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Old 01-27-2011, 12:05 PM   #176
jonreading
 
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote: View Post
Not sure I agree John (but maybe I am misunderstanding you?) - I see more opposition in this field from people who believe their aikido to be sufficiently martial already (and it may be, I really don't care). Some have invested a lot in the role of the tough guy amongst the bunnies, and hate hearing even the indirect suggestion they may be off-track.

For the more harmony-oriented, they are, in my view, often as happy with their practice as you describe for yours. They lose no sleep over whether anybody else wants to "fight" or be martial. Why should they, it does not interest them.

But again, I may have missed your point.
Sorry, let me clarify one point Nicholas mentions. There are those aikido people out there who have retooled their aikido after years of training because they found something they liked and integrated that concept into their training. For example, I believe Ikeda sensei's aikido today is different that it was 10 years ago (I believe in large part due to his exposure to other arts and instructors like Ushiro Sensei). I admire that Ikeda sensei altered how he was doing aikido to incorporate his new concepts; I told him as much the last seminar I attended because it impacted the quality of the seminar so significantly.

I think we need to understand, even for those more martially competent that others, the next logical step after acknowledging the benefits of internal strength training will be to incorporate it into their aikido. There will be some aikido people out there who will not make this choice. I do not know if I would call it "off-track" as a critique against those who do not make this choice for their aikido; there may be a number of reasons why an instructor or dojo or student does not incorporate IS into their training and I don't think that is a critique against aikido. I think my critique would be more directed at someone who could incorporate IS into their training and did not make that choice because they were not motivated to change their aikido.

Does that help?
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:40 PM   #177
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Sorry, let me clarify one point Nicholas mentions. There are those aikido people out there who have retooled their aikido after years of training because they found something they liked and integrated that concept into their training. For example, I believe Ikeda sensei's aikido today is different that it was 10 years ago (I believe in large part due to his exposure to other arts and instructors like Ushiro Sensei). I admire that Ikeda sensei altered how he was doing aikido to incorporate his new concepts; I told him as much the last seminar I attended because it impacted the quality of the seminar so significantly.

I think we need to understand, even for those more martially competent that others, the next logical step after acknowledging the benefits of internal strength training will be to incorporate it into their aikido. There will be some aikido people out there who will not make this choice. I do not know if I would call it "off-track" as a critique against those who do not make this choice for their aikido; there may be a number of reasons why an instructor or dojo or student does not incorporate IS into their training and I don't think that is a critique against aikido. I think my critique would be more directed at someone who could incorporate IS into their training and did not make that choice because they were not motivated to change their aikido.

Does that help?
OK, get it. I was just giving a voice to the bunny in me!
(What a bad image...)
Best
N
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:26 PM   #178
RonRagusa
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Gary Welborn wrote: View Post
To answer Diana question about Koichi Tohei Sensei teaching in the early days…..I lived that and he had stuff none of us had. He gave us some simple tests to do to support the idea of relax, weight underside, extending and keeping one point…..these were essentially viewed as warm-ups by most and the progressive pressure needed to get really good at it was not there.
Hi Gary -

I can't comment on Tohei sensei having not started Aikido until 1977 or thereabouts. However I do remember Maruyama sensei stressing that the Ki tests were also tools for strengthening one point and developing correct feeling which could then be applied in the practice of technique. To that end we always practiced Ki development exercises with pressure appropriate to the level of the student. As we grew stronger we applied progressively greater amounts of force in the exercises. Mary and I have continued to stress this area of training since leaving Kokikai in 2001. Over the years we have added to the Ki exercise syllabus in order to more fully develop correct feeling.

Best,

Ron
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:30 PM   #179
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Sorry, let me clarify one point Nicholas mentions. There are those aikido people out there who have retooled their aikido after years of training because they found something they liked and integrated that concept into their training. For example, I believe Ikeda sensei's aikido today is different that it was 10 years ago (I believe in large part due to his exposure to other arts and instructors like Ushiro Sensei). I admire that Ikeda sensei altered how he was doing aikido to incorporate his new concepts; I told him as much the last seminar I attended because it impacted the quality of the seminar so significantly.

