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Old 11-20-2011, 06:18 PM   #26
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
Well, I've worked with that for decades and I'm just getting to actually feel the real connections, much less use them.

You gotcher basic idea of "the waist" directs the force that moves from the soles of the feet to the tips of the fingers. And in aikido, it's a byword that you move from "the center" and so on.

I think the whole thing about the hara being "the seat of the soul" is because all the feelings of the body and all the emotions of the mind congregate there. The fascia carries the ki and emotion is very close to ki. That's why emotion of the mind is so influential in the stomach. The stomach is full of fascia, wrapping all the organs, separating them, supporting them, supporting all those muscles in the abdomen and connecting to the arms, legs and neck...Bad emotions go right to the stomach and cause the fascia of that whole area to do weird things. "My stomach is tied in knots" or "I have butterflies in my stomach".

Also, this area retains old emotions by freezing the fascia into a particular set of inner tensions that are experienced as "natural" for the individual. It affects how they walk, stand and sit. It's why you can recognize an individual by his movement. And that also affects the feelings in your own dantien, doesn't it? When you see someone moving worse or better than yourself?

So I think the first thing is to quell the torment of the mind. And that can begin by letting the mind concentrate on the dantien and make it interesting by putting the body in weird positions that stress the dantien in various ways through the weight of the arms and legs.

And the breath helps loosen the tightness of the abdomen and the fearful, avoiding emotions that would hold it hostage by "protecting" it. And letting the abdominal fascia loosen up, freeing the emotions, deepening the breath, lets the ki move freely. And then the mind can be involved with the dantien and the ki. Then you can harmonize the bones, muscles and fascia with the ki, mind and kokoro.

After that, you can learn methods of really coordinating the body through dantien. So I hear.

Actually, recently, I was doing something from Aunkai, the tenchi posture, with the palms up, straight arms up beside the head, fingertips facing outward.

It's always been hard for me to really straighten my hands and fingers like that, and I did some things wriggling my fingers individually, and with each finger, I could feel it all the way along my arms and into the abdomen, which let me release certain tensions in my abdomen, meaning my spine popped and I took a good, long, deep breath and suddenly felt much better than just a moment before.

A few minutes of that really did me a lot of good and I came away with a little more to think about concerning coordination of the body through dantien.

Please help, if you have any clues...

Best to you.

David
Hi David. I found this post interesting especially the view of mind and emotions and effects. Ilike the colloquial saying that the west has the mind as in the brain whilst the eastern view is that the mind is in the stomach.

Remember though that a lot of that butterflies in the stomach and other feelings can be associated with the vagus nerve also. That being said their are also other areas of the body where emotions get stuck and cause the effects you refer to.

I see you describe them as causing the fascia to go into a set of tensions. No doubt this is so in my view even though I don't use such terminology myself. This in turn affects the natural Ki flow in the body so I agree with you there also. Thus handling the troubled mind. All good.

In regards to your last question would you not say that wriggling your fingers was a method of getting rid of the tension? On doing this you felt what you described. Now I take it your method shows to you a releasing of tension throughout the connected fascia?

Well I would say what you are doing is what I would call true relaxation and when you do such you become more aware of center etc. No more significance than that. The more you do it the better you get. So I don't see you need more help on that point except more practice. aian other words, it's all good, ha ha.

