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Old 01-10-2011, 01:06 AM   #26
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

Mike said:
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In that case, you should be the one doing the explaining, George. Not me.
If we are talking about internal power development, you, Dan, and Akuzawa have a far more precise set of terminology than I have. I had to work out my own ways of describing what I thought was going on as I became able to do some things.

But, unless you are one of the folks that trains with me regularly, it isn't very productive for folks here to try to learn my idiosyncratic way of explaining these things because I am, in many cases, the only one who explains something in a particular manner.

Based on the training I am currently doing and some experience with Ark and his students, and my brief exposure to you personally and, of course, reading your posts, I am hopeful that I will be able to connect what I am doing, which results-wise I am happy with the way things are going, with the far more detailed and precise explanations you guys provide.

Also, I hesitate because I am keenly aware that there are various things I figured out that my current experiences are not so much invalidating as showing me other, better ways to do the same thing. So for instance, I had a certain way of getting my spine straight. It worked fine and changed my Aikido hugely. Now I have found that there is another way to accomplish this same thing using the breath that is superior in that it not only does what I had been doing but also does a number of things my old way did not.

I am good at explanations from a teaching standpoint. By that I mean, I am very good at getting someone to do something I can do. From a result oriented standpoint I feel my explanations are useful as I am almost always able to help my partner do whatever our teachers are doing when initially he or she could not. But as precise descriptions of actual processes, my explanations are often lacking. My visualizations my enable me or my partner to do something but in many areas I do not think they help one to understand precisely what is happening. You guys have a far better terminology set than I.

As to Ikeda Sensei's work... Certainly a lot of what he is doing is straight out of what you, Dan, and Ark talk about. But quite a lot of what he is doing he got from Ushiro Kenji. I don't have enough familiarity with the range of what you and Dan do to say where you understand what Ushiro Sensei is doing. My experience so far is that physically you certainly do. But on an energetic level, I don't really know because I have not heard you guys talk about it. From my experience, much of the core if what Ushiro is doing has more to do with what Vladimir and Ryabko are doing in Systema than what the internal power guys I have encountered are doing.

Anyway, if I work directly with someone in Saotome Sensei's or Ikeda Sensei's classes, my explanations are most often successful in getting people to actually do what the Sensei was showing. But as descriptive formulations rather than "how to" instructions, well, I am still trying to improve on that, so I will leave it to you guys unless it's something I really have well digested.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 01-10-2011 at 01:09 AM.

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Old 01-10-2011, 07:08 AM   #27
Garth Jones
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
I think if it was me I'd give a reasonable attack (it's only a demonstration for others to learn from and their learning is the most important thing), but my mind would be focuses very firmly on how Ikeda Sensei (or some other knowledgeable teacher) felt, how our forces interacted, and so on. As I progressed through my quest for finding out what internal-strength was, I always set my own goals based on the 'feel' of the best (and most widely acknowledged by other experts) expert I could find. That feel is critical to understanding what is going on... but then, too, so is some straightforward practical information on how-to's.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
Let me rephrase - I'm not just flinging myself at him or doing something screwy. I try to be grounded, with good structure, so that my balance is, as far as I understand it now, is as hard to disrupt as possible. When I do that I find that I am much more aware of what Ikeda Sensei does to disrupt my balance.

Given the language problems that George Sensei mentioned, feeling what Ikeda Sensei does is, for me anyway, the best way to understand what he is doing.

Of course, sometimes the language isn't always there to describe what is going on. For example - when Ikeda Sensei is showing something (say taking balance from a same-side grab) very carefully, he will stand facing his partner so the grab happens on his center line. But sometimes he faces the line of students so that his arm is out at his side along with his uke. The action is way off his center line, yet he is just as successful. Over dinner, I asked him how he did it and he said, 'just put your center in your hand.' I can see that he does that and I've felt him do it to me. I'm still trying to figure out how to do it myself, though.....
 
Old 01-10-2011, 08:34 AM   #28
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

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Garth Jones wrote: View Post
Of course, sometimes the language isn't always there to describe what is going on. For example - when Ikeda Sensei is showing something (say taking balance from a same-side grab) very carefully, he will stand facing his partner so the grab happens on his center line. But sometimes he faces the line of students so that his arm is out at his side along with his uke. The action is way off his center line, yet he is just as successful. Over dinner, I asked him how he did it and he said, 'just put your center in your hand.' I can see that he does that and I've felt him do it to me. I'm still trying to figure out how to do it myself, though.....
I'd have to see it before I'd want to make a more explicit guess, Garth. Is there a video anywhere?

Generally speaking the outline of basic requirements for most of the demo's I've seen Ikeda Sensei do is going to be the same that I pointed out before:

*Ikeda Sensei must have a good contact with the ground that allows him to draw his power from.