I think we need to understand, even for those more martially competent that others, the next logical step after acknowledging the benefits of internal strength training will be to incorporate it into their aikido. There will be some aikido people out there who will not make this choice. I do not know if I would call it "off-track" as a critique against those who do not make this choice for their aikido; there may be a number of reasons why an instructor or dojo or student does not incorporate IS into their training and I don't think that is a critique against aikido. I think my critique would be more directed at someone who could incorporate IS into their training and did not make that choice because they were not motivated to change their aikido.

Does that help?
I think that as a natural progression, those who embrace IP/aiki and make even fairly decent progress are going to just simply be the "Go to guys."
It has been my experience that IP/aiki is so practical and obvious that when Martial artists feel it from someone who not only has it ...but can actually use it...they want it.
There is another debate to be had is whether or not this is THEE essence of Aikido. So far Shihans I train with all agree this is it. YMMV.
As I wrote elsewhere, there is going to be an interesting panoply of uses as people "get it" in various amounts, and use it in various ways. Both can be complex and creating aiki effects from IP can be stressed in different ways according to someones wishes and emphasis.
For that reason (assuredly among the flops,false starts and outright failures) ...a lot of intellect, insight, even genius will unfold with a new era of interesting teachers.
And we may find that the Japanese teachers coming out of Japan are going to have to work very hard to keep up.

All the best
Dan
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:22 PM   #180
Howard Prior
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
...Mary and I trace our lineage back to Tohei thru Maruyama Shuji sensei.
As a matter of interest, would this be the Maruyama sensei who taught in Philadelphia, or at least hosted a seminar in Philadelphia with K. Tohei in or about 1975?

Thanks.

Howard
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:28 PM   #181
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Hi Gary -

I can't comment on Tohei sensei having not started Aikido until 1977 or thereabouts. However I do remember Maruyama sensei stressing that the Ki tests were also tools for strengthening one point and developing correct feeling which could then be applied in the practice of technique. To that end we always practiced Ki development exercises with pressure appropriate to the level of the student. As we grew stronger we applied progressively greater amounts of force in the exercises. Mary and I have continued to stress this area of training since leaving Kokikai in 2001. Over the years we have added to the Ki exercise syllabus in order to more fully develop correct feeling.

Best,

Ron
Ron

When I was working the KI testing back in the 70's these were just simple tests that once passed each time we moved on. It was a small part of the training picture. The push pressure was never excessive and the idea at the time seemed to make sure no one failed rather than progressive improvement at continuing harder levels. Once I figured out how to bypass the push by some simple inaction with the person pushing I moved on. I will say the possibilities of Tohei Sensei's abilities, the feel I got when working against him, what I felt on a couple of occasions from him, the KI exercises, along with all of the other glimpses I had to the ‘more' over the following years kept me looking. I am appreciative of the efforts you have continued.

Maybe if I had understood that relax completely had to do with tension all over the body, especially in the shoulders and the kua, that weight underside was gravity related, everything dropping naturally with the center down and in, extension to do with intention and keeping one point with whole body (more to it than this) I might have been further along today. HOLD UP…before anyone corrects me or lets me know I am wrong this is what works for me.

What Dan, Ark, Mike, Kenji Ushiro, along with others have provided are clear and concise explanations of what is going on with exercises to move forward with progressively higher levels of pressure. All are offering ways to interconnect breath, frame, structure, force flows and more into the mix to better the whole. I have experiences with both Dan and Mike. Both have a lot to offer. What Dan offers for me is more details on breath, use of the articulated dantien and stuff I could relate to my technical set right away. Some of what crossed between us I could relate immediately with past Aikido adventures and questions that couldn't be answered years ago. For any who know me, Dan sense of humor fit right in with me. I have had no connections with either Ark or Kenji Ushiro, but have friends that have. All four are to me on separate paths traveling in the same direction.

When I say others my example would be John Clodig, who is Aikijijutsu and a friend of 30 plus years. He can move me around without me understanding how he does it. To me this is just another part of the ‘more' that is unknown to me and worth looking into. I know others, some have posted here, with different approaches that work for them that I can't explain away.

My wife Maureen and I are planning to go to Rhode Island to visit a friend in late June. We plan to go to Boston to see some of our history and Mo understands I will be visiting some folks during that time that are working this stuff. Maybe it will be possible for me to come up and visit you folks.

A couple of things in closing…….though it may hurt my credibility I have to say that I met up with Mark Murray a couple of times when he was out here on the left coast and consider him a friend…..that goes for Dan Harden also.

