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Old 12-27-2010, 07:04 PM   #51
aikidoaddict
Dojo: Aikido Alliance Australia Inc.
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
*shrug* I'm too focused on developing my own abilities to really worry about anyone else's. (Except when I'm the person teaching the class.)

As for testing a potential teacher, I've been fortunate enough to study with teachers who are well beyond my ability to actually test them. If you don't feel that testing your teacher would be pointless, perhaps it's time to find another teacher.

Katherine
Way off the mark here, sorry. I am very happy with my mentor and guide thank you kindly. It was meant for helping someone to find find a good teacher not test the one you already have and hopefully enjoy.
Paul
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:14 PM   #52
aikidoaddict
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Dear Carl
Thank you for your reply, appreciate it. I am sure I would learn from you actually. My wife learnt from me when she was a beginner and used to knock all the high grades on their butts with such ease, and they had that look on their faces of how did she do that when they got up. Priceless. I must know a little bit to be able to pass that on I think. I'll keep trying to learn and evolve. Who knows, oneday....
Paul
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:20 PM   #53
aikidoaddict
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Dave Lewin wrote: View Post
hi,
regarding the discussion about grip/grab...

from reading, it seems that some people make a couple automatic associations that i'd like to question or at least add to:

1. if a grip/grab is tight, this tightness travels up, and the rest of the grabber's body is necessarily tense/rigid/stiff, etc. (and thus, assumedly, they are unable to take good ukemi)

this creates the inverse:

2. if a grip/grab is light, the grabber is necessarily poised/in position to take better ukemi.

i think both of these assumptions are off for one reason:
it is possible to grip tightly, and yet, to isolate the wrist and hand so as to keep the rest of the arm (and thus body) supple and relaxed. just because the grip has tension doesnt mean it has to travel all the way up the arm and through the body.
i first encountered this principle while riding public transit;
if anyone has had to stand in a moving subway car/bus, holding on to one of the overhead hoops or bars while the train car wiggles and sways, they have felt this principle: the grip needs to be tight to hold on to the bar, but if the tight grip is allowed to travel up the body, the body will be easily be swayed by the movign car, making for a pretty bumpy travel; however, if the tight grip is isolated, and the rest of the arm (and shoulder, body, etc) is relaxed, then the body can stand quite relaxed while the arm (through the grip) acts as a buffer.
(i hope i explained that alright )

i have to some degree been able to develop this ability on my path, and i have found that it has helped my ukemi tremendously.

on the other hand, i have felt grabs from others in different styles who have been taught to grab lightly for the sake of 'sensitive ukemi' and, while they did display a particular type of connectedness, i generally found them to be ironically disconnected from the martial reality of what we were doing...

also, ftr, i think it was clear that the OP's comment about 'testing' nage is not a challenge to the sanctity of the authority that Sensei holds; i agree with some that if we as training partners are not testing and challenging each other, then what are we doing? there are ways to challenge/test as friends and mates, without carrying the connotations of "arrogance" that some want to attribute in a blanket way.

just my 2 pesos.
thanks!

-dave
And a great 2 pesos it was Dave. Well put, I like it.
Paul
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:37 PM   #54
aikidoaddict
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Many people seem obsessed with only the Sensei testing people and how dare anyone else do so. Hw dare we even think we are good enough to test others etc. They quote that if you test each other it is as good as the blind leading the blind.
I say do not blindly follow someone and give them godlike status without question, or at least testing their abilities. If testing each others level of ability and understanding is done openly and honestly, and you even ask first so no underhandedness, there should be no problem with this.
In my 30 plus years of Aikido and travelling around the world, I have met Shihans who could not fight their way out of a wet paper-bag. I have met Shihans who have had multiple failed marriages, who are misfits and outcasts, who prey on the female students like predators. I have met Shihans who just beat the heck out of students all the time to somehow prove they are good.
I certainly would not blindly follow and worship like some do. Get real people, test and choose wisely. Look for diamonds and don't just blindly follow the pack. Quality not quantity I say. I choose mentors and guides of quality who can positively add to my learning, who can laugh and toss you away like you are a piece of paper in the wind. Ones who are like trying to grab water as they are so fluid. Ones who are content and at peace with themselves and life. Ones who add value to my life journey, ones who don't need to harm injure or hurt to perform proper Aikido. Good luck all.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:52 PM   #55
RED
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Paul Araki-Metcalfe wrote: View Post
They quote that if you test each other it is as good as the blind leading the blind.
Ears buring

You've misunderstood my position. I'm sorry for the mis-communication.
Peace.