*Uke's push or other contact must allow for the joining of the two of them as a unit (even if the direction of full unity is fairly narrow and forces Nage to act only along a limited angle).

*Ikeda sensei becomes one-half of a unit-structure so he becomes the controlling half and Uke's center, etc., just becomes something attached to him like, say, a backpack.

*Instead of moving his arms and shoulders to initiate force, Ikeda Sensei shifts the movement and initiation area to his middle (needs to be practiced and shown how to optimize it).

If Ikeda Sensei is truly offline from the force input of Uke then he has to be using his body connection as a factor added to the above steps. To do that well you need to be shown how to train, so that's a little outside of the basic how-to's that are easily discussable on the internet. The classic "well-trained body connection" trick is the jo-trick, BTW.

Anyway, hope that helps.

Mike Sigman
 
Old 01-10-2011, 09:55 AM   #29
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

Hi Mike,

I'll jump in here (apologies to Garth if this isn't what you're talking about). I've trained with Ikeda sensei as often as I can over the past 10 years now, he's now beginning to make a little more sense (to me) and earlier this year he explained some of what he's doing... I can do this a little with my own students on a very basic level so I'll try and explain one of the 'both facing the same direction' examples.

Uke makes a fist and sticks his arm out to his side (kind of like someone thumbing a lift), nage touches or cups uke's fist and 'makes a line' to uke. I asked Ikeda sensei a number of times to explain what make a line meant, he kept telling me it was just a line. Rightly or wrongly I think about it being ever so slightly me taking out any slack, not leaning on my partner but getting closer to them, hard to explain. So, once I've made my line, I then move my center which displaces uke's center and I can usually see a small movement in my partner as if I've just 'bumped' him a little. Once this has happened, I can move him around, make him fall over etc. How do I move my center? Well, again, finally this year I got some help on that one from Ikeda sensei. I'll try and explain...

You stand kind of relaxed, neutral. You move your stomach in a circular direction, up and forward and slightly down (forward) then reverse (center) then up and back (back) then reverse (center) then up and left (left) then reverse (center) then up and right (right) then reverse. I can't really explain this that well, but after doing this a good few times you feel slightly strange inside... Ikeda sensei said you need to do this everyday, practice, you don't need a partner. I find it great to do when driving, and I had hold of the steering wheel, I *think* I can feel my center moving around and I feel heavier on one side etc. It's almost like the movement body poppers used to make way back when, that line, squiggle, wave form shape.

He's also done the same exercise with him sat in a chair to me...

This is all probably badly explained but it's all I've got to work on at the moment, again, I'll say I can get this to work on my students and visitors to my club but I'm really not sure exactly how it's working. I've tried to explain what's in my head when I'm doing it based on talking to Ikeda sensei.

Best Regards,
John

www.chishindojo.co.uk
 
Old 01-10-2011, 10:06 AM   #30
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

Hi Garth,

Just thought I'd chime in my two cents. I completely agree with George. His post is worth reading again.

Mark

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Garth,
Sure... to be Shihan level, it takes every day practice for years. But to understand what is going on and do it in the controlled environment of practice, it should not take so long. The teaching methodology just hasn't been there.

Some of it is language barrier. Ikeda Sensei will say "make tight" but he isn't tight at all. He'll say "pull" and he isn't pulling, and "push" and he isn't pushing... not in terms of the set of associations we have in our bodies with those terms.

One of my friends who actually speaks Japanese and is advanced enough to have something of a handle on what is going on, told me that he got to hear Ikeda Sensei explaining what he was doing in Japanese to a Japanese woman attending the seminar. He told me that Ikeda Sensei's explanation was so much more clear and precise in Japanese than it was in English.

I understand most of what Ikeda Sense is doing. He will point out three steps in what he is doing. He is trying to be helpful. But often, I happen to know that inside those three steps are several other elements which are crucial elements in accomplishing what he just did. If you don't know that, you could be doing exactly what Ikeda Sensei had told you to do and still be wondering why your stuff wasn't working.

If you train with someone like Mike S or Dan H, just as an example, the level of detail in the explanation is so far and away more complete compared to what we routinely have gotten in Aikido that one starts to wonder how anyone actually got any good at all training the way we have.

Only two things are required for pretty much everyone to be able to do what our teachers are doing. First, is teachers who understand what the "big guys" are doing. Mostly we don't have that. Second, they have to be able to explain it to others. Unfortunately that is a smaller subset still.

