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Old 10-05-2010, 10:31 AM   #1
MM
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Aiki Pointers?

A listing of possible exercises, thoughts, ideas, etc.

We can see some of the outward physical realities of aiki in the push tests that Takeda, Kodo, Sagawa, and Ueshiba did. Not to mention other commonalities between them that were rarely duplicated. But, *how* did they get to the point of being able to do those things? Where are the pointers to the training?

Some possible things (I say possible because written words fail quite often to capture the essential training):

1. Black Belt 1968 Vol 6 No 5
Ueshiba demonstrating at Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo. "If he's going to pull you," said O-Sensei, "then, let him pull. Don't pull against him; pull in unison with him."

===

2. Black Belt 1969 Vol 7 No 1
Article about Kenji Tomiki
"The first thing they do is hop up and down the length of the dojo in a squatting position, then walk back and forth on the balls of their feet with the knees touching the tatami and the body twisting from side to side at each step."

"Next, they pair off and begin pushing against each other's hands, which are extended in front, followed by wrist-twisting moves and throws."

===

3. Black Belt 1976 Vol 14 No 3
Article about Hikitsuchi by Donald Deed.
Quotes Hikitsuchi saying, "The Kojiki started from the birth of the universe. By studying this you will understand the true meaning of aikido. There were two gods Izanagi and Izanami, a couple from whom several other gods were born. Both of them mean the breath in and out (akatama and shirotama)." and "Everything comes like yin and yang. Izanagi is yang and heaven. Izanami is yin and heaven."

===

4. Black Belt 1978 Vol 12 No 16
Article by Karen Payne about Akira Tohei.
Common sense, or joshiki-no-kanyo, was one of the four fundamental teachings of o-sensei, said Tohei [Akira]. The other teachings were ki-iku (to cultivate ki), tai-iku (to cultivate virtue, goodness, and moral excellence) and toku-iku (to develop the physical body).

===

5. Black Belt 1984 Vol 22 No 10
Article by Gaku Homma
In the dojo, after greeting a few students, he would lecture on the essence of aikido in Omotokyo teachings, which few students could understand completely. After a short, puzzling moment, he would continue by saying, "What I meant was " or "For example " In one class, he called the instructor to the front and placed the teacher's hands on his hip, commanding the man to push him over. "My body is joined with the universe and nobody can move me," the founder said. The young instructor tried to push him but couldn't.

But when he [Uyeshiba] faced an opponent in migi-hanmi (right foot slightly ahead of the left and wooden sword in his right hand), with his left hand he would grasp the left side of his hakama (the "skirt" prortion of the aikido uniform worn on the lower body) and move it back and forth. Recently, looking through some pictures of Sokaku Takeda, from whom the founder learned daito-ryu aikijujutsu, I saw the same pose. Uyeshiba used a kiai pronounced "Haai." The moment the opponent began his attack, the founder's kiai began, as if inviting the attack, telling the opponent that O-Sensei knew everything about it. When the kiai reached the sound of "i", the founder's technique reached the opponent. It was a use of two types of kiai at once. Before his yell, Uyeshiba had his left hand moving behind him, as mentioned earlier.

===

6. Aiki News Issue 010
The Daitoryu style consists of two areas: sword techniques and body techniques (taijutsu). The sword techniques consisted mainly of such sharp techniques as the quick draw and countering movements. As for the body techniques, joint twisting (gyakute) formed the major part.

===

7. Aiki News Issue 042
Moritaka Ueshiba
I, myself, have had the experience of seeing a one inch, white-colored 'idea-bullet' and heard its whizzing sound as it flew toward me before the actual bullet was fired, (an experience which) completely defies time and space. In genuine budo, however, simply foreseeing the enemy's plan is not sufficient. But to equip your inner-self with the power to move the enemy according to your own will is the true Way of the Gods (kami no michi). This is just the tip on the iceberg of inspirational experiences found in relation to budo.

My opinion on these things:

1. Interesting that Ueshiba is saying pull in unison. Not the old adage about if push, pull, if pull, turn, etc. Here he is talking about doing something different - let him pull and pull in unison.

2. Walk back and forth on the balls of their feet with the knees touching the tatami. Sounds like shiko but done quite differently than "modern aikido". Also, note that the body is twisting from side to side at each step. Sounds like what someone calls central pivot, where the upper body is pivoting back and forth around the spine while the hips are kept forward. Try shiko done in this manner with moving the upper body back and forth as you go forward. How far can your upper body turn? 45 degrees? 180 degrees (where one shoulder is straight forward and the other shoulder is straight back)?

Then, there's the pushing test against each other's hands. More joint twisting as we'll see later.

3. Baring this down to the point, we have yin and yang. In and yo. Both of them mean the breath in and out. Complementing one another. Yin/Yang done at the same time.

