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Old 06-16-2010, 02:30 PM   #76
Gorgeous George
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I would argue that good aiki is in the cage, aikido people just can't see it anymore because it looks [so] different than what we practice. Look at the attack angles of George St. Pierre, or the center-line shifts Anderson Silva takes before he strikes. Look at how fighters break balance before executing a technique... They may not call it aiki, but many of MMA fighters can express their aiki better than we can - we just refuse to acknowledge some brute is more in tune with the namesake of our art than we are... Not to mention the fact that they can do it under a circumstance in which we can hardly perform..
I guess one definition of aiki - in this context, certainly - is yielding, and taking the path of least resistance by allowing the person to do what they want, harmonising with this intent, and adding your power to it.
Whereas what I see in the UFC is a lot of fighters with a wrestling base, who use brute force - in direct conflict with the strength of their opponent - hence the success of Matt Hughes for a long time, for instance, who would pick people up - while they actively used their strength to resist - and slam them.
Chuck Liddell is likewise not concerned with aiki as I understand it - he just gathers as much force into a fist to someone's face, regardless of how 'strong' their face is...

I've seen plenty of things in the UFC where i think: 'He should allow him to push his wrist, as he has put such a lot of strength into doing so, that if he removed his resistance quickly, that would unbalance him' etc. - but instead they struggle against one another, not achieving the harmony which, in my opinion, and a lot of others', is what aiki(do) is.

I was interested with the matter of using atemi to create openings/destroy the posture of somebody before applying a technique when I saw Cro Cop do exactly that to get the choke on that guy on Saturday.
It worked then (beautifully), but i've seen plenty of instances in the UFC where people attempt the same choke on an opponent who can still actively resist. Aiki (I think) is not about doing what you want - it's about doing what your opponent/partner wants: you 'yield' to them, as Gozo Shioda said - you have no intent: you assist the other in their intent, but in the process bring about a different outcome.

When GSP and Anderson Silva can do it in a(n actual) war, like O'sensei, Koichi Tohei, Gozo Shioda, and many more aikidoka did, who faced death on a daily basis for years, then returned to civilian life to practice aikido in the way we now practice it, i'll regard the mindset of MMA sportsmen as more valuable/brave than that of aikidoka.
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Old 06-16-2010, 02:45 PM   #77
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Jon Marshall wrote: View Post
Oops, messed that up. Try again...

Larry Novick wrote:
Quote:
Basically, I really agree with you [Mark Murray], except on one point. If we think of Aiki as only a way of changing the body, or that it only "lives at the physical level" then I feel we are limiting it to only that level of training and experience. To me, it goes way beyond that, into the energetic and spiritual realms as well. This is just my own personal experience.

In fact, I think this is what distinguishes Ueshiba from all, or most of, the others who "got or get Aiki."
Yes, I thought Ueshiba made it quite clear that the aiki he was talking about was different to the aiki that others had spoken of. I think it's fair to assume, given how much Ueshiba spoke about spirituality and the divine, that he was talking about spiritual realms and going beyond body or mind-body aiki. So maybe he thought that one could bypass the grosser mind-body aiki (the stuff that actually works in fights, and which we call Internal Skills) and go straight to a more spiritual expression of aiki. i.e. that it was not so much that Ueshiba was unwilling to teach mind-body aiki, but that he thought he was teaching something better - higher.

Could this may have been Ueshiba's big mistake? That he pitched his teachings too high and failed to remember how necessary his foundation in mind-body aiki training was to his, later, more spiritual understanding of aiki. This would explain why, as Jon Reading suggested, we are not finding enlightenment AND can't fight very well.

Just a hypothesis,
Jon.
Jon - I think you have hit on a profoundly important point here, and relevant in how one approaches "Aiki training."

"Aiki skills" gained through subtle physical reorganization are great, and provide something that is, I think, missing in most Aikido training. But in my world, I can't stop there. The energetic and spiritual levels add, for me, expanded dimensions of experience and training such that one can approach even the "physical level" Aiki skills from a slightly different posture - that of connecting to an internal experience that then provides the outer reorganization and skills.

As you point out, I too think this is what O Sensei was ultimately more in tune with, and was trying to get through to his students about. At that point, few seemed to be interested, or to get it. But I think this is what Tohei was trying to point to - attending to a deeper internal experience - what he would eventually call "mind-body unification" - and, in learning to maintain the integrity of that inner, dynamic state, have that be the guiding experiential principle to gain the "other skills." Since, as you say/imply (if I understand you correctly), both levels seem to be generally missing from modern Aikido training, things have.... gone awry....

Added to that, since O Sensei's focus clearly was, in the end, spiritual, I think he stopped separating "Aiki skills", which can be applied to many things, from "Aikido", which is another aspect of this whole thing.

Last edited by Aiki1 : 06-16-2010 at 02:55 PM.

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Old 06-17-2010, 11:36 AM   #78
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Hi Larry,

The problem, as I see it, is that Aiki as in Internal Skills can be measured fairly objectively, whereas Aiki as spirituality cannot. So I think it's the IS foundation that's lacking rather than the spirituality, since spirituality can and is reinvented within each individual.