Just my two cents as an outsider.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-20-2011, 09:24 PM   #27
Janet Rosen
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Well I would say what you are doing is what I would call true relaxation and when you do such you become more aware of center etc. No more significance than that. The more you do it the better you get.
Graham, as someone who is doing this training, I must respectfully disagree.
Where I agree is that a specific form of relaxation is key to doing martial arts - of course, this is not new, it's part and parcel of judo's "maximum efficiency with minimum effort" and presumably predates that - the idea of only engaging what needs to be engaged.
However, there is something much more active being done. What is being described is literally learning to isolate and work with specific body structures that are not those most of us have been aware of feeling much less being able to engage.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:14 PM   #28
DH
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Graham, as someone who is doing this training, I must respectfully disagree.
Where I agree is that a specific form of relaxation is key to doing martial arts - of course, this is not new, it's part and parcel of judo's "maximum efficiency with minimum effort" and presumably predates that - the idea of only engaging what needs to be engaged.
However, there is something much more active being done. What is being described is literally learning to isolate and work with specific body structures that are not those most of us have been aware of feeling much less being able to engage.
"Maximum efficiency with minimum effort" will not help.
"Knowing" Anatomy trains will not help.
It's not just knowing what to use. It isn't an exercise.
It knowing how to move what.
Intent is everything. You can know every single thing, but without intent...you're no good. It's all for not. So good luck putting the pieces together.
Motion in stillness training an absolute.
Union of opposites a requirement in specific ways.
Whole body movement, a trained and specific thing.
How to move the body in specific accurate ways, long before it becomes...natural.

No matter how hard they try
No matter what they think they know
Aikido..ka will never find it on their own or through any Japanese teacher I have seen, watched or read. Their teaching model for this work is a disaster. In the hands of the japanese ...this is lost.

And of those who are training it? They will forever rule those who do not know.
In time, everyone will turn to them and seek them out.
I have never met the person, who once they felt it and you started to show them how to do it...did not want it. As every...single...Shihan....has said to me
I wish I had met you thirty years ago.
The comedy is them feeling this...after...they have read all of the nonsense written on aikiweb speaking against it. They laugh harder than I do. And none of them, not one, has ever told me that their own Japanese Shihan can touch it. They all know it. So does most everyone else who is just too damn connected and afraid to say it.
As Gleason says...
"We should be shouting this from the roof tops! I don't care who knows!"
Or
"It's graduate school for teachers."
Do I really want to argue with some Nidan ro Sandan being all defensive about something they cannot grasp?
For this reason I no longer debate how to do this on the internet. Never again. It's not worth making enemies with words. They're happy, so let them go do their own thing. In time, when they touch you in person, there continues to be nothing they can do to stop you.
Besides, every art needs someone to throw around and wonder... "What just happened?"
You can't fix everyone. Hence the reason it was always kept closed and taught to only a few. It's going to be interesting to see who pulls it together and gets somewhere with it.
All the Best
Dan

Last edited by DH : 11-20-2011 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:19 PM   #29
David Orange
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

I just want to go to Hawaii and wait for your seminar in March!

David

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
"Maximum efficiency with minimum effort" will not help.
"Knowing" Anatomy trains will not help.
It's not just knowing what to use. It isn't an exercise.
It knowing how to move what.
Intent is everything
Motion in stillness training an absolute
Union of opposites a requirement in specific ways
Whole body movement, a trained and specific thing.
How to move the body in specific accurate ways, long before it becomes...natural.

No matter how hard they try
No matter what they think they know
Aikido..ka will never find it on their own or through any Japanese teacher I have seen, watched or read. Their teaching model for this work is a disaster. In the hands of the japanese ...this is lost.

And of those who are training it? They will forever rule those who do not know.
In time, everyone will turn to them and seek them out.
I have never met the person, who once they felt it and you started to show them how to do it...did not want it. As every...single...Shihan....has said to me
I wish I had met you thirty years ago.
The comedy is them feeling this...after...they have read all of the nonsense written on aikiweb speaking against it. They laugh harder than I do. And none of them, not one, has ever told me that their own Japanese Shihan can touch it. They all know it. So does most everyone else who is just too damn connected and afraid to say it.
As Gleason says...
"We should be shouting this from the roof tops! I don't care who knows!"
Then you listen to some little Nidan being all defensive.
For this reason I no longer debate how to do this on the internet. Never again. It's not worth making enemies with words, when in person, there continues to be nothing they can do to stop you.
Besides, every art needs canon fodder to throw around and wonder... "What just happened?"
You can't fix everyone. Hence the reason it was always kept closed and taught to only a few. It's going to be interesting to see who pulls it together and gets somewhere with it.
All the Best
Dan