Training the way most of us have trained over the years and hoping to end up with the skills these folks have would be like the fifty million monkeys typing Shakespeare... might actually happen, but the operative concept is that the other four hundred ninety ninety million were typing gibberish. With decent explanation virtually any student on the mat at one of Ikeda Sensei's seminars could do any single thing he showed all weekend. With a real newbie it might take a half hour to get him to do a given technique or exercise and he certainly wouldn't be able to generalize off that success to apply the principle in other contexts. That does take years of practice. But what these teachers are doing is not magic and it can be taught and explained to pretty much anyone.
 
Old 01-10-2011, 10:14 AM   #31
Garth Jones
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

Mike - video - I'm not sure.... I'll look around. Everything you said makes complete sense to me. I can't always do it, but I'm trying!

John - your comments seem to me to very a very important part of what Ikeda Sensei is doing, and I've heard him say the same things about the line and moving the center around in the middle. Interestingly, the kind of abdominal muscle control you describe is key in belly dancing. We have a student (advanced shodan) in our dojo who has been belly dancing very seriously for some years. She can develop very impressive power by setting up the kind of wave Ikeda Sensei describes using her fine ab control.

Something I've been working on recently that addresses the 'center in your hand' issue is paying close attention to what parts of my body I can move independently from others while keeping connection with my partner. For instance - uke grabs my wrist and extends in to me a bit. Without disturbing that connection, it is possible to swivel hips, move feet (some) etc. With the rest of the body free, it's possible to set up a wave that rises up from the ground through the back leg, up through the structure of the body, out the arm, and in to uke.

When Ikeda Sensei does this his movements are so small that it's hard to see. What I do, right now anyway, is much bigger, cruder, and often less successful. However, every once and awhile I really find it, and then a heavy uke suddenly doesn't weigh much of anything. Very cool!

In any event, I think we're all finding various ways of describing the same basic issue, and I think that's great.
 
Old 01-10-2011, 10:16 AM   #32
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
As to Ikeda Sensei's work... Certainly a lot of what he is doing is straight out of what you, Dan, and Ark talk about. But quite a lot of what he is doing he got from Ushiro Kenji. I don't have enough familiarity with the range of what you and Dan do to say where you understand what Ushiro Sensei is doing. My experience so far is that physically you certainly do. But on an energetic level, I don't really know because I have not heard you guys talk about it. From my experience, much of the core if what Ushiro is doing has more to do with what Vladimir and Ryabko are doing in Systema than what the internal power guys I have encountered are doing.
This. It is a cardinal sin to assume that everyone who is effective is drawing from one wellspring. I feel that I have encountered multiple distinct sources of internal skills. Hell some of the sources I am working with have strategies so different from those described on Aikiweb that they do not even generate power. The people I have encountered with working skills are pulling from one or more of these sources, and undoubtedly from areas that I have yet to begin to penetrate. A lot of the people who are currently dabbling in these areas assume that the high level abilities are an individual's expression of a single skill, and worse, they assume that when they encounter someone who has working skills, those skills must be rooted in the same concepts they themselves are already practicing. Keeping one's mind open to the idea that you may not already be on the right track, that you may not even have a clue yet as to how someone's skills work, is the only way to create enough space in your practice to actually get traction in a new system. Of course time spent with anyone with working skills will help you get traction with other working systems, but please do not assume that they are definitely doing your stuff.

Last edited by bkedelen : 01-10-2011 at 10:23 AM.
 
Old 01-10-2011, 10:18 AM   #33
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

over the years, i sort of developed a dictionary of some sort to Ikeda's speak (using what i learned from IS folks). take it with a few pounds of salt.

-----
i pick - aikiage or raising energy or uprooting (for taiji folks)

no space/make tight - tight connection between my center and my partner center (not physical space) sort of establish ground path between my feet and my partner feet through the physical connection be it a hand grab, shoulder grab, or whatever. also taking the slack out of your body, i.e. a fully connected body. take the slack out of my partner body as well. major topic by itself.

make weak - disrupting partner internal structure or power line or prevent partner from creating a ground path

move your inside - move your dantien/hara (major topic here)

move up and down at the same time - split your energy, one up and one down, i.e. tenchi or heaven-n-earth

hard and soft - fast speed and slow speed, but still kokyu

put center in your hand - your center is your hand, i.e. your hand connected to your center with "no space" (from above) so when you move your center, your hand move. same goes for every part of your body. the old taiji saying "power from below, control by the waist (read dantien/hara), express by the limbs". this related to "move your inside".

