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Old 01-23-2011, 04:13 AM   #51
Michael Varin
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

I find much of the discussion in this thread indicative of the general ignorance with which most aikidoists approach their practice.

First, if you don't understand that ukemi truly is 50% of your practice, and that the attacks as presented are "smart" and potentially "deadly," than you really will have a difficult time reconciling the practice.

Second, if you can't find a way to train the specific skills of aikido in an integrated and honest fashion, your only option left will be to expect too much out of your static, ki no nagare, and jiyu waza practices. None of those represent a high level of aikido practice.

Weapons, multiple opponents, and surprise. I've said it before; I'll say it again… It's staring us straight in the face.

On a different note:

George,

For some time now your posts have appeared somewhat disjointed, like a person with A LOT of information, but who hasn't quite put it together yet.

I think Mike Sigman was correct; you have more than enough information. I think a big breakthrough is coming.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 01-23-2011, 05:47 AM   #52
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Keith Gates wrote: View Post
I also find punching them repeatedly until they have 'dead arms' is an effective way of purging their strength.
But if someone were attacking with dead arms, you would probably be able to move however you liked (i.e.: using conventional muscle-power) and they wouldn't be able to resist you (so you wouldn't be able to feel your mistakes). However punching them repeatedly may be one possible way of purging an opponent of the problem Matthew was talking about...
Quote:
Matthew Story wrote: View Post
I have a training partner like this, who analyses the technique he knows is coming and figures out how to thwart it before starting his attack. He thinks he is being realistic by providing a committed attack and resistance to the technique, but in truth he is training us both for a situation in which the attacker can read the defender's mind, obviously not a reaslistic situation.
If he is attacking differently from what the sensei is demonstrating against, the chances are it is a "sempai trick" (not necessarily committed by a sempai). Although it useful to figure out what they're playing at, generally I think that kind of training falls into the "non productive" category of resistance as in the David Alexander article.
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:25 AM   #53
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

When I trained Iwama Aikido, I met guys, generally relative newbies, who would just bear down with all sorts of muscle. They were extremely stiff and tense, and I definitely got that feeling of someone jamming a technique they knew was coming. Heck, I certainly bore down with more muscle than I should have.

I also trained with a girl who had absolutely fantastic aikido. Her grip as uke was strong -- though I was physically stronger than her, I could not muscle my way through the technique. At all, full stop. When I was uke, I had the same kind of feeling as when I worked with Rob John; she seemed to move me without the slightest bit of strain, right through where I thought my power was, as if she was stronger than me. And she wasn't even very old or highly ranked. She was in her twenties, and I think she was a nidan. If timing, location, and the politics had worked out, I'd probably still be training at her dojo.

So, while the Iwama style of a strong grip that gives nothing away can be done the wrong way, just as the relaxed, non-resisting style can lead to collusion and unrealism, if done the right way it can lead to some pretty nice skills. At least in my personal anecdotal experience.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:40 AM   #54
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
George,

For some time now your posts have appeared somewhat disjointed, like a person with A LOT of information, but who hasn't quite put it together yet.

I think Mike Sigman was correct; you have more than enough information. I think a big breakthrough is coming.
Michael, The breakthrough is happening right now. On the forums I am careful about what I write about. I generally stay away from the internal power material for a number of reasons... The main one is that there are several guys who post here who can do a better job of it. You'll notice that when someone less knowledgeable about the subject posts on the subject, it's as if they are submitting their thesis for review and the experts chime in. Since I have already conceded that, on this subject they know more than i do, I don't see the point. It only serves to make me look stupid and the other guys look even more like experts, which is already a given.

I am a professional instructor... I am willing to take a lot of risks. More than many of my peers I think. But it's a hard world out there. I have been nothing but supportive of the guys doing this work and have, at every opportunity, recommended that folks in Aikido find a way to work with one of them.

But any number of times recently, I have heard through the grapevine that someone's going around telling people "I felt George, he doesn't have it." Well, the reason whoever said that had the chance to feel me was that I made myself available and took the risk. So, exposing myself further to critique from people who are not even from within the Aikido community and to the extent that they had any Aikido background are far junior to me, when I have reason to expect that it may come back to me through the back door, well, I think it's not something I want to do.

I think that you'd find that, if you were in a class with me, it would not seem disjointed. I have a fairly integrated system which from the functional standpoint of teaching seems to get good results in terms of helping folks make big changes in their level fairly rapidly. Since I continue to train myself, I am adding to that all the time. But I think what I am doing is certainly more coherent and a tighter presentation than what i do on the subject here.