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:29 PM   #30
DH
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

I am willing to come to Atlanta dude!! Late Jan or mid Feb
Let's plan.
Dan
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:31 PM   #31
DH
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Janet
I had sooo much fun meeting you!! What a doll. Who knew you were so funny too!
Maybe a repeat in the spring?
I can't wait to attack Rick and Bill and such. Maybe I will get to attack Saotome and Ikeda before hand!!
Imagine that?
I would die laughing at myself first
Dan

Last edited by DH : 11-20-2011 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:00 AM   #32
David Orange
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Quote:
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I am willing to come to Atlanta dude!! Late Jan or mid Feb
Let's plan.
Dan
One of these days, we'll have enough interested people in Birmingham that you could come here.

I can probably still get the same guys for Atlanta, though. They were all interested--and Phi Truong would probably come.

It'd be cool. I just have to be at the mochi-making ceremony for my son's Saturday school in January. Maybe I can get enough points from that to make it to Atlanta in February!

Best to you.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:03 AM   #33
BWells
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Well Rick will certainly welcome you back Dan, and look forward to being attacked. He doesn't do half bad for a 75 year old does he . We are trying to incorporate what you taught into our classes but boy you gave us a lot. It's clear we need a refresher even after only a week. And Janet your are missed and totally welcome to drop by ANY time!!!!

thanks for the training
Bruce
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:26 AM   #34
Janet Rosen
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Janet
I had sooo much fun meeting you!! What a doll. Who knew you were so funny too!
Maybe a repeat in the spring?
I can't wait to attack Rick and Bill and such. Maybe I will get to attack Saotome and Ikeda before hand!!
Imagine that?
I would die laughing at myself first
Dan
Dan, the pleasure was mine! As you saw, I'm not necessarily very talented at this m.a. stuff but damn I love it, it brings me immense joy and yeah I'm willing to make a fool of myself in public and keep plugging away.
Whenever I think I'm taking myself too seriously I remember a priceless moment from the 60s in which on a stage Pete Seeger turns to Arlo Guthrie and deadpans "but folk-singing is serious business" bringing down the house, as well as Arlo...the doing of the work, the learning, is hard enough but no reason to approach it ponderously, heavy-hearted.
Practicing daily and still not feeling things enough to even include all of the few exercises I aim to focus on (trying not to bite off more than can be somewhat successfully chewed as it were).

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:30 AM   #35
Janet Rosen
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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Bruce Wells wrote: View Post
Well Rick will certainly welcome you back Dan, and look forward to being attacked. He doesn't do half bad for a 75 year old does he . We are trying to incorporate what you taught into our classes but boy you gave us a lot. It's clear we need a refresher even after only a week. And Janet your are missed and totally welcome to drop by ANY time!!!!

thanks for the training
Bruce
Bruce I'd be happy to drop in more casually to train, but it's awfully had to justify tanks o'gas and a five hour round trip on a regular basis, especially when so many things already get not-done or put off to do later....give Rick a big hello from me!

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 11-21-2011, 01:14 AM   #36
Toby Threadgill
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
I would add...the ability to connect with, feel and affect another person's center even while they are not able to feel or affect your's.
God bless you Janet. wink wink....

Toby Threadgill/TSYR
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Old 11-21-2011, 01:24 AM   #37
Janet Rosen
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
God bless you Janet. wink wink....

Toby Threadgill/TSYR
:-)
You know I can't actually do this stuff....but...I DID demonstrate getting Dan to blush, which is just a sneaky old budobabe way of taking somebody's center...

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 11-21-2011, 04:36 AM   #38
Mark Freeman
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Intent is everything. .

Motion in stillness
I've only clipped the above 2 quotes from Dan's post as they are fundamental to the fun that I am having with my aikido practice at the moment. I'll explain...