-----
 
Old 01-10-2011, 11:35 AM   #34
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
This. It is a cardinal sin to assume that everyone who is effective is drawing from one wellspring. I feel that I have encountered multiple distinct sources of internal skills. Hell some of the sources I am working with have strategies so different from those described on Aikiweb that they do not even generate power. The people I have encountered with working skills are pulling from one or more of these sources, and undoubtedly from areas that I have yet to begin to penetrate. A lot of the people who are currently dabbling in these areas assume that the high level abilities are an individual's expression of a single skill, and worse, they assume that when they encounter someone who has working skills, those skills must be rooted in the same concepts they themselves are already practicing. Keeping one's mind open to the idea that you may not already be on the right track, that you may not even have a clue yet as to how someone's skills work, is the only way to create enough space in your practice to actually get traction in a new system. Of course time spent with anyone with working skills will help you get traction with other working systems, but please do not assume that they are definitely doing your stuff.
This is a good discussion to drill into . . George, I'd be curious as to your take around Ushiro's energy, energy level, energy "stuff" that Ikeda is doing - especially where it's different from what you've observed Mike and Dan to be doing. My default hypothesis is that there's one set of skills with different levels and spins, but am not married to it in light of better information.

Ben, along those lines, what have you experienced directly that leads you to posit that there's different skills altogether? (again, levels and emphasis is one thing . . akin to Judo & Wrestling both being grappling) Comparisons?

Thanks/Budd
 
Old 01-10-2011, 12:35 PM   #35
Mike Sigman
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
This. It is a cardinal sin to assume that everyone who is effective is drawing from one wellspring. I feel that I have encountered multiple distinct sources of internal skills. Hell some of the sources I am working with have strategies so different from those described on Aikiweb that they do not even generate power. The people I have encountered with working skills are pulling from one or more of these sources, and undoubtedly from areas that I have yet to begin to penetrate. A lot of the people who are currently dabbling in these areas assume that the high level abilities are an individual's expression of a single skill, and worse, they assume that when they encounter someone who has working skills, those skills must be rooted in the same concepts they themselves are already practicing. Keeping one's mind open to the idea that you may not already be on the right track, that you may not even have a clue yet as to how someone's skills work, is the only way to create enough space in your practice to actually get traction in a new system. Of course time spent with anyone with working skills will help you get traction with other working systems, but please do not assume that they are definitely doing your stuff.
I agree with Benjamin (a certain sign of the Apocalypse!). At the moment a lot of people are in the position of being reasonably recently introduced to ki/kokyu/hara skills and until more expertise is developed there's going to be a tendency to think everything 'powerful', etc., is being done by the same means. A little reservation and wait-and-see is in order.

In terms of Ushiro Sensei, I watched him personally and I've watched some videos of him; I don't see anything outside of normal jin/kokyu skills (regardless of expertise, etc.). From what I've seen and felt of Systema experts, I haven't encountered those skills, as of yet. Personally, I tend to disregard a Systema - Aikido relationship, but of course each to his own.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
 
Old 01-10-2011, 12:59 PM   #36
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

Quote:
John Burn wrote: View Post
Uke makes a fist and sticks his arm out to his side (kind of like someone thumbing a lift), nage touches or cups uke's fist and 'makes a line' to uke. I asked Ikeda sensei a number of times to explain what make a line meant, he kept telling me it was just a line.
"Path". Like in "groundpath". No slack in that path (i.e., a good firm connection) or the connection between centers is not there.
Quote:
So, once I've made my line, I then move my center which displaces uke's center and I can usually see a small movement in my partner as if I've just 'bumped' him a little. Once this has happened, I can move him around, make him fall over etc. How do I move my center? Well, again, finally this year I got some help on that one from Ikeda sensei. I'll try and explain...

You stand kind of relaxed, neutral. You move your stomach in a circular direction, up and forward and slightly down (forward) then reverse (center) then up and back (back) then reverse (center) then up and left (left) then reverse (center) then up and right (right) then reverse. I can't really explain this that well, but after doing this a good few times you feel slightly strange inside... Ikeda sensei said you need to do this everyday, practice, you don't need a partner. I find it great to do when driving, and I had hold of the steering wheel, I *think* I can feel my center moving around and I feel heavier on one side etc. It's almost like the movement body poppers used to make way back when, that line, squiggle, wave form shape.

He's also done the same exercise with him sat in a chair to me...

This is all probably badly explained but it's all I've got to work on at the moment, again, I'll say I can get this to work on my students and visitors to my club but I'm really not sure exactly how it's working. I've tried to explain what's in my head when I'm doing it based on talking to Ikeda sensei.
Great descriptions. I think that by putting your thoughts on paper, it's helpful for everyone.

In a way, you can think of Uke as a, say, tubular-steel sculpture and you are a tubular-steel sculpture. A "good connection" or "unity" means that the two sculptures have just become welded together into one sculpture. Think of that now welded-together sculpture as having only one flexible/movable place .... the hara. So it's the hara you have to move in order to affect the two (now one) frameworks. Depending upon the angles that are determined by how and where the bonding of the two scuptures is, where the weak-points in balance for the Uke part of the sculpture, and so on, the hara has to be able to, ummmm, 'motivate' things in that direction. Because there are a number of possible directions you may need to move the hara/dantien/tanden, the hara is going to have to be exercised and trained *as part of the unit*. Just being able to move a dantien in isolation means nothing, in reality.