Just go straight

Gary
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:55 PM   #182
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Howard Prior wrote: View Post
As a matter of interest, would this be the Maruyama sensei who taught in Philadelphia, or at least hosted a seminar in Philadelphia with K. Tohei in or about 1975?

Thanks.

Howard
Hi Howard -

Again, 1975 was before my time, but Maruyama sensei taught for many years in Philadelphia on Arch Street.

Best.

Ron
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:43 PM   #183
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Gary Welborn wrote: View Post
Maybe if I had understood that relax completely had to do with tension all over the body, especially in the shoulders and the kua, that weight underside was gravity related, everything dropping naturally with the center down and in, extension to do with intention and keeping one point with whole body (more to it than this) I might have been further along today. HOLD UP…before anyone corrects me or lets me know I am wrong this is what works for me.
Gary -

Sensei always told us "You decide which is better." I tell my students to devise their own metaphors for what's going on inside their bodies. For us it's all about arriving at and strengthening correct feeling. If you are fortunate enough to find what works for you run with it, that's how you will progress toward whatever goals you have in mind related to your training.

Quote:
Gary Welborn wrote: View Post
What Dan, Ark, Mike, Kenji Ushiro, along with others have provided are clear and concise explanations of what is going on with exercises to move forward with progressively higher levels of pressure.
I guess I'm a bit of a dinosaur in that regard. I'm not an anatomist not am I versed in CMA lingo. The exercises I give students to work on are used mainly to produce reactions to the input that either work or don't. We start out slowly with not a whole lot of pressure until the student can feel what works. Once what works is felt explanations aren't really necessary as the student will devise mental and physical cues that will aid in reproducing the effects in subsequent trials under increased pressure. With continued practice it all becomes second nature and correct feeling arises naturally. At that point even the cues can be dispensed with.

Quote:
Gary Welborn wrote: View Post
Maybe it will be possible for me to come up and visit you folks.
PM me or Mary E. when your plans are firmed up and maybe we can arrange a visit.

Quote:
Gary Welborn wrote: View Post
A couple of things in closing…….though it may hurt my credibility I have to say that I met up with Mark Murray a couple of times when he was out here on the left coast and consider him a friend…..that goes for Dan Harden also.
I can't imagine why you would think that would hurt your credibility.

Best,

Ron
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:52 PM   #184
David Orange
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Because it's "GREEN" Martial Arts

To me, seeking to understand Internal Power is not really primarily about "getting more power" but about the absolute best and most efficient use of the power I have.

In my college days, I really admired one of my professors, Dr. Ed Passerini, more than anyone else. He was the inventor of the world's first solar electric car, called The Bluebird. He was big into Buckminster Fuller and all kinds of environmental issues. He was talking about Peak Oil in 1974. And we were still smarting from the first Arab Oil Embargo. He won the solar car race, The Tour du Sol, in France, while I was living in Japan in the early 90s.

As years went by, I learned more about Buckminster Fuller and the incredible qualities of domed structures--things like the fact that a domed structure of a given surface area encompasses twice the volume of a cubical structure of the same surface area, that the heat loss from a domed structure, therefore, is half that of the cubical structure, that the dome is stronger with less material than the cubical structure because the whole thing is self-interfering and any force applied to the dome draws support from the whole dome, unlike a cubical structure, which is subject to collapse from shearing and torquing.

About two years ago, I went to Italy, Texas, to attend the Monolithic Dome Builder's Course. In one week, we did actual construction on a 30' dome and sat through hours of class instruction on concrete, polyurethane foam, rebar, airforms, air pressure, and the dynamics of utility cost in the lifetime expensing of a monolithic dome as compared to a conventional structure, as well as the effects of natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, fire, earthquake, flood, etc, on a monolithic dome and a conventional structure. It turns out that David South, the inventor of the monolithic dome and lots of other stuff is also a huge fan of Buckminster Fuller and his concepts of economy.

While some might decry the use of concrete at all, and especially the use of polyurethane foam, with all its chemical components, it actually turns out that, since the dome can realistically last for hundreds of years with proper maintenance, it comes out "greener" to go ahead and use the relatively small amounts of concrete, steel and chemicals in a monolithic dome than to use almost any other material available to construct any other kind of building.

