earlier Ueshiba students (pre-war) came to aikido with a pre-education in martial arts. The experiences under which aikido was "created" were related to a collection of martial experience (although arguably Daito Ryu was most influential). It should not be surprising to find that experience outside aikido may significantly improve training and wisdom to better transmit aikido. I think the quiet move of key aikido people to begin seeking information from other martial arts is indicative of the potential...
As I've noted in previous posts, the martial background of those earlier students of Ueshiba did not matter. Daito ryu aiki was, and is, THE single foundation of skill for them. Foundation meaning that aiki creates a martial body unlike any other training and once built, aiki is formless and can be used in any martial art. It becomes a personal, outward, physical expression.

And "many of our aikido leaders who are expanding their training are moving outside aikido to do so" are NOT going to karate, BJJ, MMA, judo, etc. They are going back to the source to learn Daito ryu aiki. These people aren't seeking other martial arts at all. They are training aiki, THE aiki from Daito ryu, THE aiki that Ueshiba Morihei had, the foundational skill that creates a martial body.

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Who realistically expects modern aikido to produce another Tohei sensei? O'Sensei? Saito Sensei? Saotome Sensei?
Modern aikido will *never* produce another Ueshiba, nor is it likely to produce anyone as skilled as the aikido giants. It lacks aiki as Bill stated.

However, the aikido of some aikido leaders will take a very pronounced turn for the best. Those who keep training aiki will continue to get better in leaps and bounds over everyone else. Remember, the training of the aikido greats wasn't all that long. In 5-10 years, we'll see more aikido giants emerge. I'd keep a close watch on Bill because I think he'll be the first. And somewhere along those learning, another Ueshiba will emerge. Another Sagawa. Another Kodo. And maybe even another Takeda. All with aiki. None without.
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Old 06-10-2010, 03:29 PM   #47
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post

Who realistically expects modern aikido to produce another Tohei sensei? O'Sensei?
Me.
Apart from the myth making nonsense, I think the potential is there to produce some that are bettter than they were. I have great hopes for people in Aikido.who are pursuing aiki, It's only a matter of time.

I think many teachers in the art might be utterly shocked to see what is out there and what it can either do to them, or for them.
I think there are a bunch of people having a whole hell of a lot of fun learning, playing and getting better at things they once thought not possible in their current practice.
Have hope
Cheers
Dan
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:21 AM   #48
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Modern aikido will *never* produce another Ueshiba, nor is it likely to produce anyone as skilled as the aikido giants. .
Quote:
Pierre Chassang wrote:
(on 'modern' Aikido)

here are the circumstances in which I heard the term from Master Arikawa in Paris , 1993 while we were talking about Aikido.

I was led during the course of the conversation to use the expression 'Modern Aikido' in order to distinguish Aikido as generally practiced nowadays from that taught by O-sensei.

The conversation took an abrupt turn.

Looking me in the eye, Master Arikawa told me 'Chassang, there is only one Aikido, one only; there cannot be two. Aikido is unique...'Modern Aikido! it makes no sense.'
The conversation contined with Budo Sportif becoming the substitute phrase ...rather like AikidoTM used in this forum (rather more cleverly than I've just used it...).

It would seen that this recognition that 'Aikido' has been somewhat watered down in some quarters is not a recent concept.

Regards

D
(above quote taken from "Ai Ki Do - The Way Forward" by Pierre Chassang - 8th Dan.
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Old 06-11-2010, 06:11 AM   #49
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Daren Sims wrote: View Post
The conversation contined with Budo Sportif becoming the substitute phrase ...rather like AikidoTM used in this forum (rather more cleverly than I've just used it...).

It would seen that this recognition that 'Aikido' has been somewhat watered down in some quarters is not a recent concept.

Regards

D
(above quote taken from "Ai Ki Do - The Way Forward" by Pierre Chassang - 8th Dan.
Over the years in a number of threads, I have brought up topics such as these:

Ueshiba was famous for having people push on him, from standing to sitting cross legged on the mat. Many people have talked about their inability to move Ueshiba. Where in modern aikido is this feat replicated? Yet, Kodo, from Daito ryu replicated it. I'd guess if people did the research, Takeda and Sagawa, too. Tenryu was undone because Ueshiba knew the secret of aiki. Those push tests that Ueshiba did were a "hidden in plain sight" for showing an aiki created martial body.

In every encounter with an aiki person, each tester had some martial background, from jujutsu to kenjutsu to sumo to fighting. Yet, every time someone tested an aiki man, that tester was undone and came away with a singularly unique experience. Something they had never felt before. See articles about Ueshiba meeting Takeda, everyone meeting Ueshiba, etc. High ranking kendo people wanted Ueshiba's secret. They called it taisabaki, but it was aiki. In modern aikido, show me where a BJJ, judo, or kendo person has met an aikido person and come away with a singularly unique experience (that wasn't disdain).