I have long been an adhearant to the 'Intent' is everything mantra. My first aikido teacher was fairly physically disabled. Polio as a child had left him with legs that had virtually no muscle. So he effectively was balancing on two sticks with a joint in the middle (his ankles had been surgically fused). He was totally committed to using mind/ki/intent as a way of power, as he didn't really have much alternative choice. His mobility was a bit of a head scratcher for the medical profession, some of them were convinced that he should not be walking at all. He had a very powerful mind, and his aikido was driven by it.

Consequently, my focus in my practice and subsequent teaching, has always had a stong bias towards the mind and what it is doing at any given point in the process. And as the 'style' of aikido I fell into is heavily Tohei influenced, the co-ordination of mind and body has been my primary reason for continued study. So relaxation and extending the mind have always been a part of what I do.

However, extending the mind, or even less helpfully 'extending ki' are pretty vague descriptions of what is really happening. It is the students job to figure it out for themselves, understand what is going on and then be able to pass on that knowledge to others.

On the recent seminar that Dan gave in the UK, the point that made the most impact for me, was the solo standing exercises, in which the mind directs movement, but all in stillness. I recognised on a deep level at that moment, that this was a valuable practice for me, and it had not been part of my aikido practice up till now.

So I have been playing with this on a daily basis, (not easy for an undisciplined soul like me) and going to my normal aikido classes and teaching as normal. Only now, I have a whole new set of things going on in my mind/body, that is allowing me to create and use new exercises to help my students along the difficult path of improvement.

The fun I am having now, is getting uke to come and grab, and before they get to physical contact I have set up an 'intent' which is going in a particular direction (up,down, spiral, whatever), and when they make contact, watching the surprised look on their faces as they start to move in 'my' predetermined direction of choice. I could do this sort of thing before working with Dan, but now it all makes so much more sense, I have more of an understanding of why it is working. I also relied more on some bodily movement. Now I am revelling in the "motion in stillness" -Thanks Dan

I steered clear of the bizzare Ueshiba's aiki thread, I was surprised Jun let it run on for so long. I do freely admit though, that when I first came onto aikiweb, I was sceptical and distrustful of both Dan and Mike. I wasn't as vocal about it as KM, but still, I had the 'certainty' of my knowledge and experience with an exceptional teacher. But curiosity overcame arrogance, and a meeting with both men, has left me an even more enthusiastic student of the aiki arts. I don't really care which way aiki-do/ai-ki-do is spliced up. I just want to improve what I do, which I am doing.

Thanks David for starting this interesting thread, let's hope the discussions can stay on deepening understanding, rather than politics and personalities (having said that Dan is a fun guy to train with ).

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 11-21-2011, 05:57 AM   #39
Chris Knight
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Quote:
Now I am revelling in the "motion in stillness
Hi Mark, this sums up my understanding so far quite well....Its trying to understand the concept that this can be attained, and train the body thus...

Unfortunately I cant afford a teacher so am plugging away at self tuition on this, gleaning as much information as I can on the way... My teachers see Dan as often as possible in the UK so in time, I'm hoping they will help pass this information down to me, as we slowly incorporate this into our Aikido training.

The annoying part is for me that self tuition can be a pretty dangerous and damaging business in itself as specific details can probably frequently be missed.

However, the wife and children come first, and hopefully I will mange to meet up the top exponents further down the line

I've read quite a few chinese texts which seem to correlate with the stillness and intent training so I'm hoping I'm travelling in the same direction as everyone else!!
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Old 11-21-2011, 08:12 AM   #40
chillzATL
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
One of these days, we'll have enough interested people in Birmingham that you could come here.

I can probably still get the same guys for Atlanta, though. They were all interested--and Phi Truong would probably come.

It'd be cool. I just have to be at the mochi-making ceremony for my son's Saturday school in January. Maybe I can get enough points from that to make it to Atlanta in February!

Best to you.