Another serious factor is that this method produces a "super-insulated" building with extremely low heat-loss per square foot of surface. As David South puts it, "The greenest way to use energy is to use it in a building that requires very little energy to begin with." So he doesn't recommend big investments in solar panels unless you just want to add them. He thinks in terms of not using energy at all, rather than using alternative ways to generate it. His buildings require much smaller heating and cooling units than any building of similar interior volume.

So, to me, IP is a very similar approach. You get the greatest possible strength out of the least material used. You get the greatest content in the smallest package. You get the incredible strength of a system that is self-supporting, where force applied to any part of the system has to deal with the strength of the entire system instead of the strength of just the one part. And the most efficient use of energy is to not use it.

IP is all those things: not more power, but best use (sometimes meaning no use at all) of whatever power is available. It's the martial arts version of "Less is more." IP means using less muscle, less movement, less effort, less power, to get greater results. So it looks like a LOT more power, but it's actually much less power. Which leaves all the rest of your power in reserve and still ready to use.

It's just fantastic economy of movement and energy. And if you learn it early on, it means less use of your time, which is the one thing we can never get more of. If you're poor today, you might get more money or even great riches tomorrow. But rich or poor, you can never gain another minute of life. The only hope is to use that time better, so that, like a skillful chess player, you always seem to have far more time available than your opponent.

If I had learned IP twentyyears ago, I would have been decades ahead by now because, like compounding interest, the energy I didn't waste and did accumulate over those years would have added up instead of adding down. But since I started studying this a few years ago, I'm way better off than if I just started today. And if anyone starts today, just as with compounding interest, they'll be better off than if they wait five or ten more years to start.

And that is why I've become so interested in IP--not to have or get more power, but to learn best how to use my power and my time.

Best to all.

David

Last edited by David Orange : 01-27-2011 at 11:58 PM.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

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Old 01-28-2011, 05:29 AM   #185
Lorel Latorilla
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I think that as a natural progression, those who embrace IP/aiki and make even fairly decent progress are going to just simply be the "Go to guys."
It has been my experience that IP/aiki is so practical and obvious that when Martial artists feel it from someone who not only has it ...but can actually use it...they want it.
There is another debate to be had is whether or not this is THEE essence of Aikido. So far Shihans I train with all agree this is it. YMMV.
As I wrote elsewhere, there is going to be an interesting panoply of uses as people "get it" in various amounts, and use it in various ways. Both can be complex and creating aiki effects from IP can be stressed in different ways according to someones wishes and emphasis.
For that reason (assuredly among the flops,false starts and outright failures) ...a lot of intellect, insight, even genius will unfold with a new era of interesting teachers.
And we may find that the Japanese teachers coming out of Japan are going to have to work very hard to keep up.

All the best
Dan
Don't let the robots fool you but Japan is so behind it is not even funny. Not even in martial arts, but in education (I work as an elementary school teacher here). While they are busy ritualizing, exotifying, and hierarchizing (I made this word up) bodyskill, people in the West are now in a maddening frenzy to expose, analyze, dissect, industrialize and to make formulas out of what was once exotic and mysterious. That's what I love about living in North America. This Western scientific approach to put things to the 'test' is something that Japan does not do at all, and it is the arrogance of the society that will not allow them to do it. It is only when they are eating grass that they will adopt the critical and scientific method of the West...until then, I have no hope that they will catch up with the teachers who work this like mad scientists and not like priests who can't enter the holiest of holies. Not that I care of course, ha.

Unless stated otherwise, all wisdom, follies, harshness, malice that may spring up from my writing are attributable only to me.
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Old 01-28-2011, 07:44 AM   #186
gregstec
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Gary Welborn wrote: View Post

A couple of things in closing…….though it may hurt my credibility I have to say that I met up with Mark Murray a couple of times when he was out here on the left coast and consider him a friend…..that goes for Dan Harden also.

Just go straight

Gary
Well, I have no credibility and consider both friends as well

Also, I view Tohei's four principles much the same as you.

Best

Greg
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Old 01-28-2011, 08:10 AM   #187
Howard Prior
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
...Maruyama sensei taught for many years in Philadelphia on Arch Street.
I figure they must be one and the same.

Thanks again,

Howard
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Old 01-28-2011, 10:00 AM   #188
Adman
 
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Empasis mine:
Quote:
Gary Welborn wrote: View Post
When I say others my example would be John Clodig, who is Aikijijutsu and a friend of 30 plus years. He can move me around without me understanding how he does it.
C'mon Gary. Give yourself some credit. I'm pretty sure you could at least intellectually explain what you think he is doing.