MM
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:33 PM   #56
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Hello Mark

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
I dont think your definition and mine are the same. I didn't mention grabbing 'lightly', not sure where that comes from, a forum is a bit like chinese whispers, things get distorted along the way. I mentioned 'relaxed', with full intent, free to move etc.
Thank you for clarifying that. I'm sure there were others out there who like me were worried that you meant "relaxed grip = grabbing lightly" (i.e.: with no strength, internal or otherwise), especially since you contrasted it with grabbing tightly. You'll have to forgive me but I still don't quite get what is going on behind the grip. It sounds like a very special grip -- not the kihon mentioned by the OP.

That's fair enough of course, but then you're off topic, essentially informing us that you can do this easily and by the way, here's something much more difficult. As a Cumbrian with some farming background, I am familiar with the strength of drystone wallers. Where I am in my aikido, I think the ability to move such people is not always easy, especially when they are experienced, but I have found that my results have improved through practice of the basics. I'm not saying you can't do it easily but if that is so then I think you need to recalibrate to add a few lower levels for the basic skills some of us are struggling to learn. The OP was referring to this ability as a basic test that should not be rushed past:

Quote:
Paul Araki-Metcalfe wrote: View Post
Just grab someone's wrist tight and have them perform Irimi Tenkan. If they are able to do this quite easily with no force, without trying to hit or distract you, then they have a good level of knowledge and understanding. If it is difficult, then more work is obviously required.
Like yourself Mark, I also have no problem with you taking a different route to achieve the same ends and I am interested in your approach, especially if you are as successful as you claim. Could you perhaps link to a video of the kind of thing you do?

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
As for the 'centre in the hands' point. If your hands are not an extension of your one point/hara/centre/dantien, then you do not have the mind/body structure that is required to manifest the elusive aiki/IS that is much talked about.
Thanks for clarifying that too. It makes a lot more sense. I am intrigued by your method of reaching this point.

Kind regards

Carl
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:58 AM   #57
Mark Freeman
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
As a Cumbrian with some farming background, I am familiar with the strength of drystone wallers. Where I am in my aikido, I think the ability to move such people is not always easy, especially when they are experienced, but I have found that my results have improved through practice of the basics. I'm not saying you can't do it easily but if that is so then I think you need to recalibrate to add a few lower levels for the basic skills some of us are struggling to learn. The OP was referring to this ability as a basic test that should not be rushed past:
Hi Carl

I fully concur with the OP and the focus on not rushing past the basics. I have spent nearly half of all my time in aikido practice engaged in the ki development exercises that came from Tohei Sensei. Essentially they are pretty static tests designed to get the student to co-ordinate mind and body and prepare to achieve the mind/body state that is essential to perform aikido well. Central to this is that the mind leads the body, if you move your partners mind, their body will inevitably follow. So many exercises are based around understanding just how this effect is manifested.

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
Like yourself Mark, I also have no problem with you taking a different route to achieve the same ends and I am interested in your approach, especially if you are as successful as you claim. Could you perhaps link to a video of the kind of thing you do?
I don't have any video of myself (yet) but the best I can do is link you to Tohei's fundamental concept series
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbgRG...eature=related
around 1.00 you'll see his tenkan movement.

Quote:
Thanks for clarifying that too. It makes a lot more sense. I am intrigued by your method of reaching this point.
Practice and more practice, a teacher that can do it and teach it, oh, and a weekend with Mike Sigman, that helped me get a more practical and logical take on some of the concepts that my mind had been chewing on.