I can't understand exactly from your description how you're practicing the hara/dantien/tanden movement, but it's one of those things that is almost impossible to convey in writing anyway, so I'll show the traditional method to you in Edinburgh, lord willing and the creek don't rise.

Best.

Mike Sigman
 
Old 01-10-2011, 08:10 PM   #37
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Then explain how I broke my collarbone a couple of years ago because I was dumb enough to try to re-rig my pancho behind my saddle while riding a skittish horse. Well, then I think that Garth, and George L. and Lynn Seiser and all the teachers who understand these things should be openly breaking the internet trail on how to do these sorts of things. Think how helpful it would be to lay out how-to's for the people trying to get started on these intrinsic (to Aikido) skills.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
a) well it sounds to me like you attacked nage with far more energy than you were prepared to take ukemi for....

b) I really can't speak for said teachers. But my observation is they are pretty busy are busy in the dojo working on these sorts of things and teaching them to their students. I can speak as a student and say that my observation so far of my own teachers is that they are most certainly breaking some new ground in the matter of introducing these ideas earlier in training than it appears is traditional...

Quote:
Garth Jones wrote: View Post
When Ikeda Sensei does this his movements are so small that it's hard to see. What I do, right now anyway, is much bigger, cruder, and often less successful. However, every once and awhile I really find it, and then a heavy uke suddenly doesn't weigh much of anything. Very cool!
It's pretty cool from the heavy ukes perspective as well...there is nothing quite so amazing as having the planet suddenly disappear out from under you for a moment....
 
Old 01-10-2011, 08:24 PM   #38
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

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Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
a) well it sounds to me like you attacked nage with far more energy than you were prepared to take ukemi for....
I kept asking people if they wanted me to teach them my trick dismount. It was embarrassing.

Mike
 
Old 01-11-2011, 12:45 PM   #39
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
b) I really can't speak for said teachers. But my observation is they are pretty busy are busy in the dojo working on these sorts of things and teaching them to their students. I can speak as a student and say that my observation so far of my own teachers is that they are most certainly breaking some new ground in the matter of introducing these ideas earlier in training than it appears is traditional...
Meant to come back to this part sooner, but got distracted and spaced it.

At the moment, a number of teachers are "working on these sorts of things and teaching them to their students"... or have "already been teaching these things for years". Let me take this thread as an opportunity to give an idea what I look for when I meet some teacher or student for the first time who claims that they are already doing these things.

The first thing I look and feel for is whether they have any built-in jin/kokyu-power to their movements. It can be felt at a touch and there's no way to fake it to someone knowledgeable. If someone really has this sort of skill already imbued well enough in their movement, they should be able to easily duplicate the type of "ki test" that Tohei advocated. If a person cannot do these simple things, then all the other "advanced knowledge" they have goes out the window. It might be some cool stuff, may strong stuff at that... but it's going to be based on some partial or incomplete understanding of what internal strength is.

The demonstrations that Ikeda Sensei is doing are pretty clean instances of kokyu/jin ("jin" is a little more refined term for the forces being used; "kokyu" has a slightly more advanced implication that gets away from the simple thing I'm trying to say). Until good kokyu is developed a person doesn't have good kokyu, right? That means that all the "techniques" that are being done by them as "internal strength" are not really internal strength.

So the first thing I look for is "how good is your basic kokyu/jin?". If it's not there, everything else goes out the window. I.e., both Tohei's and Ikeda's approaches of just basic kokyu/jin/ki-strength are what people should be focusing on. Otherwise you have to go back later and relearn a lot of stuff.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
 
Old 01-12-2011, 12:59 PM   #40
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

One last thought before this thread dies from lack of interest in the Aikido community, but for those people who are interested in the topic.... I've noticed on QiJin that a lot of real progress is being made when some emphasis is put on analysing videos of experts *and* having people post (via Vimeo, etc.) videos of their own efforts at basic internal-strength demonstrations, exercises, and so on. It doesn't take a lot of bandwidth on a forum for people to post URL's and engage in discussion about videos. And it seems to be very productive once you get a number of people engaged in this type of discussion. We have a separate forum within the forum for the people that want to discuss/analyse. People that don't want to contribute to the discussion don't get to get a free ride: you wanna play you gotta ante up.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
 
Old 01-12-2011, 06:03 PM   #41
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
One last thought before this thread dies from lack of interest in the Aikido community, but for those people who are interested in the topic....
I have been following the topic quite closely and have a lot of interest in the subject. Exercises such as this fascinate me to no end. However I simply do not yet have nearly enough experience to be able to be able to add to it at this point. What I have learned so far I find I just have not found a way to put into words as of yet, certainly not as eloquently as others have done. I have found that I could perform the majority of the exercises Ikeda sensei has been showing at the seminars I have been to. But the ability to explain what exactly I am doing in order to get the effect eludes me at this time.