If we're to use aiki as spiritual path then we surely need the foundation of internal skills, otherwise the word loses its' significance (we could just as easily say satori). But with a good aiki (IS) foundation, those who want to pursue a spiritual vision with it can do so. What's more, that foundation does not have to be taught by people whose focus particularly spiritual.

My take on the spirituality thing is pragmatic. The perfect aikido waza subdues without injuring, which is spiritual in my book. But, as many knowledgeable people argue, this is only realistic in a fight when you are very dominant. And that's when the aiki comes in.

Jon.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:55 AM   #79
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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George Howard wrote: View Post
I guess one definition of aiki - in this context, certainly - is yielding, and taking the path of least resistance by allowing the person to do what they want, harmonising with this intent, and adding your power to it.
Whereas what I see in the UFC is a lot of fighters with a wrestling base, who use brute force - in direct conflict with the strength of their opponent - hence the success of Matt Hughes for a long time, for instance, who would pick people up - while they actively used their strength to resist - and slam them.
Chuck Liddell is likewise not concerned with aiki as I understand it - he just gathers as much force into a fist to someone's face, regardless of how 'strong' their face is...
George, do you have any experience at all in a MMA paradigm to lend any credibility these words? With lots of time in a grappling setting (wrestling, submissions, etc.) I'd put the body sensitivity skills (sense of center, sensitivity to another's position) one develops in that setting to be far superior than most things I've seen in the average aikido dojo. I'd substitue "the surgical application of power" for your (I'd hazard uneducated and non-experiential) description of "brute force".

Quote:
George Howard wrote: View Post
I've seen plenty of things in the UFC where i think: 'He should allow him to push his wrist, as he has put such a lot of strength into doing so, that if he removed his resistance quickly, that would unbalance him' etc. - but instead they struggle against one another, not achieving the harmony which, in my opinion, and a lot of others', is what aiki(do) is.
I would welcome you to visit any MMA gym of repute and see how that works out for you. This notion of "harmony" that you posit I think has a lot more to do with "cooperation" . . which is a noble philosophical aim and definitely has its place in training, but has little to do with managing someone coming at you with the intent to really do harm.

Quote:
George Howard wrote: View Post
I was interested with the matter of using atemi to create openings/destroy the posture of somebody before applying a technique when I saw Cro Cop do exactly that to get the choke on that guy on Saturday.
It worked then (beautifully), but i've seen plenty of instances in the UFC where people attempt the same choke on an opponent who can still actively resist. Aiki (I think) is not about doing what you want - it's about doing what your opponent/partner wants: you 'yield' to them, as Gozo Shioda said - you have no intent: you assist the other in their intent, but in the process bring about a different outcome.
Actually, I think your interpretation is a bit simplistic . . if you look deeper into the context of the discussion, then you get into the notion of having a coordinated body that can "borrow another person's force" in a manner that 1) Offsets any power they can bring to bear on you 2) Makes it possible for that person to defeat themselves when their power is returned to them = aiki from an applicative perspective.

Quote:
George Howard wrote: View Post
When GSP and Anderson Silva can do it in a(n actual) war, like O'sensei, Koichi Tohei, Gozo Shioda, and many more aikidoka did, who faced death on a daily basis for years, then returned to civilian life to practice aikido in the way we now practice it, i'll regard the mindset of MMA sportsmen as more valuable/brave than that of aikidoka.
Wow, I really have no idea what relevant kind of point you are trying to make with this comment at all . . .
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Old 06-17-2010, 01:40 PM   #80
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Hi Larry,

The problem, as I see it, is that Aiki as in Internal Skills can be measured fairly objectively, whereas Aiki as spirituality cannot. So I think it's the IS foundation that's lacking rather than the spirituality, since spirituality can and is reinvented within each individual.

If we're to use aiki as spiritual path then we surely need the foundation of internal skills, otherwise the word loses its' significance (we could just as easily say satori). But with a good aiki (IS) foundation, those who want to pursue a spiritual vision with it can do so. What's more, that foundation does not have to be taught by people whose focus particularly spiritual.

My take on the spirituality thing is pragmatic. The perfect aikido waza subdues without injuring, which is spiritual in my book. But, as many knowledgeable people argue, this is only realistic in a fight when you are very dominant. And that's when the aiki comes in.

Jon.
Spirituality, in-and-of-itself, cannot be measured, to be sure. My point is simply that these skills can indeed be developed from both, though different, directions, and the results can be "objectively measured" in either case, in that sense. My guess is that O Sensei did both, but that's only a guess.

True, most, by far, who try to "take the 'spiritual' path" (or think they are) don't get the skills though, in my observation. Sometimes the result is to the detriment of Aikido.

Last edited by Aiki1 : 06-17-2010 at 01:43 PM.