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:59 PM   #58
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Here is my problem:
If you put yourself in a position to test any one's abilities, then you first must be saying in yourself that you are "in a position" to be testing. Thus you think yourself better, or of greater knowledge than the one being tested.
I disagree. It's a presumption to think that because someone wants to experiment/test something specific that the person automatically assumes they're in a better position to judge. I think the gist of what the OP is saying is that experimentation is the backbone of learning. It's no different, as far as I can tell, than ki tests.
It's analogous to expressing ideas here on Aikiweb: I put forth whatever is on my mind to see what I get in response. Just because I say "I think this or that" doesn't mean I assume I am right...largely because I respect my own ignorance (certainly I'm better sometimes more than others at displaying that ). Similarly, if my training partner and I have an understanding about what we're doing (hence the mention of "ask"-ing in the OP), I should be able to try things like being unmoveable or otherwise gripping in different ways.
The problem comes when our partner doesn't know what we're trying to do or doesn't agree that that is the appropriate time to try it out. If we resist technique during demonstration, as but one obvious example, our partner may quit the process altogether rather than find a solution to the experiment, and we might be left thinking "oh he couldn't do it."
And, personally, I would say it's always a case of the blind leading the blind; it's just that we're all blind in different ways and to different extents. We learn to "see" by feeling our way around, usually bumping into things unexpectedly, and tracking the experience in order to find our best approximation of the Way(s) of things.
Take care,
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:18 PM   #59
RED
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I disagree. It's a presumption to think that because someone wants to experiment/test something specific that the person automatically assumes they're in a better position to judge. I think the gist of what the OP is saying is that experimentation is the backbone of learning. It's no different, as far as I can tell, than ki tests.
It's analogous to expressing ideas here on Aikiweb: I put forth whatever is on my mind to see what I get in response. Just because I say "I think this or that" doesn't mean I assume I am right...largely because I respect my own ignorance (certainly I'm better sometimes more than others at displaying that ). Similarly, if my training partner and I have an understanding about what we're doing (hence the mention of "ask"-ing in the OP), I should be able to try things like being unmoveable or otherwise gripping in different ways.
The problem comes when our partner doesn't know what we're trying to do or doesn't agree that that is the appropriate time to try it out. If we resist technique during demonstration, as but one obvious example, our partner may quit the process altogether rather than find a solution to the experiment, and we might be left thinking "oh he couldn't do it."
And, personally, I would say it's always a case of the blind leading the blind; it's just that we're all blind in different ways and to different extents. We learn to "see" by feeling our way around, usually bumping into things unexpectedly, and tracking the experience in order to find our best approximation of the Way(s) of things.
Take care,
Matt
Hi,
Like I've stated before, I see no issue with Aikidoka of the same peer giving good spirited challenge to one another, I agree the benefit it gives to growth. This is a point I think you and I are in complete agreement of!
Experimenting is different than testing some one IMO.
My issue comes with the concept of "testing". The OP gave forth a scenario where one could judge the extent of another by simply grabbing them then gauging their response. My opinion is that only some one who ,in honesty, is of greater experience than you can gauge the abilities of others in this way accurately. Otherwise, under the scenario put forth by the OP, how are we to determine or judge that a successful throw is the success of the nage, or the failure of the person who is doing the testing?

If you agree we are the blind leading the blind in many respects, then it is impossible for us to gauge each other accurately. Thus, IMO, we should just train and learn, without setting up scenarios in which we can judge our classmates, but continue to judge ourselves. Also, we should allow our instructors to keep tab on our progress and tell us when we are lacking and how to fix it along the way.
Again, I'm in agreement with you on the subject of good-spirited challenges. But the results of which are for each person to take away from with a grain of salt about themselves, to develop themselves. I don't consider good-spirited challenges as a means to judge each other, but yourself.

Last edited by RED : 12-28-2010 at 01:24 PM.

MM
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:43 PM   #60
RED
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

On a side note, the Founder did leave writings as to what he considered productive training at the dojo:

http://www.aikiweb.com/general/dojo_reg.html
http://www.aikiweb.com/general/founder.html

MM
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:42 PM   #61
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Hi Maggie,
W/re: testing and experimentation, I think of the two as essentially the same thing. When one experiments, they test their current state of understanding.
Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Hi,
My opinion is that only some one who ,in honesty, is of greater experience than you can gauge the abilities of others in this way accurately. Otherwise, under the scenario put forth by the OP, how are we to determine or judge that a successful throw is the success of the nage, or the failure of the person who is doing the testing?
I might be missing something, but my sense is that people with "lesser" abilities can still judge something about the interaction. I've been reading up on my renewed favorite scientist and he said something to the effect that everything has some degree of uncertainty involved and I think he's probably right.

Quote:
If you agree we are the blind leading the blind in many respects, then it is impossible for us to gauge each other accurately.
If by accurately you mean 100% then yes. I'm not saying the person with greater ability wouldn't generally have a more accurate assessment though.

Quote:
Thus, IMO, we should just train and learn, without setting up scenarios in which we can judge our classmates, but continue to judge ourselves.
The whole point isn't to judge the other, but to judge the self in relation to the interaction. When I trained with complete newbies who seemed rather uncoordinated, I wouldn't assume they wouldn't out perform me in at any given moment.

Quote:
I don't consider good-spirited challenges as a means to judge each other, but yourself.
Then I think we're in agreement.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 12-28-2010 at 04:49 PM.

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