Anyway I do hope the topic won't die entirely even if it does happen to slow down a bit from time to time.
 
Old 01-12-2011, 06:14 PM   #42
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

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I have found that I could perform the majority of the exercises Ikeda sensei has been showing at the seminars I have been to. But the ability to explain what exactly I am doing in order to get the effect eludes me at this time.
Trying to explain these demonstrations in words and physics is what I am encouraging people to do. It's not magic. Perhaps Ikeda Sensei's "Japlish" (as some of his own students call it) is inadequate to express things as well as Ikeda would like, but that doesn't mean that others shouldn't attempt to explain these essences of Aikido.

Obviously Ikeda Sensei thought this material was so important that he devoted time and effort to tracking it down more fully (note: he's had some aspects of these skills for years, so it's not totally new for him) and he also thinks it's so important that he focuses on it in a lot of his teachings. What people can do is take the hint and publicly work it out in order to enhance their understanding of Aikido (and other arts). Video is a good tool. The people who say they also know how to do these things... why can't they also make their efforts to describe/discuss?

If you ever get out in this neighborhood, stop by some day and I'll show you some kick-start ideas. If you're lucky, I'll also show you my secret "trick dismount" that I've perfected over the years.

Mike Sigman
 
Old 01-12-2011, 07:02 PM   #43
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

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Video is a good tool. The people who say they also know how to do these things... why can't they also make their efforts to describe/discuss?

If you ever get out in this neighborhood, stop by some day and I'll show you some kick-start ideas. If you're lucky, I'll also show you my secret "trick dismount" that I've perfected over the years.

Mike Sigman
Well I can say that for someone new like me part of the reluctance might be the way some members here tend to treat less experienced people when they try to share their ideas. And speaking as someone quite junior... who am I to be telling all of these yundasha how its done?

Nevertheless I will try to pay attention to what I experience when we do these exercises so that I might hopefully contribute in the future.

But thanks for the invite. If I am ever in CO I will be pleased to look you up. But if your dismount routinely ends in broken bones I might pass on trying it out. Ive never broken anything yet and I would like to continue the trend.
 
Old 01-12-2011, 07:19 PM   #44
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

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Well I can say that for someone new like me part of the reluctance might be the way some members here tend to treat less experienced people when they try to share their ideas. And speaking as someone quite junior... who am I to be telling all of these yundasha how its done?
To me, learning "internal strength" is like going to heaven, for most folks. Everyone wants to do it.... but not yet.

I have never, ever, in all my born years, seen a Shihan step out like Ikeda Sensei did and learn what he could, take off his hakama and sit as a student, and so on, while learning something he thought was critical to Aikido. And then have the grace to openly show and teach what he knows in public. He simply walked up to the cold pool and jumped in. Other people, including the relevant yudanshakai, need to emulate Ikeda Sensei's graciousness and sincerity, IMO. People in the mudansha ranks are often not as set in their ways and thus hindered in learning new movement patterns, so their input if valuable, too.
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But if your dismount routinely ends in broken bones I might pass on trying it out. Ive never broken anything yet and I would like to continue the trend.
Wuss. I don't figure I've had a good day if I haven't broken at least one bone.

Mike Sigman
 
Old 01-13-2011, 04:58 AM   #45
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

I think part of the problem with posting video's of people who think they are doing these things, which maybe they can, maybe they can't is that there's a greater presence of loutish, rude and dismissive posts appearing on aikiweb at the moment, one in particular is UK based, Henry, if you're reading this it's not you!

I'll happily try and capture what I was explaining earlier - even though on a scale of 1 to 100 in this stuff I'm not convinced I'm even on the scale yet. I've read things, I've been on the end of Ikeda sensei's technique a number of times over the past 10 years - so for a long time I've tried to figure it all out, I have idea's and theories about some of it but I'm looking forward to being given some more information that I'll understand to take it further.

One thing I noticed when I was on one if Ikeda sensei's seminars last year was when I grabbed him morote dori he did something half ikkyo / half hiji nage on me and he probably threw me 15 or 20 times in very quick succession... Thing was, I had to ask him after what he was doing because I couldn't feel his body - I knew I had a good hold of him but it was completely empty, didn't feel a bump or anything. His answer was that he was hiding his body... Any ideas on that one?

Then there was his shomenuchi cut with a bokken and how yokomenuchi is the same cut, you're just moving your body into it but it's still a vertical cut. Never seen anyone explain that one in that way before. Probably should explain that one more as I'm maybe taking what he was saying out of context.