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Old 06-17-2010, 01:42 PM   #81
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
....This notion of "harmony" that you posit I think has a lot more to do with "cooperation" . .
As an aside, back a good decade and more ago, I had the opportunity to hang around and observe Rickson Gracie a fair amount, for a while. I watched him teach, train, and roll (grapple.) He was doing something that almost no one else I have ever seen in BJJ really does. Totally effortless, flowing, really amazing stuff. Shocking at times in fact, how easy it was for him. I would definitely call it Aiki in a practical sense. He wasn't manifesting "everything" that one might classify as "internal Aiki skills" but his ability to use the other person's intention, movement, and in essence, energy, was phenomenal. So, somebody out there, at least, has some sense of deeper skills and their application.

Similarly though to what some are pointing to in Aikido, most BJJ practitioners are not doing what he is doing, nor do they necessarily know that that level of skill etc. exists.

One thing he used to say, and this was not a mis-translation on his part, was "flow with the go" as opposed to the conventional phrase. I liked that a lot.

Last edited by Aiki1 : 06-17-2010 at 01:45 PM.

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Old 06-17-2010, 04:37 PM   #82
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Regarding Shoida of the Yoshinkan branch, there has been mention of his spending some training time with Kodo Horikawa besides his training with Ueshiba.

However, in addition from "Aikido Shugyo" in a footnote on pg 153 we get the tidbit, "Shioda Kancho says that during his years at the Ueshiba Dojo, he once had the opportunity to act as uke for Sokaku."

I have wondered if this time led him to eventually train with Kodo later in his life, having experienced first hand the effect (affect) of aiki.

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Old 06-17-2010, 09:20 PM   #83
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Larry Novick wrote: View Post
As an aside, back a good decade and more ago, I had the opportunity to hang around and observe Rickson Gracie a fair amount, for a while. I watched him teach, train, and roll (grapple.) He was doing something that almost no one else I have ever seen in BJJ really does. Totally effortless, flowing, really amazing stuff. Shocking at times in fact, how easy it was for him. I would definitely call it Aiki in a practical sense. He wasn't manifesting "everything" that one might classify as "internal Aiki skills" but his ability to use the other person's intention, movement, and in essence, energy, was phenomenal. So, somebody out there, at least, has some sense of deeper skills and their application.

Similarly though to what some are pointing to in Aikido, most BJJ practitioners are not doing what he is doing, nor do they necessarily know that that level of skill etc. exists.

One thing he used to say, and this was not a mis-translation on his part, was "flow with the go" as opposed to the conventional phrase. I liked that a lot.
Two further (Potential) asides . .

1) For a long time (maybe still? I'm less in touch with those circles these days) - Rickson was considered by many to be the standard bearer for BJJ of his generation. His competition record across a number of grappling sports (judo, bjj, sambo, wrestling) is impressive, to say the least, add on to it his accomplishments as one of the pioneer champions of MMA outside of Brazil . . the question is a valid one - is he teaching people BJJ tm or is he teaching them to do what he does (or where's the overlap versus where's the gap, if any)? No dog or assumption in this one, just more questions.

2) There's been a number of conversations behind the scenes about some of the curriculum and training methodologies of BJJ at certain levels where there's "secret teachings" that may point to some training of jin and ki/kokyu. I know when Royler Gracie flipped me over from the guard years ago at a seminar, there was smooth movement and good leverage at least, but my uninitiated-into-any-explicit-internals self at that point didn't know whether it was internal strength or just explosive movement combined with good position. The level of sophistication and depth of internals in BJJ, who knows? But I think like many arts that come from older traditions, there was a time when it was more widespread and some things get emphasized/dropped/lost over time so . . *shrugs* . . . maybe yes, maybe no.

Last edited by Budd : 06-17-2010 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:07 PM   #84
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
Two further (Potential) asides . .

1) For a long time (maybe still? I'm less in touch with those circles these days) - Rickson was considered by many to be the standard bearer for BJJ of his generation. His competition record across a number of grappling sports (judo, bjj, sambo, wrestling) is impressive, to say the least, add on to it his accomplishments as one of the pioneer champions of MMA outside of Brazil . . the question is a valid one - is he teaching people BJJ tm or is he teaching them to do what he does (or where's the overlap versus where's the gap, if any)? No dog or assumption in this one, just more questions.

2) There's been a number of conversations behind the scenes about some of the curriculum and training methodologies of BJJ at certain levels where there's "secret teachings" that may point to some training of jin and ki/kokyu. I know when Royler Gracie flipped me over from the guard years ago at a seminar, there was smooth movement and good leverage at least, but my uninitiated-into-any-explicit-internals self at that point didn't know whether it was internal strength or just explosive movement combined with good position. The level of sophistication and depth of internals in BJJ, who knows? But I think like many arts that come from older traditions, there was a time when it was more widespread and some things get emphasized/dropped/lost over time so . . *shrugs* . . . maybe yes, maybe no.
I think Rickson is trying to teach what he actually does, but I don't know who is really getting it. As far as "deeper training", Rickson is an a yoga adept and practices Ginastica Natural. If that's unfamiliar, it is described as "a mixture of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ground exercises, yoga, stretching, breathing techniques and strength training."