Best,
Adam
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:09 AM   #189
Jaon Deatherage
 
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

I think it depends on how you see internal strength. I've recently returned to Aikido after several years of studying internal kungfu systems. To me, 'internal strength', means efficient and integrated body connection (among other things), which is something Aikido seems to be trying to develop as well. All of the martial arts are pursuing the efficient connection of the body (among many other things), so I would consider 'connection' to be a principle in common. If you accept my reasoning, then I would assert that it follows that it is beneficial to your Aikido to look at 'connection' from different angles in order to better understand it. Having done aikido 15 years ago, and then being able to come back to it after several years of internal training ,has increased my appreciation of good Aikido a million-fold. Aikido has also very positively informed my kungfu practice. I believe there are other principles as well that are held in common between most martial arts; what those are can be subject to debate, but I consider my martial studies to be the pursuit of those principles rather than the pursuit of a single 'style'. Aikido is an incredibly important part of that pursuit for me because of the clear way it uses many of the deeper principles, but I think a truly serious student has to look outside occasionally to maintain perspective and keep their mind open.
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Old 02-01-2011, 12:01 PM   #190
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

I am going to throw out a complete, unsubstantiated hunch (and hope no one calls me on it)...
I am pretty convinced (although I do not possess conrete evidence) that at one point in time there existed a curriculum in aikido which lay the internal strength foundation. Probably, it was some of the older solo and breathing exercises that are not as popular today. Moreso, I think the curriculum was probably initially understood by students coming from others arts, thus requiring less emphasis in training. Eventually, this curriculum was isolated and pushed out of mainstream aikido.

Some are endeavoring to bring this training back but aikido itself does not provide a blueprint, having since lost the elements in mainstream aikido. Note that I believe there are still individuals and smaller dojo clusters that has preserved this training. Going outside of aikido may allow individuals to find some of this training and re-integrate it into aikido. I am not convinced the end product will be what is called internal strength, but I believe it will at least strengthen our aikido and provide insight into better movement.

Some individuals will go farther and have a look at internal strength, which I believe is a study in itself. I think maybe some of the confusion I read about suggests internal strength is an aftermarket add-on to aikido while ignoring that fact that it is possible the "aiki" that exists in aikido is actually an add-on to internal strength training. This is pure speculation. Probably also heresy...
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Old 02-01-2011, 12:55 PM   #191
Jaon Deatherage
 
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I am going to throw out a complete, unsubstantiated hunch (and hope no one calls me on it)...
I am pretty convinced (although I do not possess conrete evidence) that at one point in time there existed a curriculum in aikido which lay the internal strength foundation. Probably, it was some of the older solo and breathing exercises that are not as popular today. Moreso, I think the curriculum was probably initially understood by students coming from others arts, thus requiring less emphasis in training. Eventually, this curriculum was isolated and pushed out of mainstream aikido.

Some are endeavoring to bring this training back but aikido itself does not provide a blueprint, having since lost the elements in mainstream aikido. Note that I believe there are still individuals and smaller dojo clusters that has preserved this training. Going outside of aikido may allow individuals to find some of this training and re-integrate it into aikido. I am not convinced the end product will be what is called internal strength, but I believe it will at least strengthen our aikido and provide insight into better movement.

Some individuals will go farther and have a look at internal strength, which I believe is a study in itself. I think maybe some of the confusion I read about suggests internal strength is an aftermarket add-on to aikido while ignoring that fact that it is possible the "aiki" that exists in aikido is actually an add-on to internal strength training. This is pure speculation. Probably also heresy...
I wonder if some of the old masters (not just aikido, but generally) would even be able to articulate these things. Much of the old training was "Do this for 20 years the way I did. Now you can do what I do." The body will teach itself if you're practicing mindfully under the care of a good teacher. I imagine a lot of the 'traditional' training just pounded the student with technique and frequent practice until the body started to 'get it'. The Chinese systems seem to take a more microscopic look at things,whereas the Japanese systems contain all the internal juice, but don't talk about it much, knowing it will show up if you practice long and hard. I think we have a unique learning opportunity at this time in the west; we can dig into the theoretical underpinnings a bit more. As long as we balance this conceptual analysis with hard practice, we can possibly progress faster than was possible in the past. Only time will tell, of course.