Best Regards,
John

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Old 01-13-2011, 06:21 AM   #46
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

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To me, learning "internal strength" is like going to heaven, for most folks. Everyone wants to do it.... but not yet.

Wuss. I don't figure I've had a good day if I haven't broken at least one bone.

Mike Sigman
Don't get me wrong. I want to learn it now. I want to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can and I want to learn it right. I'm not some kid starting out young and thinking I have my whole life to figure it out.

Broken bones mean I have to slow my training down to heal. So I'd rather not, thank you. Bad enough I had to delay testing and take three weeks off of training for a sprained knee....

Considering some of the wrecks Ive had with horses its kind of amazing that I have not broken anything yet. To be honest I should probably be paralyzed, I still don't know how I didn't break my back when that horse flipped on me 12 years ago.... my husband used to call me "old Iron bones" Needless to say rather not tempt fate.

Ikeda sensei is an amazing person and teacher. Ive been to two seminars with him and am looking forward to a third this spring.

Have you see his excercise with the jo where two ukes each hold and end and you send energy in a wave along it to move them either forward or back? The excercise originally posted is similar. I have not yet really given thought to what physically is going on inside when I do this I only know I visualize the connection which I feel through the hip closes to uke extending to my center as a line of energy. And I just twist that line into a wave that sends uke either forward or back rather like sending a wave along a water bed to move an object at the other end....

Last edited by Shadowfax : 01-13-2011 at 06:26 AM.
 
Old 01-13-2011, 07:12 AM   #47
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

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I think part of the problem with posting video's of people who think they are doing these things, which maybe they can, maybe they can't is that there's a greater presence of loutish, rude and dismissive posts appearing on aikiweb at the moment, one in particular is UK based, Henry, if you're reading this it's not you!
I'm always curious what people can do. When I push hands or try a demo with someone I'll often put myself deliberately in a bad position so that I can see what they'll do, but my main focus is on how they move. Many times at the start of a workshop I'll have everyone push me in the chest and I (usually) provide enough resistance for them to give me a good push, but (usually) not enough resistance to stop their push because if I stop their push I won't get a chance to feel how they use their strength and arms throughout the range of the push. My point is that I analyse people and forces and I'm not into some dreamworld fantasy where I do silly unworkable things to opponents where they stand there and shrug ruefully at me. I'm interested in real results and if the internal-strength things I do did not work, I wouldn't be silly enough to carry on with the grand delusion.

I've run into all ranges of people, from very strong, to weak, to absurd, to some bits of internal strength, to very good internal strength and I'm aware that most people really don't know what it is. Often on the internet you get people (many of them "seniors") who have no idea what you're talking about. They're used to meeting the sillies, so to some extent you can't blame, but they haven't taken that extra step in regard to seriously exploring internal strength in the way, perhaps, that Ikeda Sensei has done. Here's the thing. It takes a while to begin moving along the i.s. skills route, but as you improve you peripherally begin to realize that the people who are making the funny noises about i.s. are being left behind. You begin to realize that Joe Blow, the Go-Dan, is left with an Aikido (or Taiji or Xingyi or karate or whatever) that is actually a parody of what the art is supposed to be and that whatever they do they can now never catch you, even if they nominally outrank you.

So don't worry about loutish behavior; it has its own rewards. But along those same lines, I find the generally slow response toward learning I.S. skills to be intriguing in the same way. I think the biggest problem, seriously, is that people who are getting *some* exposure to i.s. skills are not thinking/analysing things enough. They become dependent upon someone telling them things (sometimes wrong things) and they follow by rote. What I'm suggesting is that people will improve far more quickly if they get into the habit of analysing and thinking/talking/demonstrating publicly. Sure, it's a little embarrassing, just as anything is when you put it publicly out there, but it will pay off so much more quickly than to sit there waiting too long to take the plunge.
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I'll happily try and capture what I was explaining earlier - even though on a scale of 1 to 100 in this stuff I'm not convinced I'm even on the scale yet. I've read things, I've been on the end of Ikeda sensei's technique a number of times over the past 10 years - so for a long time I've tried to figure it all out, I have idea's and theories about some of it but I'm looking forward to being given some more information that I'll understand to take it further.
First you have to be shown two things that need to be explained by feel: (1.) How to let the body use the solidity of the ground and the pull of gravity as replacements for brute strength. (2.) How to begin using breathing to actually (not imaginarily) begin training the body (this strengthening supports the forces in #1, and honestly increases strength and health factors). Unless you have those two basics in place, you really can't move forward and any analyses you do which actually just involve normal strength don't do you much good. You must have the two basic skills in place before you worry too much about 'applications' and the use of power. It takes a while to get things rolling, but when you do, progress is demonstrable.
Quote:
One thing I noticed when I was on one if Ikeda sensei's seminars last year was when I grabbed him morote dori he did something half ikkyo / half hiji nage on me and he probably threw me 15 or 20 times in very quick succession... Thing was, I had to ask him after what he was doing because I couldn't feel his body - I knew I had a good hold of him but it was completely empty, didn't feel a bump or anything. His answer was that he was hiding his body... Any ideas on that one?
Ikeda Sensei does most of his demonstrations by means of making a solid connection with Uke and then using his center to control the now-joined two bodies as one. There is a "path" or a "line" that you learn to utilize. Once you're aware of this path thing, you can also learn to not let a path exist if Uke is looking for one to use.
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Then there was his shomenuchi cut with a bokken and how yokomenuchi is the same cut, you're just moving your body into it but it's still a vertical cut. Never seen anyone explain that one in that way before. Probably should explain that one more as I'm maybe taking what he was saying out of context.
Without seeing the demonstration and hearing what was said in context I can't really guess intelligently about this one. Sorry.