People being what they are, you have to protect yourself. I am a second tier teacher. When the uchi deshi have passed, we will be the first tier folks. I have tried hard to develop myself as a recognized and respected teacher. Now that internal power work is becoming a hot topic, partly through my own recommendations, I don't need it to become something that comes back to bite me. So I will continue to let the folks who already have the expertise keep posting. They do a fine job; I support them in the effort.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:08 AM   #55
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

George, I hope you forgive both the familiarity and that this doesn't come across as condescending . . since I've been away from what I consider mainstream aikido for a number of years and from formal practice of any Japanese martial art for a year or so . . it's from an admittedly outsider lens that I comment . . but I'm really pulling for you to figure all this stuff out . . or at the very least, lay the groundwork for future generations to run with the torch and blaze trails to follow higher up the mountain of mainstream aikido.

And for what its worth . . I think you're doing an admirable job of walking the walk and talking the talk (you've made me question some of my basic assumptions regarding aikido and "this stuff"), and I think it is a hornet's nest to start offering too much "insight" into internal strength until you've had a number of years to condition (rewire - in many cases) just the very basic things. I think quite a few of the initial round of folks that got hands on with people looked at it as an add-on skill (and therefore infinitely slowed their progress) and it's only really recently that I feel like enough people are starting to get on board that this is a foundational practice that requires some years of conditioning and correct practice to change the body - nevermind really apply it through a martial art (which doesn't mean it won't change your aikido practice or make it better, immediately, but the longer-term more beneficial changes would require that everybody be on board with the goals of the practice, I think, too).

But with that ramble aside - where it actually fits within the aikido training syllabus? I dunno . . because my "Aikido" never got to near a mastery level - and once I realized it wouldn't until I rethought how I fundamentally moved and carried myself . . I detoured off course from actually practicing budo and started looking at these things more as weird hybrid of mental/physical Way/Do/Tao and avocation. A very personal one that doesn't seem to have much in common with what I see happening in most dojos.

But maybe years from now when (hopeless optimist side speaking here) "this stuff" has become again the core of a martial arts study . . I'd like to think that I would walk into that kind of place and feel at home. Lots of pressures and risks, there, George, but I count on teachers like you to figure out how that's going to work and function within a mainstream activity like modern aikido.

Anyways, to come back on topic of the thread . . one of the foundational practices is the ability of the uke to offer a dumb force for nage to receive, return with their ground/gravity intent and learn how that creates off-balancing in uke. If both partners aren't committed to that type of exercise/training .. then it's one of many potential roadblocks to the foundational layer of body skill that's needed to do a martial art with "this stuff".

FWIW
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:51 AM   #56
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Compliments to George and Budd.
This is exciting.
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:09 PM   #57
Keith Larman
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Joshua Reyer wrote: View Post
I also trained with a girl who had absolutely fantastic aikido. Her grip as uke was strong -- though I was physically stronger than her, I could not muscle my way through the technique. At all, full stop.
FWIW, fairly recently a woman in her 70's who had trained with Tohei back in the 1960's grabbed my wrist to show me something. I'm over 200 pounds and strong. Yeah, I could have powered through her but she was able to mess with me a heck of a lot more than people my own age and size. Heck of a lot of power there.

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Old 01-23-2011, 03:22 PM   #58
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Michael, The breakthrough is happening right now. On the forums I am careful about what I write about. I generally stay away from the internal power material for a number of reasons... The main one is that there are several guys who post here who can do a better job of it. You'll notice that when someone less knowledgeable about the subject posts on the subject, it's as if they are submitting their thesis for review and the experts chime in. Since I have already conceded that, on this subject they know more than i do, I don't see the point. It only serves to make me look stupid and the other guys look even more like experts, which is already a given.

I am a professional instructor... I am willing to take a lot of risks. More than many of my peers I think. But it's a hard world out there. I have been nothing but supportive of the guys doing this work and have, at every opportunity, recommended that folks in Aikido find a way to work with one of them.

But any number of times recently, I have heard through the grapevine that someone's going around telling people "I felt George, he doesn't have it." Well, the reason whoever said that had the chance to feel me was that I made myself available and took the risk. So, exposing myself further to critique from people who are not even from within the Aikido community and to the extent that they had any Aikido background are far junior to me, when I have reason to expect that it may come back to me through the back door, well, I think it's not something I want to do.

I think that you'd find that, if you were in a class with me, it would not seem disjointed. I have a fairly integrated system which from the functional standpoint of teaching seems to get good results in terms of helping folks make big changes in their level fairly rapidly. Since I continue to train myself, I am adding to that all the time. But I think what I am doing is certainly more coherent and a tighter presentation than what i do on the subject here.