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Old 06-23-2010, 08:20 AM   #85
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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I think Rickson is trying to teach what he actually does, but I don't know who is really getting it.
Are you still in the loop enough there to make that call? (not questioning "who the heck are YOU?" but more "do you have a sense what they're up to, now?") I don't hear of a lot of guys from that space (although one of my former BJJ training buddies was one of Rickson's blue belts back in the 90s when the UFCs were first getting started ) anymore, so I don't know what the focus of the curriculum is - if it's Rickson't "stuff", BJJ, MMA, some combo, a tiered school with a big flock to keep the lights on and an inner circle that does the real training - hard to tell.

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Larry Novick wrote: View Post
As far as "deeper training", Rickson is an a yoga adept and practices Ginastica Natural. If that's unfamiliar, it is described as "a mixture of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ground exercises, yoga, stretching, breathing techniques and strength training."
I'm familiar with those disciplines and while I don't disagree that Rickson particularly might have added "stuff" to his game and bodyskillset in that practice - I'm more talking about the "stuff" that is inside traditional BJJ practice (as brought over in the "judo" at that time from Japan). If you look at the mythology of BJJ (or history, depending on your level of dogma), Helio "discovered" a way in which jujitsu could better be used to beat someone larger than you . . etc . . with some very ancillary conversations behind the scenes I wouldn't be surprised if some of the less sophisticated ki/kokyu stuffs hadn't made their way into it. Helio, being smaller and in his research to "maximize" leverage and the application of force . . well . . *follows bread crumbs that may or may not be imaginary*

And I wouldn't necessarily go there, either if I hadn't talked to a few folks that, when feeling this kind of weird strength, didn't start talking about how their teachers or teacher's teacher in brazil would be talking about using breath and pressure and intent to effect a lock or submission or change in position. I tend not to put much stock into "my teacher sez" with regard to how something works because there have been whole generations of a system where the advocates parrot jargon and make things up.

However, if there is something to it, at the very least there's an implication that more of this ki/kokyu stuff was wider spread, wasn't well explained and subsequently has been lost in transmission in a number of places.

Who knows? Perhaps it was never that high a priority . . but in my experiences feeling someone with or without this sort of unusual power - regardless of your abilities to apply it - having this kind of development effects your overall quality of life (for the better - and that's a generalization, but I think relevant to the other "on fire" thread in the General section with regard to size, health, habits, etc.).

As it's been a hobby of mine to see how IS fits better into a grappling (and moving on into MMA) paradigm, I see some breadcrumbs that are already there, even if enough have been eaten or misplaced to obscure the path, it provides something of an "up" or "down" directional vector for hopefully further ascending the budo mountain.

In terms of aikido - at this point in my martial hobby training - aikido is a luxury choice you can make based on doing all of the "other work" that makes such a choice possible.
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:45 AM   #86
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Are you still in the loop enough there to make that call? (not questioning "who the heck are YOU?" but more "do you have a sense what they're up to, now?") I don't hear of a lot of guys from that space (although one of my former BJJ training buddies was one of Rickson's blue belts back in the 90s when the UFCs were first getting started ) anymore, so I don't know what the focus of the curriculum is - if it's Rickson't "stuff", BJJ, MMA, some combo, a tiered school with a big flock to keep the lights on and an inner circle that does the real training - hard to tell.

I'm familiar with those disciplines and while I don't disagree that Rickson particularly might have added "stuff" to his game and bodyskillset in that practice - I'm more talking about the "stuff" that is inside traditional BJJ practice (as brought over in the "judo" at that time from Japan). If you look at the mythology of BJJ (or history, depending on your level of dogma), Helio "discovered" a way in which jujitsu could better be used to beat someone larger than you . . etc . . with some very ancillary conversations behind the scenes I wouldn't be surprised if some of the less sophisticated ki/kokyu stuffs hadn't made their way into it. Helio, being smaller and in his research to "maximize" leverage and the application of force . . well . . *follows bread crumbs that may or may not be imaginary*

And I wouldn't necessarily go there, either if I hadn't talked to a few folks that, when feeling this kind of weird strength, didn't start talking about how their teachers or teacher's teacher in brazil would be talking about using breath and pressure and intent to effect a lock or submission or change in position. I tend not to put much stock into "my teacher sez" with regard to how something works because there have been whole generations of a system where the advocates parrot jargon and make things up.

However, if there is something to it, at the very least there's an implication that more of this ki/kokyu stuff was wider spread, wasn't well explained and subsequently has been lost in transmission in a number of places.

Who knows? Perhaps it was never that high a priority . . but in my experiences feeling someone with or without this sort of unusual power - regardless of your abilities to apply it - having this kind of development effects your overall quality of life (for the better - and that's a generalization, but I think relevant to the other "on fire" thread in the General section with regard to size, health, habits, etc.).