4. Cultivate the ki. But, for Ueshiba, it wasn't just ethereal energy. His was budo.

5. And the thing that puts them together ... lecturing on "spiritual" stuff and no one could understand him. But Ueshiba *shows* what he means. The push test and Ueshiba directly correlates it to his body being one with the universe. Here is a physical property of aiki (the Daito ryu body skill) directly connected to Ueshiba's spiritual principles. He wasn't just blabbering about spiritual things, but hidden in there were important things connecting to his abilities in aiki.

And then we go on to the pose. Why does Ueshiba (and Takeda) have one hand forward while one hand back? One hand up and one hand down? Yin/Yang. In Yo. The sound that comes out which people call kiai is really just the outward "appearance" (in this case, what is heard) of the internal energy already expended/used/manipulated/etc.

6. Ah, more joint twisting and it's the major part. Must be why ikkajo (ikkyo), nikajo (nikyo), sankajo (sankyo), yonkajo (yonkyo), etc were found everywhere in Daito ryu and aikido. Not really a technique, though. They were body conditioning methods.

7. Let's skip the white idea bullets for now. Instead, check out, yet again, where Ueshiba states aiki is the ability to move the enemy according your will(intent). And then he does it again. He correlates the physical aiki principle with his spiritual idealogy. Aiki (Intent driven physical body skills) moves the enemy is the kami no michi.
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Old 10-05-2010, 12:07 PM   #2
Thomas Campbell
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Re: Aiki Pointers?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
A
3. Black Belt 1976 Vol 14 No 3
Article about Hikitsuchi by Donald Deed.
Quotes Hikitsuchi saying, "Everything comes like yin and yang. Izanagi is yang and heaven. Izanami is yin and heaven."
hi Mark:

I'm wondering if Hikitsuchi is quoted correctly here, saying that both yang and yin are heaven. Yin is more typically characterized as earth.

Hey, it looks like you've found the time to do some research. I'm particularly interested in the idea about how Ueshiba used kiai. I think it would have been very interesting for Ueshiba to have compared notes with Wang Xiangzhai, found of the Chinese martial art of yiquan. Yiquan trains a practice called shisheng, or "test of the sound," which sounds (pun intended) like a "quality-assurance" version of Ueshiba's use of kiai.
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Old 10-05-2010, 12:25 PM   #3
MM
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Re: Aiki Pointers?

Quote:
Thomas Campbell wrote: View Post
hi Mark:

I'm wondering if Hikitsuchi is quoted correctly here, saying that both yang and yin are heaven. Yin is more typically characterized as earth.

Hey, it looks like you've found the time to do some research. I'm particularly interested in the idea about how Ueshiba used kiai. I think it would have been very interesting for Ueshiba to have compared notes with Wang Xiangzhai, found of the Chinese martial art of yiquan. Yiquan trains a practice called shisheng, or "test of the sound," which sounds (pun intended) like a "quality-assurance" version of Ueshiba's use of kiai.
Hi Tom,
I thought about that, too. Probably a transcription error. I would have guessed heaven and earth, but given that it's Hikitsuchi, I really wouldn't know. Maybe he wanted to say heaven and earth and it came out heaven and heaven? Or maybe he meant it that way. I don't have the original, just the online reprint of the BB article.

There really isn't a whole lot about Ueshiba's kiai out there. People make mention of it, but I have yet to find anything in detail.

Really, though, is the sound itself important? Or the energy prior to the sound? Can one have a "silent" kiai?

If sounds are important, then they have vibration and wavelengths. Is one important or both?

Intent drives the movement and for different people, they use different images, but can accomplish the same things. Is it a similar process for kiai?

Just as Ueshiba correlated physical aiki body skills to spiritual idealogy, did he marry sounds to his physical aiki body skills? IMO, yes. The important question is, did he choose which sounds (in which it didn't matter, it was a personal preference) or did he find that specific sounds mattered (in which case it could be that they mattered for *him* but not for everyone)?
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Old 10-05-2010, 12:33 PM   #4
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: Aiki Pointers?

Mark,

I know that some Ryuha have silent kiai and that in some iai styles silent kiai is encouraged when there is no audible kiai.

I don't know much about Ueshiba's kiai but coud see how kiai and kotodama could have been a power building/breathing/spiritual practice.

Last edited by Jeremy Hulley : 10-05-2010 at 12:37 PM. Reason: spelling and diction

Jeremy Hulley
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Old 10-05-2010, 12:46 PM   #5
MM
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Re: Aiki Pointers?

Quote:
Jeremy Hulley wrote: View Post
Mark,

I know that some Ryuha have silent kiai and that in some iai styles silent kiai is encouraged when there is no audible kiai.

I don't know much about Ueshiba's kiai but coud see how kiai and kotodama could have been a power building/breathing/spiritual practice.
Hi Jeremy,

It would be interesting how those Ryuha differentiate (if they do) between the silent and voiced kiai.