People being what they are, you have to protect yourself. I am a second tier teacher. When the uchi deshi have passed, we will be the first tier folks. I have tried hard to develop myself as a recognized and respected teacher. Now that internal power work is becoming a hot topic, partly through my own recommendations, I don't need it to become something that comes back to bite me. So I will continue to let the folks who already have the expertise keep posting. They do a fine job; I support them in the effort.
This simply cannot be ignored.
That George and others like George, put themselves out there in venues unfamiliar to them places them head and shoulders above the average martial artist.
I had a question asked of another senior martial art practitioners, of whether or not "he had it" (meaning IP) I said no not in any significant way. Then I asked the one asking the question "Have you crossed hands with him or done weapons with them in their art of choice. They said "No, I haven't."I said "Trust me he can hand you your head!"
Of course it's not about just being able to fight; there is also the issue of knowing an art and having expertise in executed said art to consider. An area where the self same IP guy would fail.
I have sparred with Gleason any number of times, but when asked to do aikido...you don't want to know what I look like in comparison to Bill in doing Aikido!!

We can't go on to applaud Ikeda, Ledyard, Gleason, Amdur, then the next level teachers like Drachman, Liberti, Abrums, Beebe, etc for being stand up guys and testing themselves, then shoot them down at the same time for not knowing everything.
We also cannot go on letting an IP guy state "it has to be felt" then shoot down those they haven't felt, and telling those teachers and students who have felt IP guys that they don't have any ability to judge that either. What then was the point in IHTBF?
Doing so smacks of agenda to me.

An open door
I was/am hoping that when the doors to these men's lives opened that this movement was going to be a positive one; that it was to be a free exchange of information to help in bringing back to aikido what we have come to agree went missing from the art.
How does it help to then turn around and denigrate the efforts of the people who are trying to bring it back into the art?

We certainly do not have expertise to do that work do we? Those teachers who know me, know my answer when I am asked "How do we incorporate it into our art
"That's your job. I'm not qualified!"

It is difficult to read and see things that are a bit off in various description and videos (even sometimes seeing people going in a different direction from what you taught them) but I allow for growth, learning curve and experimentation. While certain forums have delighted in tearing down the efforts of those just learning and critiquing them...I have no part in that.

So George, If I was in any way party to what you have described, you have my sincerest apologies. The way I see it is "Yes, I have things you do not know." What needs to be stated here clearly is that "You have an "expertise" in areas I cannot approach.
All the best
Dan.
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Old 01-23-2011, 08:20 PM   #59
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
This simply cannot be ignored.
That George and others like George, put themselves out there in venues unfamiliar to them places them head and shoulders above the average martial artist.
I had a question asked of another senior martial art practitioners, of whether or not "he had it" (meaning IP) I said no not in any significant way. Then I asked the one asking the question "Have you crossed hands with him or done weapons with them in their art of choice. They said "No, I haven't."I said "Trust me he can hand you your head!"
Of course it's not about just being able to fight; there is also the issue of knowing an art and having expertise in executed said art to consider. An area where the self same IP guy would fail.
I have sparred with Gleason any number of times, but when asked to do aikido...you don't want to know what I look like in comparison to Bill in doing Aikido!!

We can't go on to applaud Ikeda, Ledyard, Gleason, Amdur, then the next level teachers like Drachman, Liberti, Abrums, Beebe, etc for being stand up guys and testing themselves, then shoot them down at the same time for not knowing everything.
We also cannot go on letting an IP guy state "it has to be felt" then shoot down those they haven't felt, and telling those teachers and students who have felt IP guys that they don't have any ability to judge that either. What then was the point in IHTBF?
Doing so smacks of agenda to me.

An open door
I was/am hoping that when the doors to these men's lives opened that this movement was going to be a positive one; that it was to be a free exchange of information to help in bringing back to aikido what we have come to agree went missing from the art.
How does it help to then turn around and denigrate the efforts of the people who are trying to bring it back into the art?

We certainly do not have expertise to do that work do we? Those teachers who know me, know my answer when I am asked "How do we incorporate it into our art
"That's your job. I'm not qualified!"

It is difficult to read and see things that are a bit off in various description and videos (even sometimes seeing people going in a different direction from what you taught them) but I allow for growth, learning curve and experimentation. While certain forums have delighted in tearing down the efforts of those just learning and critiquing them...I have no part in that.