David
You guys should totally plan something!
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Old 11-21-2011, 08:21 AM   #41
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Graham, as someone who is doing this training, I must respectfully disagree.
Where I agree is that a specific form of relaxation is key to doing martial arts - of course, this is not new, it's part and parcel of judo's "maximum efficiency with minimum effort" and presumably predates that - the idea of only engaging what needs to be engaged.
However, there is something much more active being done. What is being described is literally learning to isolate and work with specific body structures that are not those most of us have been aware of feeling much less being able to engage.
Which bit of what I said do you disagree with? David is practising yes? He's getting results yes? The more he does so and gets confident then the more he will relax and thus see even more. That's what I'm saying. I'm sure he must be practising whatever else is involved too.

Relaxation is one of my preconditions but don't think I mean that 'maximum efficiency minimum effort' saying and the concept of engaging only what needs to be engaged. No, that's not my way.

Anyway, time will tell. If he has a specific technical question on what you are practising I'm sure he'll ask the relevant question to the relevant person.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:38 AM   #42
DH
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Which bit of what I said do you disagree with? David is practising yes? He's getting results yes? The more he does so and gets confident then the more he will relax and thus see even more. That's what I'm saying. I'm sure he must be practising whatever else is involved too.
Regards.G.
Relaxation as a model is a mistake anyway. Functionally, it is virtually meaningless as teaching tool.
If you totally relax, you will fall down. I never relax and the result is it makes me very soft to the touch when I want to be-to include while am invading space and taking center.
I equate the value of saying "relax" to move your insides as having worth. Move what? The next time a Japanese teacher tells me to "move my insides" I am going to tell him I took a dump before I got here, thank you very much. As teaching axioms...it explains nothing.

We have so many examples of men escorting Ueshiba on to the mat in his old age where he went from sagging old man muscles to inflating and feeling like iron.

"Standing in the midst of Heaven and earth the mountain echo is revealed"...Ueshiba

That didn't happen from "relaxing"..nor was it from flexing.
And everytime someone says to just relax...they're wrong. The real comedy is that everyone is convincing themselves that they "get him," that they are doing Ueshiba's aikido....yet have no clue how to do that very basic first step, much less all the other things he did and talked about. It's much easier to just say you know what he was doing than to have to demonstrate it.

There are detailed specific things to be doing and training. Watching people flex their way through and use things in isolation is of course wrong. Watching them go through the next phase and try to uniformly "whole body flex" is still wrong. But the inverse, watching people swirl about, afraid to use their arms and evading because the only other option for them is muscle is a mistake as well, and you see it over and over. Watching someone move connectedly is a rare treat. Feeling someone very good at it rarer still. Feeling someone who can go from super soft to bone breaking power in a split second and back again in rapid seamless succession even more so. And not one bit of it has to do with relaxation. It is whole body unity and connectedness, not noodle arms and empty evasion. It is interesting to hear people go on and on abut how much they know...then you watch their bodies fall apart while demonstrating their "expertise"; one side weighted, weight shifting across the throw-line, shoulders flexing, fat man aikido...moving from the hips...sometimes all in the same guy.

Knowing anatomy trains will never fix any of that. Oddly enough, knowing good training metaphores -the classic way to teach it- will.

Therein lies the rub. Not everyone who is connected is doing the same thing and moving the same way. They may share internal connections that manifest totally different, hence the reason that some internal coaches are not really going to help much or get you the same results for aikido and traditional weapons. In fact some methods are in direct conflict with each other.
This is why I keep telling people to go train with multiple sources. I think things reveal themselves to smart people. Others will never get it and will screw up their own bodies in the attempt. But in both cases they need to make their own choices.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 11-21-2011 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:36 AM   #43
graham christian
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Relaxation as a model is a mistake anyway. Functionally, it is virtually meaningless as teaching tool.
If you totally relax, you will fall down. I never relax and the result is it makes me very soft to the touch when I want to be-to include while am invading space and taking center.
I equate the value of saying "relax" to move your insides as having worth. Move what? The next time a Japanese teacher tells me to "move my insides" I am going to tell him I took a dump before I got here, thank you very much. As teaching axioms...it explains nothing.