I think internal connection shows up in almost any physical task if the person has done the task mindfully for a long time.

Last edited by Jaon Deatherage : 02-01-2011 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 02-01-2011, 12:57 PM   #192
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I am going to throw out a complete, unsubstantiated hunch (and hope no one calls me on it)...
I am pretty convinced (although I do not possess conrete evidence) that at one point in time there existed a curriculum in aikido which lay the internal strength foundation. Probably, it was some of the older solo and breathing exercises that are not as popular today. Moreso, I think the curriculum was probably initially understood by students coming from others arts, thus requiring less emphasis in training. Eventually, this curriculum was isolated and pushed out of mainstream aikido.
Hi Jon,

I think you have to look at Ueshiba's history to find some very interesting facts.

1915 - Ueshiba spends about 30 days training with Takeda
1916 - Ueshiba spends about 40 days of "official" training with Takeda.

Between 1916 and 1922, Ueshiba must train either alone or with others.

Then in 1922, Ueshiba trains about 6 months with Takeda.

http://www.aikidojournal.com/encyclo...hp?entryID=723

By 1925, most agree Ueshiba is a giant among martial artists.

We can almost discount 1915 because Ueshiba had only just met Takeda. In 1916, Takeda probably did show some things for IP/aiki. Ueshiba trains until 1922 when Takeda completes his training for aiki. 3 years later, he's a giant. Total years = 11 (including 1915). Total time with Takeda = maybe 1 year.

Takeda creates other aiki giants like Sagawa, Kodo, Hisa, etc, thus proving there is a very trainable method of learning aiki. Sagawa's father supports this as it was Sagawa's father that asked Takeda to teach him aiki instead of techniques (Transparent Power).

Was there ever a curriculum in aikido "which lay the internal strength foundation"? No, IMO, there never was.
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Old 02-01-2011, 02:27 PM   #193
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

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Was there ever a curriculum in aikido "which lay the internal strength foundation"? No, IMO, there never was.
Two posts??!! That's all it took??!! Dang. Well, thanks for the input Mark, I begrudging acknowledge there isn't too much support for my theory...

Dang, 2 posts.
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Old 02-01-2011, 02:36 PM   #194
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
it is possible the "aiki" that exists in aikido is actually an add-on to internal strength training. This is pure speculation. Probably also heresy...
"Aiki" is a variant usage of the basic strengths that are the basis of "Yin Yang" (aka Heng-Ha which is A-Un, etc.) strength/body skills. Taking the power from the "Heaven" and the "Earth" using Man to combine the two is/was so important that it achieved religious or quasi-religious importance in ancient times. The "Ju" in "Jujitsu" came from this usage of internal strength. So yes, I don't think there's any question that Aikido represents an offshoot of internal-strength skills rather than the other way around. In fact, among Asians (particularly Chinese) that know their lore, I doubt there would be much discussion about the many Asian martial-arts being essentially offshoots of this kind of body power.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
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Old 02-01-2011, 04:14 PM   #195
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

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I am going to throw out a complete, unsubstantiated hunch (and hope no one calls me on it)... I am pretty convinced (although I do not possess conrete evidence) that at one point in time there existed a curriculum in aikido which lay the internal strength foundation....
I would tend to think there was an unspoken or unofficial curriculum that comes from finding certain common denominators in cross training. IMHO, its there in many arts but with a different vocabulary.

Perhaps in that split between Aikikai and Ki-Society some of the synergy got lost.

It would be interesting to assess when Aikido stopped (or slowed) producing and look at how they trained before. Something seems to have been overlooked (not lost).

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:02 PM   #196
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

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Perhaps in that split between Aikikai and Ki-Society some of the synergy got lost.
There may even have been an attitude of "Aikikai/Ki-Society does it this way so it *must* be wrong," and/or a conscious decision (on both sides) to emphasize the differences between the two for what in other contexts we would call marketing reasons. The result being that people on either side of the split only got part of the picture, *and* were more or less banned from talking to the other half for many years.

Katherine
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:31 PM   #197
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
There may even have been an attitude of "Aikikai/Ki-Society does it this way so it *must* be wrong," and/or a conscious decision (on both sides) to emphasize the differences between the two for what in other contexts we would call marketing reasons. The result being that people on either side of the split only got part of the picture, *and* were more or less banned from talking to the other half for many years.