So George, If I was in any way party to what you have described, you have my sincerest apologies. The way I see it is "Yes, I have things you do not know." What needs to be stated here clearly is that "You have an "expertise" in areas I cannot approach.
All the best
Dan.
Dan,
Thanks, that was very classy. I certainly have no interest in getting into personalities here. I just wanted some folks to know why I don't extend myself publicly on the forums when it's getting into areas that I am not yet totally confident in.

I think Aikido is at an interesting junction right now. The old generation is passing away and soon we will have the next generation of leadership taking over. This offers a unique freedom for many experienced folks to look around and try new things that perhaps they didn't feel ten or fifteen years ago. This corresponds to a situation in which people like you , Mike, Ark, Toby, etc are willing to share things with the Aikido community that previously were unavailable to anyone outside of some pretty obscure styles of martial art. In some cases these skills wouldn't even have been taught to guys like me because I wasn't Chinese or some such.

Anyway, although here on the forums I try to be very open about what I am willing to discuss, I am still careful. Aikido folks are, as a community, actually quite judgmental. Saotome Sensei used to say "Aikido people, most angry any martial art." Because this art is so ill defined, the skills pretty murky in terms of what really work s and what doesn't, people have a sort of insecurity about what they do. I think this is one of the things that has lead to so much violence and injury on that mat over the years and it also leads to the kind of mutual intolerance you find when a community isn't secure and confident about what it does.

So folks who have some recognized authority in a given area have a lot of influence over opinion in our community. Someone in a position of influence starts bad mouthing a member of our community it can have a negative effect. In the case of the folks who are involved with trying to help Aikido fix some of the problems that occurred during its too rapid post war growth, their credibility and ability to engineer this change is retarded when one of the very folks who is offering to help is sabotaging us at the same time. I agree it smacks of an agenda.

Aikido folks need to a) be far less judgmental than they are and b) be willing to look foolish learning new things. One of the things that I found training with the Systema folks was that they are the "cleanest" folks I have ever worked with. Virtually no judgment from the senior folks at all. I realized that this lack of judgment, the absence of the need to be posturing , always worried about what everyone thinks, that is the training atmosphere that they have created gives one the complete freedom to really learn. You can really let go, look foolish, fail over and over and no one cares, no one thinks less of you, I found that I was far more likely to really let myself go to a really vulnerable state working with Vlad, Ryabko, and the various seniors, who are extraordinary folks in my opinion, than I would ever let my Aikido compadres see me in. And that state allows the deepest learning, the most profound changes, to take place. Aikido folks, and a lot of others could learn from these folks.

I have to say that you also create this kind of atmosphere. You are at least as excited about passing on what you know to interested folks as I am in passing on whatever I can about Aikido to anyone who will listen. Your excitement about what you do is infectious. I can't remember seeing anyone, except maybe Howard, who has a better time teaching what he knows. And it shows in the folks who have gravitated to you to learn. Everybody just wants to learn. No judgment if you either can't do something (injuries or whatever) or can't seem to get it... the assumption is simply there that you will.

Aside from not wishing to open myself up to getting cheap-shotted behind my back, I don't actually care much. The person I believe responsible doesn't happen to think that anyone else (maybe three or four people in the world) has these skills the way he understands them. So I am in good company along with the rest of the 6 billion folks on the planet. Not worth worrying about. But I think Aikido folks would always do well to find out for themselves what anyone can and cannot do rather than listen to anyone else. People can make choices based on second hand information that they regret later because they passed up opportunities to work with someone and later discovered that they has a lot to offer.

I think it is funny that we are often so judgmental about other arts we know nothing about or other teachers we have never even met. When Aikido was the new kid on the block, it was always the art that no one thought worked. I'd get guys from karate coming in to the dojo saying their teacher told them not to bother with Aikido because it didn't work. After two hours of (nicely) wiping the mat with them, they'd have another idea when they left. But if course their teacher never came to play... Now we have Aikido folks pooh poohing stuff that they have absolutely no direct experience of. Systema is fake, Ushiro Kenji doesn't have the goods, Okamoto's ukes are just tanking... oh, and the ever popular, "we have the same stuff" when talking about internal skills. Didn't we learn anything when it was Aikido everybody thought was fake?

Anyway, thanks again. Missed you for KB, was hoping Josh and some of us could tap you for some more goodies. Hope all is well!
- George

George S. Ledyard
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:41 PM   #60
DH
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

George
I don't know whether to say thank you or you're welcome...seems both apply. In any event you made me smile. I think you have a good handle on the landscape and have your witts about you with all the various players out there.
I am so glad you picked up on how I feel about training. Budo is tough, so even though guiding people into a physical understanding is paramount, I try to make it as fun and interesting as I can.