We have so many examples of men escorting Ueshiba on to the mat in his old age where he went from sagging old man muscles to inflating and feeling like iron.

"Standing in the midst of Heaven and earth the mountain echo is revealed"...Ueshiba

That didn't happen from "relaxing"..nor was it from flexing.
And everytime someone says to just relax...they're wrong. The real comedy is that everyone is convincing themselves that they "get him," that they are doing Ueshiba's aikido....yet have no clue how to do that very basic first step, much less all the other things he did and talked about. It's much easier to just say you know what he was doing than to have to demonstrate it.

There are detailed specific things to be doing and training. Watching people flex their way through and use things in isolation is of course wrong. Watching them go through the next phase and try to uniformly "whole body flex" is still wrong. But the inverse, watching people swirl about, afraid to use their arms and evading because the only other option for them is muscle is a mistake as well, and you see it over and over. Watching someone move connectedly is a rare treat. Feeling someone very good at it rarer still. Feeling someone who can go from super soft to bone breaking power in a split second and back again in rapid seamless succession even more so. And not one bit of it has to do with relaxation. It is whole body unity and connectedness, not noodle arms and empty evasion. It is interesting to hear people go on and on abut how much they know...then you watch their bodies fall apart while demonstrating their "expertise"; one side weighted, weight shifting across the throw-line, shoulders flexing, fat man aikido...moving from the hips...sometimes all in the same guy.

Knowing anatomy trains will never fix any of that. Oddly enough, knowing good training metaphores -the classic way to teach it- will.

Therein lies the rub. Not everyone who is connected is doing the same thing and moving the same way. They may share internal connections that manifest totally different, hence the reason that some internal coaches are not really going to help much or get you the same results for aikido and traditional weapons. In fact some methods are in direct conflict with each other.
This is why I keep telling people to go train with multiple sources. I think things reveal themselves to smart people. Others will never get it and will screw up their own bodies in the attempt. But in both cases they need to make their own choices.
Dan
Dan. You don't know how much I agree with some things you say. Especially when some teacher says relax or keep one point etc. But putting me in that category would be a mistake. On the other hand those old ways can be beneficial in certain ways so they are useful when needed.

You seem to pride yourself in your delivery, that's good by me. It is probably needed. However, it's all a matter of degrees, how much to give, in what order, and when. You have your constructs. I have mine.

Your view on relaxing is the view I come across often thus the conclusions you come to. Once again a classic misunderstanding. I might see you do as you say and notice how much relaxation is there yet you may say you don't.

I know what relaxing completely means and can teach it in such a way that others get it. They then in turn know what it means and laugh at what they thought it means.

Don't worry I'll teach you one day and guess what? You will probably say ahhh, so that's what it is, I've been doing that all along.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:08 AM   #44
ChrisMoses
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Wow, great post David. Very well thought out, concise and I even like that you chose to leave out things you didn't feel you had down enough to really talk about (dantien work). It's a humbling thing to have to say, "Yeah, I don't own enough of that to really talk about it." A sure sign of someone really working on it.

I think many of the arguments we had in the past arose from what each of us meant by "aiki". We were really talking about completely separate things but using the same term.

Chris Moses
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:11 AM   #45
DH
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Dan. You don't know how much I agree with some things you say. Especially when some teacher says relax or keep one point etc. But putting me in that category would be a mistake. On the other hand those old ways can be beneficial in certain ways so they are useful when needed.

You seem to pride yourself in your delivery, that's good by me. It is probably needed. However, it's all a matter of degrees, how much to give, in what order, and when. You have your constructs. I have mine.

Your view on relaxing is the view I come across often thus the conclusions you come to. Once again a classic misunderstanding. I might see you do as you say and notice how much relaxation is there yet you may say you don't.

I know what relaxing completely means and can teach it in such a way that others get it. They then in turn know what it means and laugh at what they thought it means.