Katherine
Interesting point - if you look at Aikikai publications before the split, you will notice that Ki was as prevalent topic. However, after the split, no Ki in Aikikai; only from the Tohei camp - very political of couse.

Greg
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:33 PM   #198
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
There may even have been an attitude of "Aikikai/Ki-Society does it this way so it *must* be wrong," and/or a conscious decision (on both sides) to emphasize the differences between the two for what in other contexts we would call marketing reasons. The result being that people on either side of the split only got part of the picture, *and* were more or less banned from talking to the other half for many years.

Katherine
Hi Katherine. I have a new view that may or not be true. Firstly, I never knew of the politics involved in wordwide aikido or in american/japanese views on it. On reading various threads I read about the so called splits but I feel differently about them to most, or at least those who complain.
My first view that many may disagree with with is that it was O'Senseis wish for his teachers to go out into the world and teach his way, their own way. Thus it spread around the world. To me this is as it had always been, much copied in old martial arts films where the master eventually tells the student he has taught him all he needs and now it's time to leave in order to complete his training.
My next view is to do with the traditional way of teaching, much adhered to especially in oriental martial arts. To equate it with western ways of teaching, which I would say was the best way in history also in the west, would be APPRENTICESHIP.
Curriculum, although showing an orderly defined sequence of steps written down can lead to lots of people practicing and following the curriculum but never having hands on experience with an expert or even someone of good understanding. It also leads to lots of academics filling themselves full of data and thinking thus they know and understand.
So that is the why of the way of traditional teaching methods.
Now politically or otherwise I think it's a fact that there will be splits and suspicion and disagreements now and in the future as there already has been in the past and the main reason to me traces back to the original founding of Aikido itself.
For me O'Sensei found a 'new way' and called it Aikido. Yes he was skilled in various martial arts and yes he derived most of the techniques from daito ryo including the term aiki and herein lies the underlying cause for the main differences.
Aiki itself has been around for a very long time but was always to do with blending and energy. It was about blending with the enegy of the attacker and thus came the techniques which assisted that aim.
Now, the difference as far as I am concerned, is that O'Sensei was following this path of aiki which also meant 'in order to overcome and dominate the opponent---and win.' So I say O'Sensei transcended that meaning in his realization and saw true blending and harmony equals no opponent, no enemy, no competition. Thus he transcended the competitive mind, the need to fight, the need to defend etc.
Thus there are those, the many, who want to follow the first explanation of aiki with it's purpose and then there are those who want to learn that but also transcend it in order to understand aikido.
Therefore if there are some in japan who consider that people in the west are still after learning in order to dominate, compete, outwit etc then they would not consider they are on the right path. This would even happen locally let alone worldwide. If both sides do it this way then they are still with the competitve mind and thus they will turn against each other, it's innevitable. A person can find any excuse to be against or say why others are against but they don't even realize that 'against' is the problem.
Just some thoughts.
Happy training.G.
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Old 02-02-2011, 11:47 AM   #199
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

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Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
I would tend to think there was an unspoken or unofficial curriculum that comes from finding certain common denominators in cross training. IMHO, its there in many arts but with a different vocabulary.

Perhaps in that split between Aikikai and Ki-Society some of the synergy got lost.

It would be interesting to assess when Aikido stopped (or slowed) producing and look at how they trained before. Something seems to have been overlooked (not lost).
The early shihan, particularly Tohei sensei, Shioda sensei and Tomiki sensei seemed to "have it" and be able to demonstrate it. Ironically, they all later split from Aikikai. They all also had some cross-training and exposure to O'Sensei's Daito Ryu before he struck much of the harder stuff from his aikido. An interesting coorelation for sure. And that is not to say other did/do not have aiki, just to point out these particular individuals.

Certainly Tohei sensei seemed to extract the essence of O'Sensei's aikido as that of ki and strengthened his curriculum (and later, his Ki Society style) with "ki" exercises. I am unfamiliar with much of today's ki society though, so I plead ignorace beyond this observation. Again, it is an interesting coorelation.
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Old 02-02-2011, 12:44 PM   #200
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Re: Aikido training - Why are you searching for internal strength?