Mike
 
Old 01-13-2011, 07:26 AM   #48
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

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Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Broken bones mean I have to slow my training down to heal. So I'd rather not, thank you. Bad enough I had to delay testing and take three weeks off of training for a sprained knee....
I was kidding about the bones and I know just what you're saying. I've pretty much given up skiing nowadays for the simple reason that I've never damaged my knees and I want to keep it that way. Meanwhile, all around me, there are few people here in town that don't have ski-damaged knees. Who needs it.
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Have you see his excercise with the jo where two ukes each hold and end and you send energy in a wave along it to move them either forward or back? The excercise originally posted is similar. I have not yet really given thought to what physically is going on inside when I do this I only know I visualize the connection which I feel through the hip closes to uke extending to my center as a line of energy. And I just twist that line into a wave that sends uke either forward or back rather like sending a wave along a water bed to move an object at the other end....
I don't know anything about a "wave". Can you describe what a "wave" is, as you see it, in regard to this demo?

OK, so there's a jo and "two ukes each hold an end and you send energy in a wave along it to move them either forward or back". Notice how incomplete your description is... and that might be a reflection of how you saw the demonstration, so let's try to clean up the description a bit:

Two Ukes are holding a jo.... but aren't they perhaps pushing or pulling on the jo? That's critical in the same way that Ikeda Sensei makes certain that Uke is physically doing something to form a good connection with him. If Uke does not attack in such a way as to form a good connection, then you have to atemi or something in order to initiate *something* in order to form a connection to Uke's center.

In the case of the two Ukes holding the jo, we have to get them to push or pull so that they form a "unit". Then, no matter how outwardly casual we are, if we put our hands on the jo, we still must do it in such a way that the jo becomes part of our own unit. Become "one with the jo" and you automatically become one with the two centers of the Uke's. Now we're back to that basic skill of paths/lines/connections which you have to develop, but if you have that skill you can "feel" for the center of one Uke and then the other; sometimes both at the same time, but it depends on their positions. You have a good connection, you move their center with your center.

Does that help?

FWIW

Mike Sigman
 
Old 01-13-2011, 01:23 PM   #49
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

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In the case of the two Ukes holding the jo, we have to get them to push or pull so that they form a "unit". Then, no matter how outwardly casual we are, if we put our hands on the jo, we still must do it in such a way that the jo becomes part of our own unit. Become "one with the jo" and you automatically become one with the two centers of the Uke's. Now we're back to that basic skill of paths/lines/connections which you have to develop, but if you have that skill you can "feel" for the center of one Uke and then the other; sometimes both at the same time, but it depends on their positions. You have a good connection, you move their center with your center.

Does that help?

FWIW

Mike Sigman
I didn't figure you were serious. But you never know

Anyway yes that gives me something to think about. As for nage I forgot the detail that nage was only using the tips of one or two fingers on the jo to connect to the two ukes. Whether they were pushing or puling I don't recall. And I can honestly say, at the time, I was probably unaware of what kind of attack I was supposed to be giving beyond just holding onto the jo and keeping it still. This was a year ago and I was just preparing to test for 6th kyu, attending my first full seminar.

Feeling for the center of uke I understand. It gets a little tricky when you want to hang onto uke number one while looking for and connecting to uke number two. I know what it feels like I just don't know how to explain what it feels like....
 
Old 01-13-2011, 01:28 PM   #50
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Re: Ikeda Sensei Demos of Ki

BTW, let me add that I watched a number of Ikeda Sensei's video demonstrations and on a few of them, Uke anticipated Ikeda. I'm assuming that sort of thing is more the exception than the rule. All explanations can go out the window when cooperative Uke's have to be factored into the equation.

FWIW

Mike
 

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