Don't worry I'll teach you one day and guess what? You will probably say ahhh, so that's what it is, I've been doing that all along.

Regards.G.
All due respect I have seen you move. We are far apart.
I know it sounds cagey...I get it. But there is no conspiracy theory going on when a thousand people train under a bunch of different teachers and they all end up seeing and talking about the same thing.
As one Shihan said to me (who teaches around the world) your've ruined me. Every where I go, from students to my own teacher, every one's a mess!! We don't know what we're doing or talking about." All I said was "Now you know how I've felt watching you guys."
I just heard from a bunch of people training at a recent seminar who said "This is incredible we're just walking through people and they can't throw us or lock us." This was their old crew, who started to ask "What are you guys doing?" Likewise, I am a sweety and would never harm you, I don't know why but I kind of like you, but Buddy boy, you would be brushed away like you weren't even there. I don't think you really understand or have ever felt what I am talking about. Therefore it doesn't register. It can't. You have no frame of reference for the soft power being discussed. And no I am not just talking about me.
There is simply no comparison to be had between what you have shown on all your videos and then this type of training. There is a certain commonality that would ring true and be more definable. I didn't know the chinese lingo for much of what I do, I had to learn, but the principles are consistent and I could discuss them with grandmaster level guys who had their hands on me and telling me what they called this or that. So outside of verbiage, there is feel. Maybe someday we can play and then go to dinner and share some laughs.

Dan

Last edited by DH : 11-21-2011 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:42 AM   #46
DH
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

I've been asked to explain what I mean by the Japanese having a poor teaching model for this. One friend of mine cautioned me that it appears racist.
We have too many Japanese and too many foreigners who spent decades in Japan who say the same thing for it to be racist. There are very well known Japanese teachers who admit it. This is the result of cultural norms. As one fellow-who got his under grad and grad degrees in Japan some decades ago- once opined "In six years of higher education do you know how many questions were asked in a Japanese classroom? Zero!"

As an educational model that had to make the leap from a closely held family method of transmission to a twice a week ...or (international) twice a year seminar style...it leaves much to be desired. I think it is a bit much to assume that any one teacher will have the where with all to make both the cultural leap, the generational leap, and the change in teaching model all at the same time.

This particular work needs to be taught in detail, questions answered as a students intuition kicks in, and language to de definitive, both in metaphor and in anatomical detail. I have watched Japanese teachers struggle with that portion over and over. Add to this that the knowledge has to first be there. I know of sixteen Aikido Shihan learning this material...two are Japanese, oddly the Japanese have trouble....even with each other, much less conveying it to Westerners.
So instead of demonstrate and ask no questions this material can be demonstrated, discussed in detail anatomically and with metaphor to know how to effect the mind/ body. Yet, outside of Ueshiba, I have never read it, heard it, or seen it displayed in the same fullness....in Aikido. I don't think there is a Japanese aikido teacher alive who can cover those bases. I have seen some good exponants, but they suffer for lack of good teaching models and specific language. Example: at two recent seminars, Ikeda was teaching and people on the floor were using my descriptions to help each other actually do...what he was doing. All they got was "Move inside." That doesn't nearly cut it. As one American Shihan said at another get together when the Japanese teacher sat down. "I will now explain what he did...and how to do it!"

We are no longer doing the koryu family style one to one model in small settings in the village where you absorbed it. As Ueshiba said "Maintain six direction awareness before and after technique. This is taught in practice." ...well..no..it isn't. Why? Because he didn't teach it well and it got mistranslated and no one in post war aikido cared to know what the hell it meant anyway.
So unless you are a genius or get a lot of one-on-one instruction; stealing technique and mimicing is a piss poor way to go. Sure it may work, but it is just as likely to fail.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 11-21-2011 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:03 PM   #47
kewms
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I've been asked to explain what I mean by the Japanese having a poor teaching model for this. One friend of mine cautioned me that it appears racist.
We have too many Japanese and too many foreigners who spent decades in Japan who say the same thing for it to be racist. There are very well known Japanese teachers who admit it. This is the result of cultural norms. As one fellow-who got his under grad and grad degrees in Japan some decades ago- once opined "In six years of higher education do you know how many questions were asked in a Japanese classroom? Zero!"
I've read of similar experiences elsewhere in Asia, where Western teachers in China, Hong Kong, etc. had enormous difficulty getting students to ask questions or really to participate in their classes at all. Are the Chinese any better at teaching these skills?