But, yeah, I can see how they could be power building/breathing/spiritual.

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:12 AM   #6
MM
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Re: Aiki Pointers?

Stan Pranin over at Aikido Journal has posted a link to Ellis Amdur's article, "Aiki: A State of Union". Ellis talks about kiai. I'd read it before but had forgotten all about it. Thanks Stan.

However, one interesting sentence from the article (pasted below) is in regards to #7. When and why did Ueshiba start hiding his statements (like the one below) in spiritual terms (#7) most couldn't understand?

According to Muto Sensei among Ueshiba Sensei's statements quoted in this diary was the following: "Aiki is a means of achieving harmony with another person so that you can make them do what you want."
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:51 AM   #7
chillzATL
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Re: Aiki Pointers?

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Stan Pranin over at Aikido Journal has posted a link to Ellis Amdur's article, "Aiki: A State of Union". Ellis talks about kiai. I'd read it before but had forgotten all about it. Thanks Stan.

However, one interesting sentence from the article (pasted below) is in regards to #7. When and why did Ueshiba start hiding his statements (like the one below) in spiritual terms (#7) most couldn't understand?

According to Muto Sensei among Ueshiba Sensei's statements quoted in this diary was the following: "Aiki is a means of achieving harmony with another person so that you can make them do what you want."
I thought that quote was actually by Takeshita Isamu.

Also, I don't have the sources in front of me, but I posed the question a while back about Ueshiba and whether or not he couched everything in the spiritual in the pre-war days and was told that he did.
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:30 AM   #8
MM
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Re: Aiki Pointers?

More info on #1, #5, and #7 below.

Notice that in the first part, Ueshiba really doesn't agree with the interviewer about his views of "blending", "timing", and, well, general jujutsu principles. Instead Ueshiba responds about self victory, win according to the mission of heaven, and absolute strength.

I look at that like aiki is about building a strong budo body where one focuses on the self and Self more than the opponent. When aiki is built, the opponent becomes a part of you on contact, so that if you have masakatsu agatsu, you have aiki and you have created a situation where the opponent does not have any resistance (from you) to use and finds himself being controlled for unexplainable (they are but not to the opponent) reasons.

If you tie all that in to #5, you find that the aiki body skills of being immovable that are tied in to Ueshiba's view of joining with the Universe, you find that he's talking about aiki body skills yet again.

Then in the second section, he dismisses timing and states again, that aiki is a matter of controlling your opponent ... without trying to control him ... aiki focuses on building a strong, budo body where anyone that contacts that body becomes affected and effected. It is then a control without attempting to control. Your opponent becomes part of your intent and movement.

Interview with Ueshiba.
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=98

B: Then, in that sense, there is aiki in judo, too, since in judo you synchronize yourself with the rhythm of your opponent. If he pulls, you push; if he pushes, you pull. You move him according to this principle and make him lose his balance and then apply your technique.

O-Sensei: In aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute non-resistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in aikido. The victory in aikido is masakatsu agatsu (correct victory, self-victory); since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength.
B: Does that mean go no sen? (This term refers to a late response to an attack.)

O-Sensei: Absolutely not. It is not a question of either sensen no sen or sen no sen. If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory. There isn't any question of winning over or losing to an opponent. In this sense, there is no opponent in aikido. Even if you have an opponent, he becomes a part of you, a partner you control only.
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Old 10-06-2010, 01:19 PM   #9
Eric in Denver
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Re: Aiki Pointers?

Quote:
Jeremy Hulley wrote: View Post
Mark,

I know that some Ryuha have silent kiai and that in some iai styles silent kiai is encouraged when there is no audible kiai.
I trained in a University dojo in Japan for a number of years, but we had to start practicing "otonasu kiai" (silent kiai) because some professors were complaining that when we had the windows open, our kiai disrupted their classes.
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Old 10-07-2010, 09:55 AM   #10
Walker
 
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Re: Aiki Pointers?

Quote:
4. Black Belt 1978 Vol 12 No 16
Article by Karen Payne about Akira Tohei.
Common sense, or joshiki-no-kanyo, was one of the four fundamental teachings of o-sensei, said Tohei [Akira]. The other teachings were ki-iku (to cultivate ki), tai-iku (to cultivate virtue, goodness, and moral excellence) and toku-iku (to develop the physical body).
Mark, It seems like the translations for tai-iku and toku-iku are switched, is this how it appears in the original?

-Doug Walker
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Old 10-07-2010, 10:56 AM   #11
MM
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Re: Aiki Pointers?

Quote:
Doug Walker wrote: View Post
Mark, It seems like the translations for tai-iku and toku-iku are switched, is this how it appears in the original?
Barring small spelling errors from me typing in everything, yes, these are from the original. I don't think I corrected any mistakes (of if I did, it was because I was typing automatically).
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