Quite a few of the giants of aikido studied under Ueshiba for about 10 years and were regarded as being very good. Show me the modern aikido equivalent where someone has studied modern aikido for about 10 years and is good. Ueshiba himself was less than 10 years. (refer back to previous paragraph for how little other martial arts helped.)

Look at the Daito ryu greats and you find similar abilities that Ueshiba had (push test, stopping people in their tracks, throwing people using a handkerchief, etc). Where in modern aikido are these abilities? Why is it that some in Daito ryu can replicate them? What is Daito ryu aiki and why is it the same as Ueshiba's aikido aiki?

There is no timing in aikido. Rear attacks are dangerous for uke. Power. Where in modern aikido is the person who can actually replicate these skills? Modern aikido relies upon getting offline, drawing the attacker out in some manner whether large or small movement, blending with the attack, etc. No timing, no modern aikido. Ueshiba's ukes have said that they dumped out of the technique before Ueshiba's powerful grip got hold of them. Not physical power. aiki power. The same aiki power that they encountered when attacking from the rear.

Where in modern aikido is another Ueshiba? Where in modern aikido is another Shioda? another giant of aikido? no aiki, no giant, no great. Yet in Daito ryu, Kodo produced at least two greats, who are still living. Sagawa at least one.

At this point, I think students of aikido should be questioning each and every shihan about aiki, about the skills of Ueshiba, about Daito ryu aiki, about the training differences between the founder and the son, the founder and the students, about why Ueshiba's feats were replicated in the Daito ryu world and in some of the aikido greats yet have all but disappeared in modern aikido, about why Ueshiba valued push tests and modern aikido can't replicate what he did, about why the training times were so small compared to modern aikido, why did Tohei go outside to learn internal skills, why did Shioda go to Kodo, etc.

With a broad brush, There is no aiki in modern aikido. Aiki is the defining difference between modern aikido and Ueshiba's aikido. It really is as simple as that.

NOTE: There is no assigning blame here, no pointing fingers. History isn't as neatly packaged to give a clear answer as to why aiki was never taught. In his later years, Ueshiba doesn't seem to have clearly taught it at all. But, then again, was he teaching it but in his own spiritual terms and words? Throw in different eras of Japanese history, Japanese culture, a World War, etc, and you get quite a mixed bag of events.
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Old 06-11-2010, 07:09 AM   #50
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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My take on part of this issue is that what Tohei has shown quite well, is that the basic level(s) of what I call Internal Aiki, and the power that is one result of it (or, one level of it's application), can be learned and accessed through internal awareness and feeling/kinesthetic training, using relatively simple and straight-forward methodologies.

The thing is, there is a lot more that needs to be learned beyond that in order to externalize it properly, and actually apply it in Aikido. But without even the basic knowledge and training to make these internal connections, Aikido becomes, as has been said, "simply a form of Jujitsu" (not a bad thing, but in actuality very different.) This is mostly what I have seen in the Aikido world over the last three decades. If one wants to "bring back Aiki to Aikido", Tohei's "Ki training and mind/body coordination/unification" is a very reasonable place to start.

To me, though, it has it's limitations. Unfortunately, (forgive me my Ki Society friends) even though Ki Society training in this fundamental area is good, in my opinion it isn't always applied, or applied properly, interactively to actual Aikido practice and execution, and that's where things start to fall apart, so to speak. (I have known some very good older/upper level practitioners though.) Also, I think Ki Society has become over-identified with their teachings and training methodologies around Ki and leading the mind, such that some other things tend to be neglected. (Similarly, to me, many Aikido styles tend to be over-identified with external technique and neglect, are mistaken about, or are devoid of, the internal training, thus also being out of balance and "incomplete.") Coupled with the fact that, for various reasons, Ki Society training tends to be fairly isolated from other organizational training, I think this is why people would see Tohei's "attempt" at bringing this fundamental aspect to Aikido, and the expected results, as unsuccessful. In a real sense, it's true.

To me, what it ultimately means to both learn and then apply "Aiki", at different internal and external levels, to Aikido practice and actual execution, is the tricky and interesting thing. There are other methodologies than Tohei's available, though not many. To learn it, and learn to access it, it is best to be inducted into the experience by someone who is well-versed in it. It's difficult to find on one's own without being able to feel it. But to me, this stuff comprises the core elements and very heart of Aikido.
I am with Larry on all the above. My initial training was in the early days of the Ki Society and I have not trained with any of them since the late 70s so I cannot comment on what is going on today. However, in the early days, Ki training was the primary focus and I believe Tohie's methods will get you that foot in the door. His four principles of Mind and Body coordination are a good place to start to establish your internal skills foundation - but it is not the end, only the beginning. From my early training, I have picked up some internal skills, but every time I get with Dan Harden, I am quickly shown how much more I need to learn.

For those looking to get started, there is still plenty of material out there available on Tohie's stuff - but once you get an idea of what you need to do, you absolutely must get with someone with these skills to get the proper feedback for making adjustments in your training - it just cannot be done any other way.

Greg
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