As it's been a hobby of mine to see how IS fits better into a grappling (and moving on into MMA) paradigm, I see some breadcrumbs that are already there, even if enough have been eaten or misplaced to obscure the path, it provides something of an "up" or "down" directional vector for hopefully further ascending the budo mountain.

In terms of aikido - at this point in my martial hobby training - aikido is a luxury choice you can make based on doing all of the "other work" that makes such a choice possible.
I hear, you, unfortunately I'm not in that world anymore except peripherally, so I don't know what's going on except that I know Rickson started to teach a series of "special" seminars that had to be attended consecutively, but I don't know if they continued after the first couple or so.... I don't hear much anymore....

Last edited by Aiki1 : 06-23-2010 at 09:58 AM.

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Old 06-23-2010, 09:57 AM   #87
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Budd writes:
And I wouldn't necessarily go there, either if I hadn't talked to a few folks that, when feeling this kind of weird strength, didn't start talking about how their teachers or teacher's teacher in brazil would be talking about using breath and pressure and intent to effect a lock or submission or change in position. I tend not to put much stock into "my teacher sez" with regard to how something works because there have been whole generations of a system where the advocates parrot jargon and make things up.

However, if there is something to it, at the very least there's an implication that more of this ki/kokyu stuff was wider spread, wasn't well explained and subsequently has been lost in transmission in a number of places.

Who knows? Perhaps it was never that high a priority . . but in my experiences feeling someone with or without this sort of unusual power - regardless of your abilities to apply it - having this kind of development effects your overall quality of life (for the better - and that's a generalization, but I think relevant to the other "on fire" thread in the General section with regard to size, health, habits, etc.).

As it's been a hobby of mine to see how IS fits better into a grappling (and moving on into MMA) paradigm, I see some breadcrumbs that are already there, even if enough have been eaten or misplaced to obscure the path, it provides something of an "up" or "down" directional vector for hopefully further ascending the budo mountain.

In terms of aikido - at this point in my martial hobby training - aikido is a luxury choice you can make based on doing all of the "other work" that makes such a choice possible.



To address your point about how it may or may not have been in the arts, look again at the story in "The fighting arts of Japan"
It is poignant that a) his introduction to the aikijujutsu guy was as a reward . That denotes worth doesn't it? But therein lies the other interesting story b) when the Englishman inquired about it; the teacher answered "Few know about it and few practice it."

Of further interest, when our Englishman asked back at the Kodokan, he was told of only one guy-an undefeated 6th dan who when he used this power -could not be thrown. Imagine the unstated internal dialogue from the englishmen "What the_______?"
So there you were in Japan in the 1920's and it was all but unknown or lost even then.

I think there was, is, and always will be, a confusing factor involved when it comes to fighting with it or without it.
Fighting skills will suffice........period.
Fighting skills mask weaknesses.
IP/aiki (whatever degree you have it) will work on people in marginal environments and impress a hell of lot of people. However, that same level of IP/aiki may totally fall apart against a trained fighter.
Hence the skill of IP/aiki may be judged as less important.
Only in certain areas are you going to run into people who have it to a decent degree and also know how to fight with it. While IP/aiki and fighting are indeed two different subjects; it at least gets the attention of both parties concerned when you ca actually use the stuff in free from combatives.
I know I almost dismissed it when I could blow through people. Who cared, It was only being able to see it work in Judo that it got my attention for good.
So we are where they were a hundred years ago; at a certain level it speaks for itself, it either speaks horribly, and cannot defend its worth, it is laughably inept, it is fairly decent, or it can be truly profound. Most will never feel it, of those who do, most of them will never really train to get it. And of those who become really good at it.....the cycle just repeats itself. Who has it, who can fight it, how do you know? On to who will really train it...yaada yaada yaada
Bill tells me that this traininng has all but absorbed him. Yet he wonders who among those he is involved with will ever really pursue it and get anywhere with it. Was it ever any different?
Dan
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Old 06-23-2010, 10:58 AM   #88
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Bill tells me that this traininng has all but absorbed him.
Yes. To the detriment of my two other organized martial arts: aikido and kali. I completely walked away from both. But, I am beginning to see that it is only temporary and that at some point, I must return. See my reply below ...

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Yet he wonders who among those he is involved with will ever really pursue it and get anywhere with it.
Pursuing it is different than getting somewhere with it. As noted by a few high level martial artists in various arts, training with those who don't have aiki doesn't really get one very far. Oh, enough to impress those without. But it's not really enough to stand out among high level jujutsu people either, let alone good fighters.

How do you not only pursue aiki, but actually get quite good at it? Takeda: sumo training (competition), kenjutsu (competition), jujutsu (people testing skills), and fighting.
Ueshiba: Had people test him continuously from all ranges of arts and fighting.

Aikido great Tomiki: Judo (competition) and people testing him.
Aikido great Shioda: fighting and people testing him.

Today, with certain people: Judo (competition), MMA (competition), people testing them, and fighting.