I missed KB as well...I have a 90 yr old father in law who lives with us with some issues, I had to head back home. I am going to be talking to Josh about a Seattle visit in either Feb or March.
Hope to see ya soon
Dan
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:48 PM   #61
Mike Sigman
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Michael, The breakthrough is happening right now. On the forums I am careful about what I write about. I generally stay away from the internal power material for a number of reasons... The main one is that there are several guys who post here who can do a better job of it. You'll notice that when someone less knowledgeable about the subject posts on the subject, it's as if they are submitting their thesis for review and the experts chime in. Since I have already conceded that, on this subject they know more than i do, I don't see the point. It only serves to make me look stupid and the other guys look even more like experts, which is already a given.
George, let me suggest again that if you know something you should post it. One of the things I keep an eye out for is someone posting specific how-to's in a way that a newby (but a real enthusiast) can read and profit by. I see more time talking about personalities and vague references than I see talking about how-to's. There is something really wrong in Aikido that this keeps on happening. Break the cycle.
Quote:
But any number of times recently, I have heard through the grapevine that someone's going around telling people "I felt George, he doesn't have it." Well, the reason whoever said that had the chance to feel me was that I made myself available and took the risk. So, exposing myself further to critique from people who are not even from within the Aikido community and to the extent that they had any Aikido background are far junior to me, when I have reason to expect that it may come back to me through the back door, well, I think it's not something I want to do.
Well shame on them. Bad people. Meanies, even. But then, you have to be careful because in most of the situations like this there are people who agree on one side that someone is a meany and there are people on another side that feel their opinions about jealous or petty people is vindicated when they see oblique personal shots being taken. I saw a lot of this happen in Taiji at one time and I think there's a Y in a path here that can lead either toward progress or back toward the same petty fiefdoms trying to maintain and regain their power and status. In the case of Taiji, I saw that for many teachers it was far more important for them that they maintain their position and mutual support of their peers than it was to move forward. Ultimately progress in Taiji was stymied by the current "seniors" and by a group of aggressive but self-serving people who were looking to build their own kingdoms. I walked away and when I look back I see that none of them have really progressed in all those years. What Aikido does for now is up to whether people really want to progress, like Ikeda Sensei did, or whether they really are more interested in the status quo. It's going to be interesting to watch. As a mutual friend of yours and mine (someone who studied with you when you started) noted, Aikido has become so populated with people who are not really interested in Aikido that it's a real question which way it's going to go.

While we're all waiting to see which way things go though, my suggestion is *still* that people get off their backsides and if they really know anything, start posting it, talking it, and showing it. These wastes of time with oblique attempts to target people personally only confirm the low opinions that many people have about what goes on in Aikido. So why not try talking about facts, how-to's, etc., and show what a real teacher can do?

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:36 PM   #62
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
What Aikido does for now is up to whether people really want to progress, like Ikeda Sensei did, or whether they really are more interested in the status quo.
FWIW, I don't think it's coincidence that so many of the aikido people trying to "get it" are in Ikeda Sensei's organization. When someone as senior as he is is willing to try new stuff in public, it sets a strong example for everyone else.

(Full disclosure: I'm in the ASU myself, and have personally trained with most of the people Dan listed. But, fortunately for me, I'm not senior enough for anyone to care much what I can and can't do.)

Katherine
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:06 AM   #63
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
FWIW, I don't think it's coincidence that so many of the aikido people trying to "get it" are in Ikeda Sensei's organization. When someone as senior as he is is willing to try new stuff in public, it sets a strong example for everyone else.

(Full disclosure: I'm in the ASU myself, and have personally trained with most of the people Dan listed. But, fortunately for me, I'm not senior enough for anyone to care much what I can and can't do.)
Ikeda Sensei came up again in a personal conversation I was having this weekend and both of us talking agreed that *no one* we have ever known in Aikido has ever stepped up to the pump and put out the effort in the way that Ikeda Sensei has done, ignoring pecking-order games. So Ikeda is a worth-role model.

On the other hand, most people who see the basic mechanics of good internal strength don't need to be convinced much that the skills are an obvious part of Aikido; the question is how far they're going to be able to take themselves, find viable information, etc. I continue to look for all valid information from all valid sources, disregarding the petty bs about pecking order, etc., that goes nowhere.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:13 AM   #64
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Hi George and Dan,

Isn't it amazing how different training can complement each other provided the people are forming lasting relationships? People like Bill Gleason and Howard Popkin (you too, George) are putting themselves out there to learn something valuable and are putting in the effort to make their art stronger, more like what it was originally rather than what it has become, and teaching what they know. You guys have the necessary backgrounds, have the years of training, and are leading the way. What's nice is that you aren't the only ones doing this because others in various organizations are involved, too. All of you are talking about how to do this stuff, showing things, and teaching it the best that you can. And forming lasting relationships because of it.