Katherine
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:18 PM   #48
ChrisMoses
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Example: at two recent seminars, Ikeda was teaching and people on the floor were using my descriptions to help each other actually do...what he was doing. All they got was "Move inside." That doesn't nearly cut it. As one American Shihan said at another get together when the Japanese teacher sat down. "I will now explain what he did...and how to do it!"
First, I love Ikeda Sensei. He's a great guy. He's an extremely talented martial artist to boot.

BUT, I don't know how many seminars and classes I've been to of his where he would say, "working! not working. working! not working... OK you try..." and that would be the extent of his explanation. Totally useless. If you already knew what he was doing, it was fairly obvious what the difference was, but if you didn't there was no exposition to get there.

I think it actually makes sense that the Japanese would be bad at explaining things like this. You have a language that prides itself on being vague, where the more specific you are about things, the more you have the potential for being rude.

I think that some of that culture may be changing however. I actually gave a presentation in California last week to a room of senior IT folks from various Japanese corporations and they asked almost fifteen minutes of detailed questions after my thirty minute presentation. I was genuinely surprised.

Chris Moses
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:50 PM   #49
kewms
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote: View Post
I think it actually makes sense that the Japanese would be bad at explaining things like this. You have a language that prides itself on being vague, where the more specific you are about things, the more you have the potential for being rude.

I think that some of that culture may be changing however. I actually gave a presentation in California last week to a room of senior IT folks from various Japanese corporations and they asked almost fifteen minutes of detailed questions after my thirty minute presentation. I was genuinely surprised.
Japan has an advanced, technology-driven economy. There's nothing inherently vague about the language: it can be as precise as any Western language when the situation calls for it.

OTOH, the difference between technical Japanese and literary Japanese is quite dramatic. I'm only a very beginning student of the language, but I find technical Japanese much easier to read. The vocabulary is harder, but it largely dispenses with the grammatical constructs that give literary Japanese its layers.

Was your audience composed of people based in California, or in Japan? My Japanese friends here in the US seem to appreciate American directness.

Katherine
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:56 PM   #50
Marc Abrams
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Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

The teaching model of old was a close-knit, family-based system where the person spent most of, if not the entire day learning from the teacher, every day for a substantial period of time. As we know from our own studies, that there is no replacement for hands-on with learning a martial art, let alone the deep, deep stuff like IS, Aiki, ect..This model put a premium on hands-on experiences and tended to intentionally cloud the written transmission to prevent others from stealing the "secrets." There was a minimum of verbal instruction and written instruction. That family model protected secrets in waring times and served to "hard-wire" in this material. The transition from warring states, to a unified nation served to make the minimize the need for people to spend a good portion of their lives learning in this manner. This teaching model was brought forward into the Edo period and this model is still prevalent in the Asian martial arts community. The problem with this model is that students do not spend many years living with their teachers. Hands-on with the teachers constitutes hours a week, month,..... This model is not practical in the manner in which our teachers learned it and taught it to us.

Finding a balance between accurate verbal instruction, along with substantial hands-on experience seems to be the most efficient model, based upon the manner in which most people train today. Myself and some other instructors have even shifted away from a waza-based teaching model to one the emphasizes the verbal and hands-on instruction in the teaching of important principles and allowing the waza to emerge from the application of those principles. This model is by no means set in stone as myself and other instructors struggle with finding efficient and effective means of transmitting the heart of our arts.

Marc Abrams
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