For me the pursuit of internal strength (which I now relate but differentiate from Aiki) came as a series of, "Uh Oh!" moments. I was first taught a series of exercises/practices that were meant to build the body/mind/ki by my teacher. I was also taught a series solo body movement exercises that would build the body/mind/ki but also act as a bridge from the development of the first series to the execution of literally thousands of waza.

Unfortunately, while I did pass on the first series that I was taught, I personally didn't value them too much rather seeing them more as anachronistic warm-ups and strength building exercises that could be essentially replaced by my workouts in the gym. I concentrated much more on the second series of solo exercises as I could see how they informed my waza. This was a mistake of huge proportions in my opinion. And I can't blame my teacher, he was clear and direct, I just acted presumptuously.

Fortunately, due to the amount of training I put into the second set of exercises and perhaps partially due to my occasional perfunctory performance of the first set of exercises, I was able to manifest some of the phenomena that was being discussed on these and other boards, although to a much smaller degree. Despite the tenor of discussion I felt compelled to pay attention, as it seemed to me I might have missed something.

After meeting Rob John where he showed exercises, some of which I had never known, but more importantly some which I had been taught and discounted, I was convinced that I had screwed up royally and was determined to rectify the situation.

Having exercises is not enough. One must know how to properly perform the exercises for them to be effectual. Better still, if one has an adequate conception of what is happening in general, then one can understand the how AND why of the exercises and even potentially explore further and innovate. Consequently I began to look back at all I was taught while also seeking input from knowledgeable outside sources to see if they were congruous.

Presently I have begun to study with Dan Hardin. This makes a lot of sense to me for the following reasons. When I first spoke with Dan I asked him if I could guess at the fundamental practices that he was initially taught. I described four of (what I remember to be) five of the basic practices that he was taught. These practices we both learned (Or perhaps I should say I learned the form and Dan studied the essence and therefore produced results.) came from Daito Ryu in both of our cases. So my information was coming "in house" so to speak and didn't conflict with what I was taught previously. Also, more pragmatically, Dan seemed eager to share, didn't have an attitude of "superiority", and seemed excited and driven to make me further understand the function and performance of the exercises. So, for me, here was a guy that was "family," wasn't playing the all too familiar hierarchical games and "form over function" patterns entrenched in so many martial arts, and was eager to share. Sounds good to me!

So, back to the why choose to pursue internal strength (and I'm tossing in Aiki as well): Because this is what I was taught was fundamental to Aiki-do. One can strip away the taijutsu and buki waza and one would no longer have a Budo, but as long as the Aiki was intact one would have an Aiki-do.

Personally a really value the taijustu and buiki waza that was passed on to me, however it was all taught in the context of the foundational Kokyu, Ki, Aiki, practices, and Tandokudosa (the second series of exercises act as a bridge to understand how the foundational practices leads to waza). . . the point being, no Aiki, no Aiki jujutsu, Aiki no Jutsu or Aiki bukiwaza.

It kind of stinks to discern, after decades of training, that one missed the boat even with the best efforts of one's teacher. However, if I hadn't had such a great teacher I probably would have written the whole thing off. He had "something more" than just great jujutsu or ken. He could "kick my ass" but there was something "more" something really unusual beyond normal athleticism and superior technique, it was more like an "alternate" athleticism and superior technique. Also, he was a humble guy that wanted to be better. He was better than most which, isn't well known today (My understanding is that he taught in Ueshiba's stead during the war at various establishments and in Osaka, he was a bit of a "ringer" for the Kobukan in cases of dojo storming visitors, and he was also asked to go to Manchukuo to be a "Professor" at the University there teaching Ueshiba's art, but couldn't because he was drafted) because he was such a humble guy and he didn't break off to form his own organization like many of his peers, choosing rather to primarily teach out in the "back woods" of his home prefecture. When he taught he not only taught what he could do, but also taught what HE was taught to do by HIS teacher to be able to do the things his teacher could. He couldn't do everything his teacher could, but he taught what he was taught so that maybe his students would be able to do what he couldn't. Well, so far I've recognized what it is that I need to learn. That's something! Next, I just need to learn it. I don't plan on screwing up this time.

What better way to pay back my teacher for all that he gave to me? I do no disservice to his legacy. On the contrary, I think I OWE it to his legacy to continue as best I can in his foot steps: Walk humbly. Train like hell. Think. Learn from those I can (regardless of rank of stature) and share the best I can with those that wish to train with me. (Regardless of "rank" or stature).

~ Allen Beebe
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