People with a love of aikido and Daito ryu are strengthening the ties between their arts, strengthening their own art, and are forging new relationships with other people who love their art. I know I haven't met many people in their own art who really weren't interested or vested in making it or themselves better. It's a big world out there, so I'm sure there are some rare exceptions.

People like to *talk* about Modern Aikido's definition of "aiki" and how it's supposed to be harmonious, non-resistant, peaceful, loving, etc. But I find it amazing that the original definition of aiki has brought to life and *shown* the Modern Definition of "aiki" by having high level aikido people in the same room all practicing together and having fun.

Oh, and George, I echo Dan in this. If I was in any way connected to what you described, I apologize.

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:35 AM   #65
Mike Sigman
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Aside from not wishing to open myself up to getting cheap-shotted behind my back, I don't actually care much. The person I believe responsible doesn't happen to think that anyone else (maybe three or four people in the world) has these skills the way he understands them. So I am in good company along with the rest of the 6 billion folks on the planet.
George, my position about the internal-strength skills is that they're very widespread and commonly used in Asian martial-arts and have been for probably a couple of thousand years. I've mentioned that a number of times in the past. The problem is that these skills are a lot more complex and somebody can't just grab a few bits and pieces and make up a hybrid "system" on their own without going astray. Many people go astray; it's a commonly-reported occurrence. What I'd suggest during this renaissance is that people be cautious, but move forward decisively (look how many years are passing quickly!).

In terms of worrying about what other people say about you, let me assure you that this is Aikido and I've heard many negative things about you for years, George (along with many good things, too, of course). Same is true of many/most people in Aikido... it's surprising how many people don't like some people or groups of people.

What to do about that in relation to i.s. skills? Ignore it. The next time I see you I'm going to be interested in what sort of skills you have, not whether you've taken some partisan side as an unproductive attempt to make any expert who doesn't blow your horn for you go away. I'll guarantee you that if you're good to any degree, I'll say it out loud. If you suck, I won't pretend to everyone that you're good anymore than I would mislead you if you ask me my recommendations about some teacher who is not as good as he hypes himself to be. I'll tell you the truth and I'll lay out specifically and physically why.

BTW.... these skills are complex enough that there is no narrow range of skills or partial skills that is the definitive "internal strength". So far, I'm not away of anyone mentioned on AikiWeb as teaching the full gamut of skills. In most cases, it's pretty doubtful that a lot of the named people are even aware of the full gamut of skills. What I'm getting at is that technically I disagree that a lot of the people who are "teaching internal strength" are all doing the same things. However, I don't want to argue it at present, but am simply laying it out there as a gambit for future discussions.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:15 AM   #66
Marc Abrams
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Mike:

Have you ever given consideration to the idea that you are part of a larger problem being discussed here? You conveniently place yourself as the "king of internal skills." You talk about how you started off in the Japanese martial arts and then when to the Chinese martial arts to find your "answers." You talk about how this stuff is missing in the Aikido world and other Japanese arts. You talk about how it is being lost in the Chinese martial arts as well, because of organizational and personal concerns. Where are you in the Chinese Martial arts world? Who is your Sifu? What Chinese arts to you represent and teach? What school do you run? Who are your students?

You can try and hide behind your statement about not wanting any students. You can hide behind some less than gracious attempts to share your information with those of lessor status than you and of course, you will give a little bit more if they display some changes according to your standards.

One of the people who "practiced your stuff" was at an Ushiro Seminar and could do little of what was being done. He talked to another attendee ( a friend of mine) who asked why that person was able to do some of what was being taught. My friend asked him why are you not able to employ what you are being taught. He said that he did not want to do so too early so as to avoid learning bad habits! So, he was learning skills like useless parlor tricks that could not be employed in a martial arts setting. Gee, I thought this was all about martial arts. Not surprisingly, this person had less than flattering things to say about Ushiro Sensei, not unlike your opinion of me, or Ushiro Sensei for that matter. Heck, your opinion of Ushiro Sensei was without any hands on experience. You were at the Boulder Camp. Why did you not get hands on? Maybe you just have to wonder what would have happened if you tried to test your skills against Ushiro Sensei? The other people out there teaching "internal skills" seem to have no problem getting hands on with others and even allowing others to test their skills with them. Gee Whiz, Ushiro Sensei allowed Kazumi to try his best. Maybe you would like to test your skills against someone like Kazumi? After all, the martial arts world is about what you do, not what you say.