It really isn't that hard to view back through history and come to a conclusion that to get great like Takeda and Ueshiba you have to:

1. Train aiki compulsively (solo and paired)

2. You have to use it in competition (not necessarily MMA but high level randori in aikido would work as would judo training).

3. You have to train aiki with weapons.

4. You have to fight with it, armed and unarmed.

As you can see, Aikido can be a vehicle to get to some level. I think some solid training in aikido with #1 and #2 will appease most people. Some will add in #3 from various sources and get a bit better. But, to progress beyond that level, one must take that next step and find an environment to fight. One doesn't *need* to do that, though.

That makes me come back to my two organizational martial arts. The vehicles are there in aikido and kali. I can actually train #1 through #4 using both. Albo kali/silat is built such that you have to freestyle "fight" to get better.

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Was it ever any different?
There are major differences today. Huge differences.

1. The Internet. Worldwide communication makes a tremendous difference in gaining knowledge. Without that, word of mouth would never inform such a large number of people about aiki.

2. Training methodologies. American training methodologies are better (for the most part) than Japanese ones. (Generalization) And that has made a difference in how people are being trained -- for the better. Some genius devised a systematic approach through hard work and many students. That approach creates aiki from martially-trained people and nonmartially-trained people.

3. Aiki vs aiki. Historically, this has very rarely happened. And it should be a subset of #4 above. This is the area where I think one can push the limits even higher for skill level. And this is where Ueshiba's aikido can truly shine. It is built for an aiki to aiki encounter in freestyle environments with the option of two outcomes: in, down, disabled or pass-through, appropriately matched.
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Old 06-23-2010, 11:13 AM   #89
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

wow. really great discussion.with gratitude; thanks.Josh
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:34 PM   #90
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Hello Mark
I guess I can agree with most of that-except for aikido being a good vehicle for this. I think aikido is a partial vehicle for this, so is Daito ryu.
Discussions I am having right now almost on a daily basis are with aikido teachers go more or less the same;
On the one hand they are on fire for what this is doing and can potentially do, but even with their skills only just beginning to grow they have to dial back just to do "aikido" with people because it is blowing everyone over and they themselves just stand there and no one can do anything to them. At least one DR person said it was weird going to the dojo, sort of anti-climatic. They stare at the teacher and both know there is nothing he can do to throw them. The double edge sword of IP/aiki is that it is a constant within you and very difficult to shut off.

At some point people are going to realize that this training is the fast ticket to senior level in any aiki based art. If they practice it correctly they will be the 400 lb. gorilla in the room with almost no effort involved. It really isnlt a case of being a jerk. Its a case of almost having to totaly shut off for what they are trying to do to work. At a point Aiki age or kokyu ho or any throw is just not ever going to work on you anymore. Most attempts at kuzushi end up with them kuzushiing themselves. Trouble is, where do you fit-in at that point. Again, its why I thought it best to teach teachers; at least they can set the agenda and let it be practiced. A junior would either get frustrated and leave or get tossed out after being tagged as "uncooperative" for just standing there.

Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 06-23-2010 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:49 PM   #91
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Well, I don't necessarily buy into the "just do conditioning" and then "fight" that seems to be indirectly espoused, either. (EDIT: Though I do agree with the "partial vehicle" part - per my "sweet spot" comment) Where I think aikido (or push hands patterns, or grappling drills, or <insert cooperative paired practice>) should fit into the sweet spot is that the senior level person should be able to progressively guide the junior into the correct "shape, feeling and flow" of an action, regardless of which side they are playing on (uke/nage/tori/shidachi/sparring partner).

So having said that, if you have an instructor that thinks nikkyo should be applied by clamping your hand at an angle to their shoulder while they drop their weight on your wrist . . yeah, if you have trained yourself to direct their weight into a balance hole on contact, then when they try to crank - receive their power (in this case applied to your wrist) into your feet and return it (again, into their balance hole, under them, above them, etc.) . . you might stand their while they crank and look at them, going "Really? I give you this and you just want to twist my wrist??" . .

So, it's going to be harder to find a place where you fit in, more than likely . . but I think the model of paired practice is just fine and has it's place, alongside doing the conditioning work by yourself and then having a format to really test it (hard randori, sparring, etc.). Just up to you to do the work, find people that want to train like you do and go from there.

Where that fits into modern and mainstream aikido, probably going to eventually be up to a dojo by dojo case and implementation . .
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Old 06-23-2010, 02:01 PM   #92
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

[quote=Budd Yuhasz;259844]Well, I don't necessarily buy into the "just do conditioning" and then "fight" that seems to be indirectly espoused, either. .[/QUOTE
I would never overtly say that, or "indirectly espouse" it either. That is a disastrous way to train.
Cheers
Dan
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Old 06-23-2010, 02:07 PM   #93
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Ha, I know, Dan - hopefully my edit cleared that up - actually, I was thinking of one of your sayings, "I'm talking to this guy *points to head* to listen and feel what's happening, not this guy *points to body* that wants to fight and compete" . . so yeah, wasn't clear.
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Old 06-23-2010, 02:57 PM   #94
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
At some point people are going to realize that this training is the fast ticket to senior level in any aiki based art. If they practice it correctly they will be the 400 lb. gorilla in the room with almost no effort involved. It really isnlt a case of being a jerk. Its a case of almost having to totaly shut off for what they are trying to do to work. At a point Aiki age or kokyu ho or any throw is just not ever going to work on you anymore. Most attempts at kuzushi end up with them kuzushiing themselves. Trouble is, where do you fit-in at that point. Again, its why I thought it best to teach teachers; at least they can set the agenda and let it be practiced. A junior would either get frustrated and leave or get tossed out after being tagged as "uncooperative" for just standing there.