You talk about being an outside observer to the Aikido world. You seem to be outside of every world except your own self-imposed, self-governed world without a school or students for that matter. Nobody is disputing that you have valuable skills to offer others. The manner in which you attempt to offer your skills is done in a way that places you conveniently at the top of the "internal skills world" while demeaning the efforts to others and, maybe, just maybe, if you see them again and you are satisfied with what you see, you might offer another tidbit of wisdom.

Here is a suggestion for you. Start walking the talk. Open a school. Create a student pool who can replicate your skill sets. Try your hand at testing the skills of those other teachers who you demean. Get your hands "dirty" with some MMA fighters. Show us what art you represent and can pass on the traditions of. People like George Ledyard are out there doing everything they can to walk the talk and always get better. Do you really think that he needs your "approval" in order to learn new things?

I, for one, have had enough of your "contributions" to the Aikido world. The Aikido world managed to survive before you and I'm sure that it will survive without you now. Interesting how you were not an instructor at the Aiki Expos. Interesting how Ikeda Sensei does not attribute his gains to your wisdom. Then again I do not hear any instructor attributing their great gain in skills to you either. I do know of one promising student who stopped Aikido to do your stuff, not wanting to develop "bad habits" while he worked on such "great learning." Like I could really give a damn that you post about my lack of skills and the mistakes and inadequacies of others. The strings attached to your help only serve to insulate you at the top of some self-imposed food chain without you having to show much of anything for it. Why don't you go out there and earn it like other people out there. Go test your skills against those you like to put underneath your "level." Until then, why don't you work on yourself for awhile and allow us to work on what we do.

My prediction is that the other people out there teaching the "internal skills" will continue to grow in their popularity while helping all of us develop better skill sets. Their integrity of character is displayed in who they are as people and in what and how they offer their services to others. You, despite what you might have to offer, will become a victim of who you are. Less people will be willing to listen, less people will want to train and you become even more insular in your own little world. Sad prediction for you. Maybe, just maybe you want to step back and listen to what others are saying so that you can find a more social and connected way to work with others. I would consider meeting you again after I saw such changes. Until then, as one person said "an educated consumer is my best customer." With that in mind, I have no interest in what you might have to offer.

Regards,

Marc Abrams
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:21 AM   #67
OwlMatt
 
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

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Keith Gates wrote: View Post
I assume this person is your sempai. Often from my own experience when this is the case I have found that the best thing to do is to copy exactly how they do the technique. It is not that they are necessarily trying to stop you from doing the technique, but that they have a preconceived notion of how they think it should be done. By coping them it will placate them and they wont resist you doing the technique the way they believe it should be done, otherwise they are completely hypocritical and ridiculous. You also learn a slightly different way of getting around power, and learn a new way to do the technique, all valuable stuff.
There is sense to what your are saying, but you and I are not talking about the same thing. You are talking about an experienced student who is trying to teach, and I am talking about an inexperienced student who is trying to win.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:51 AM   #68
Mike Sigman
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Have you ever given consideration to the idea that you are part of a larger problem being discussed here? You conveniently place yourself as the "king of internal skills." You talk about how you started off in the Japanese martial arts and
Sorry, Marc, but can you quote the source for you "king of internal skills" claim. Since it seems to be a direct attribution, I want to see it.

In terms of the lengthy character assassination, I'm not going to bother to reply. I've had you freely as a guest in my home and took the time to show you gratis some things that would help you. Take that as my contribution.

The bigger question a number of us are looking at though, is this frenzy you and a couple of others seem to have worked yourselves into. I had one person who attended a recent workshop tell me about an instructor that mentioned my name and seethed a lot all through the workshop; I was told that the impression was that this instructor (who is not teaching his best-guess of a lot of the terminology from the QiJin list) appeared to be someone who wanted to physically harm me. You strike me as being in the same mood, Marc, along with a few others. Why not explain why you're like this?

Preferable to me is that you simply explain some baseline internal-strength skill stuff. As it is, a lot of people are getting the impression that the people engaging in the personal attacks are simply trying to discredit anyone who doesn't go along with a certain party-line. Why should this kind of petty stuff be happening on a martial-arts forum.