Cheers
Dan
Dan,

From an aikido perspective, isn't shutting it off or dialing it down part of the package that is aikido? Isn't it likely that this was what Ueshiba was expecting from his training method? If you're just standing there shutting someone down, you pretty much are just being a jerk. Isn't the point to resist just enough that they can feel what they need to feel and in turn you can feel what you need to feel from them to know they're on the right track. As everyone progresses, the level of resistance and the lengths one takes that resistance increases. If you have other (or just one other) like minded people in your dojo, from an aikido standpoint, you've probably got everything you need to have a happy and steady progression towards some real skills all in a completely aikido-centric way.

As for the teaching teachers thing. I'm sure everyone tells you that they're going to start incorporating this stuff, but for the people who are part of large organizations, mainly the aikikai, have you found this to actually be true? How many of these shodans and shihans are actually taking the risk of running afoul of the mothership, which could cost them recognized rank, affiliation (very important for many), etc, for this ? On some level doesn't instructing the lower ranks, the ones who will be the next generation of teachers, offer the best chance of success for reintegration of these training methods? Thanks.
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Old 06-23-2010, 03:26 PM   #95
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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If you're just standing there shutting someone down, you pretty much are just being a jerk. Isn't the point to resist just enough that they can feel what they need to feel and in turn you can feel what you need to feel from them to know they're on the right track. As everyone progresses, the level of resistance and the lengths one takes that resistance increases. If you have other (or just one other) like minded people in your dojo, from an aikido standpoint, you've probably got everything you need to have a happy and steady progression towards some real skills all in a completely aikido-centric way.
Obviously not Dan, but my own experience isn't that you're trying to shut people down just to be a dick, but that when you have some frame/IP/whatever and you're used to working with people who also have some frame/IP/whatever and you train with someone who simply doesn't have any and isn't used to working with people who do, they just never actually affect you. It's like they just kind of orbit around you at the point of contact, but there's no impetus to move or be thrown or anything. Conversely, when you go to affect them, there's so little structure behind them, that they simply fold or fall before you feel like you've gotten to do *anything*.

If my partner doesn't have any meaningful frame, I can't tell them how to do a technique against me. All I can do to help them is walk them over to the wall and start developing some frame, thus the solo work.

Chris Moses
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:33 PM   #96
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

Please note that I bolded "can" and specified "Ueshiba's aikido". I wasn't really thinking about "modern aikido" at all.
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:47 AM   #97
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Obviously not Dan, but my own experience isn't that you're trying to shut people down just to be a dick, but that when you have some frame/IP/whatever and you're used to working with people who also have some frame/IP/whatever and you train with someone who simply doesn't have any and isn't used to working with people who do, they just never actually affect you. It's like they just kind of orbit around you at the point of contact, but there's no impetus to move or be thrown or anything. Conversely, when you go to affect them, there's so little structure behind them, that they simply fold or fall before you feel like you've gotten to do *anything*.

If my partner doesn't have any meaningful frame, I can't tell them how to do a technique against me. All I can do to help them is walk them over to the wall and start developing some frame, thus the solo work.
Hi Christian,

I understand what you're saying and wasn't asking from how does it feel perspective, I was just commenting on Dan's post about people not being sure how they fit in when they have these body skills and also how reluctant they are to give them up in the typically dojo setting with people who don't have them.

My point was that dialing back your ability to shut someone down or be moved by them is exactly the problem Ueshiba seemed to address with both the training methodology and a lot of the philosophy behind his art. If your art is a way to develop aiki (aiki.do to steal Dans term) then you're either going to have to segment your training classes based on skill or you're going to have to expect more skilled people to give in and let the un/less-skilled work through these things until they start getting some skills of their own. So I just don't understand how people who are getting these skills feel so out of place UNLESS they're in a situation where they simply can't offer any suggestions or advice and anything the might offer would be so far in left field from the wya things are already explained that if it were overheard by the head instructor there, it would get them in trouble. That environment is foriegn to me, but I know that it does exist. It just seems that "this stuff" fits so well with the general nature of what aikido is supposd to be (as it should) that I think you'd have to be pretty divergent in your ways of explaining things to not be able to subtly pass along some good advice to people that would help their training and possibly get them on the right track (albeit slowly), even if they knew nothing of solo exercises and the like. Granted I'm a noob, but even in my mega-noobness I started seeing the common ground almost immediately.
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:47 AM   #98
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Well we're not dealing with absolutes here, but Shioda specifically referenced the typical day as an pre-war uchideshi as being something around 14 hours long (5:30-7:30 I think, without having it here in front of me). I recall similar remarks from others in a variety of aikidojournal interviews. They trained a LOT and of course it wasn't all direct training under Ueshiba, but that doesn't matter. Shioda himself did a lot of paying attention then a lot of figuring things out on his own too, which is still training. I don't really care what the mass of those students were doing, just the ones that really got it.
Wanted to post some info regarding the training days. I don't get the impression that they trained a lot, but rather sporadically. So, the 14 hour training days aren't really holding up too well, unless there's other articles that show something different? Also, the training itself wasn't structured or organized neatly as modern training is.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=71