Try a fresh topic. Tell us how to move using the center, for example, as opposed to using some *aiki* and a lot of arm. That would be a great help to many newbies, I think.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:53 PM   #69
Marc Abrams
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Mike:

Nice try to turn the focus on me. You have done nothing worthy of being a victim of violence. As I said, my prediction regarding you is sad. So much to offer, but could not get out of the way of himself. We can agree on moving on to other topics. What art do you practice and teach again?

Regards,

Marc Abrams
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:29 PM   #70
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Hi folks,

Please start discussing the topic rather than the people behind the topics.

Thank you,

-- Jun

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Old 01-24-2011, 09:31 PM   #71
Budogirl
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

To address the original post,

Maybe this will help. I experience a lot of "resistance" to my "technique". It used to put me in a quandary. Now I'm beginning to learn more about creating a good opening to complete the technique and better angles.

On those occasions where I get both solid opening and good angles (not often and clearly not as often as I would like), the Uke's resistance isn't effective.

So if you work on off balancing the Uke, "resistance is futile"...

Lots of luck to you, and don't forget to enjoy your training!
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:17 PM   #72
Zach Trent
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Thank you everyone for the helpful advice...and interesting discussion of internal power. I got two for the price of one!

I really learned from people discussing how uke should grab- if uke becomes like a concrete pillar just so they can keep their kung-fu grip, then the martial confrontation is over. I could be wrong, but I think this fellow just locked himself up for the sake of attacking "honestly"- though it doesn't make any martial sense.

I'll look for this guy again and see what happens!

I have no knowledge or opinions of internal power, but I got angry at the people who were saying Ledyard Sensei didn't seem very organized in his thoughts and contributions. To be honest- I have this back-burner desire of getting all of Ledyard Sensei's writings published someday. I think it would be an amazing contribution of essays and I myself would love to have all of his writings in one place. I learn a lot from you Sensei- so please keep sharing!

So take that!
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Old 01-25-2011, 03:44 PM   #73
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

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Zach Trent wrote: View Post
I have no knowledge or opinions of internal power, but I got angry at the people who were saying Ledyard Sensei didn't seem very organized in his thoughts and contributions.
No, on the subject they were referring to, they were correct. I was purposely not as detailed (or lengthy) as I am normally, for reasons that I stated and I think subsequently became even more clear. I wasn't the least offended, so don't you be.

Quote:
To be honest- I have this back-burner desire of getting all of Ledyard Sensei's writings published someday. I think it would be an amazing contribution of essays and I myself would love to have all of his writings in one place. I learn a lot from you Sensei- so please keep sharing!
Some folks have been after me for a while to write a book, But I've talked to Gleason and Amdur Sensei's, who have done so, and I think I am too lazy to go through the amount of work they went through for the most modest of returns. Videos are way better... only a short burst of effort with a long term return. Genie, my wife said we should simply get a good editor and see if he or she could pull something coherent out of the ridiculous amount of time I've spent posting on-line. I may do that. Right now, my Mom thinks I have wasted my adult like. Seeing my stuff on-line simply hasn't changed that opinion. The same stuff in a book, now that might change her mind. It would be something tangible she could show her friends. Thanks for the encouragement... probably need to get off my duff, except that I never actually seem to get to be on my duff... oh well.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:53 PM   #74
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Genie, my wife said we should simply get a good editor and see if he or she could pull something coherent out of the ridiculous amount of time I've spent posting on-line. I may do that. Right now, my Mom thinks I have wasted my adult like. Seeing my stuff on-line simply hasn't changed that opinion. The same stuff in a book, now that might change her mind. It would be something tangible she could show her friends. Thanks for the encouragement... probably need to get off my duff, except that I never actually seem to get to be on my duff... oh well.
This is really good advice, I think. One of my favorite books lately has been The Philosophy of Fighting by Black Belt columnist Keith Vargo. It's nothing more than a collection of his columns, but it's brilliant stuff and stuff I never would have read otherwise, since I have very little interest in subscribing to Black Belt.

Publishing as a book things you've already written might allow you to reach a whole new audience and market (that is, those who don't look online for their aikido) without writing another word.

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Old 01-26-2011, 03:29 PM   #75
Janet Rosen
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

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Matthew Story wrote: View Post
This is really good advice, I think. One of my favorite books lately has been The Philosophy of Fighting by Black Belt columnist Keith Vargo. It's nothing more than a collection of his columns, but it's brilliant stuff and stuff I never would have read otherwise, since I have very little interest in subscribing to Black Belt.
And it was the same for me and Dave Lowry - his collected essays from magazines I don't read, in book form, are a treasure I return to over and over.

Janet Rosen
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