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Aikido Journal wrote:
Young Gozo was still a middle school student at the time and, in the beginning, attended only morning sessions having to arise at four am. Later, at his father's urging in mapping out his future, Gozo set his sights on an adventure-filled life participating in the "reconstruction" of Mongolia. As part of his preparations for the strenuous years ahead, he resolved to withdraw from school for a two-year period to devote himself full-time to aikido training. Thereafter, he continued practicing aikido while a student at Takushoku University until his departure for military service in March 1941.
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=616
Regarding 20 days of training ...

Quote:
Aikido Journal wrote:
We got up at five in the morning, swung our bokken (wooden swords) five hundred times, and then practiced how to move our bodies. At that time the teaching method was different from today's. There was nothing like, "Put your feet at such and such an angle" or "Look in the direction of your hands", etc. Ueshiba Sensei showed us how to move and told us to practice our skills and bring our minds into oneness with nature. We just imitated his movements without understanding anything he said. We did that for about an hour. Then we prepared breakfast. First, we made breakfast for Ueshiba Sensei, and served him in turn. After he finished his breakfast we started eating. We took a rest after clearing the table. At ten o'clock we practiced taijutsu (empty handed techniques) for about two hours. After lunch, we rested until three o'clock. From three to five we trained again. Our way of training was, for example, to hold Ueshiba Sensei's hands or shoulders or seize him from behind and he would free himself from our grip. He would merely say to us, "Master it and forget it."
We also have to remember that Ueshiba was very popular during this time.

Quote:
Aikido Journal wrote:
Morihei Ueshiba was extremely active at this point of his career and taught not only at his Kobukan Dojo in Shinjuku but also the Nakano military institute, the Military Police School, and the Army Toyama School among other locations.
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:50 AM   #99
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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Hi Christian,

I understand what you're saying and wasn't asking from how does it feel perspective, I was just commenting on Dan's post about people not being sure how they fit in when they have these body skills and also how reluctant they are to give them up in the typically dojo setting with people who don't have them.
You're still thinking of them as 'techniques'. Like I would apply a certain technique to shut someone down. This is more about changing how your body works. You can't really shut it off any more than you can make yourself taller (a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much). When I first met Ark he talked about creating the martial body (developing the frame) before one could learn any bujutsu. When we started doing Aunkai training, we (my whole dojo) basically took about two years off from doing waza. Most dojos are not going to do that. Now that we've come back to waza, we're having to rework how we do most of our techniques, because the old stuff (aside from the judo kihon) just doesn't work on people in the dojo anymore.

We're still working on how to integrate new people however, and are about to start offering a beginners class of sorts that will focus on tanren, ukemi and basic judo/jujutsu. It's our belief, that without those basics, you just can't do aiki.

I've gone through the exact scenario that Dan outlined however where I was training at two dojos, and the training in one led to severe frustration at the other. I continued at both for a while, but eventually had leave one behind, because I felt that I was dialing it back (as you describe) so much, that I wasn't doing anything in class. That was before doing Aunkai however. Certainly there are some people out there that make it work, and enjoy what they're doing.

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Old 06-24-2010, 09:13 AM   #100
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Re: Ki Aikido - quote from Gleason Sensei

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You're still thinking of them as 'techniques'. Like I would apply a certain technique to shut someone down. This is more about changing how your body works. You can't really shut it off any more than you can make yourself taller (a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much). When I first met Ark he talked about creating the martial body (developing the frame) before one could learn any bujutsu. When we started doing Aunkai training, we (my whole dojo) basically took about two years off from doing waza. Most dojos are not going to do that. Now that we've come back to waza, we're having to rework how we do most of our techniques, because the old stuff (aside from the judo kihon) just doesn't work on people in the dojo anymore.
no, I'm not thinking of it as techniques at all and it's not about "turning it off".

When you're doing pushout with someone who doesn't have your skill, do you just shut them down (which you could do and no amount of them standing there trying is going to change that) or do you dial it back a little so that they can feel what htey need to feel in order to progress and work through the exercise and you in turn, still feel something? I'm going to assume it's the latter of the two. It's no different in what I'm describing. The techniques of aikido become nothing more than paired exercises with each party building their body during their respective roles in the techniques.
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