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Old 01-27-2012, 10:38 AM   #1
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Ellis:

What is your view on Systema's approach to ukemi. They point out that the surfaces that we land on tend to be harder than our bodies, so that the idea of creating a particular shape, regardless of the surface does not lead to safe landings. I like their approach of conforming to the laws of gravity and conforming your body to the surface area.

Marc Abrams
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:56 AM   #2
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Mark - I've only seen it from afar, so to speak. It looks very intelligent. I've seen guys roll - really mold their bodies - over projecting surfaces, for example. Systema (and other related Russian arts) brings to my mind moving like an octopus - an alive connection throughout the body without a focus on hara at all. I think if one regards ukemi as primarily falling, Systema style is better and safer than aikido. If ukemi, however, is "receiving body," and includes kaeshiwaza, and the use of one's own physical organization to dominate the other (turning tori into uke), there may be some divergences in goal and effect.

My question would be this: (and for me, it would bring the question into internal strength/aiki questions, where, too much digression should start another thread). Ukemi is "of a piece" with the rest of a martial art. If one takes ukemi like they do in systema (and ukemi, of course, not merely being falling), what would that do to a) aikido waza b) would that contribute to training a the particular type of "inter-connections" to move and execute the aiki/kokyu ryoku that O-sensei exhibited, and some others are looking for?

This is not a criticism of Systema - rather, to my eyes, they are developing their bodies in a different way. At "lower" levels, this is not an issue - adding some whip and flexibility to one's body in aikido would only be a plus. However, I think that when one gets to an expert level, it is possible that it would be the equivalent to trying to run your computer simultaneously on two operating systems.

Just my opinion - I've only taken a one week Systema training.

Best
Ellis

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 01-27-2012 at 10:59 AM.

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Old 01-27-2012, 01:35 PM   #3
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Mark - I've only seen it from afar, so to speak. It looks very intelligent. I've seen guys roll - really mold their bodies - over projecting surfaces, for example. Systema (and other related Russian arts) brings to my mind moving like an octopus - an alive connection throughout the body without a focus on hara at all. I think if one regards ukemi as primarily falling, Systema style is better and safer than aikido. If ukemi, however, is "receiving body," and includes kaeshiwaza, and the use of one's own physical organization to dominate the other (turning tori into uke), there may be some divergences in goal and effect.

My question would be this: (and for me, it would bring the question into internal strength/aiki questions, where, too much digression should start another thread). Ukemi is "of a piece" with the rest of a martial art. If one takes ukemi like they do in systema (and ukemi, of course, not merely being falling), what would that do to a) aikido waza b) would that contribute to training a the particular type of "inter-connections" to move and execute the aiki/kokyu ryoku that O-sensei exhibited, and some others are looking for?

This is not a criticism of Systema - rather, to my eyes, they are developing their bodies in a different way. At "lower" levels, this is not an issue - adding some whip and flexibility to one's body in aikido would only be a plus. However, I think that when one gets to an expert level, it is possible that it would be the equivalent to trying to run your computer simultaneously on two operating systems.

Just my opinion - I've only taken a one week Systema training.

Best
Ellis
Ellis:

You raise some very good points. The expo had a profound impact on all aspects of my budo training; ukemi being one aspect as part of an integrated whole. Your ukemi dvd is in my collection and has been part of my re-analysis process. My blog on ukemi (my dojo website) talks about similar thoughts on the whole area of ukemi. One of the things that I took from Systema was in allowing the laws of physics and other laws of nature to be more important that the desire to make my "roll" look nice.

Do you remember Ushiro Sensei's son? He has matured into quite the beast! We had not seen each other in 8 years (couple of years ago) and he put on 25 kilos of muscle during those years. He and I went at it during a break (we would lock ourselves in a room and go at each other at the expo- not everybody's idea of fun and comraderie, but we loved it!). We were going full-tilt, throws, sacrifice throws, etc. on a hard wood floor. We both walked away from that fun encounter with no bruises. It was confirmation for me that the traditional ukemi model employs, that I moved away from was a good decision. I wish I was more coherent in thinking through what I am doing differently now. I sum it up by saying that I can receive energy in a number of ways, enabling me to do a variety of things as a result of receiving the energy. Much better than launching into a roll (in my opinion). Watching and experiencing what Systema does, along with your DVD, were part of the changes which I consider positive. Thank you for that dvd.

As to the question of what two IP people would look like testing each other, I think that Chinese wrestling and boxing would be closer to what it would look like. Eventually, one operating system would be left running. In terms of Aikido waza, I think that it would be like when kata evolves into movements done during kumite. My experience is that it typically ends up looking very different than how a cooperative waza practice looks. I do not necessarily look at this as a bad thing, just something that is likely to occur. I also think that it is important to be able to learn to use the internal form contained in the external form of waza, without being constrained by the external form.

Regards,

Marc Abrams
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Old 01-27-2012, 02:22 PM   #4
DH
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Systema ukemi is far beyond the limits asked for in simple Martial arts one-on-one encounters.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Mark - I've only seen it from afar, so to speak. It looks very intelligent. I've seen guys roll - really mold their bodies - over projecting surfaces, for example. Systema (and other related Russian arts) brings to my mind moving like an octopus - an alive connection throughout the body without a focus on hara at all.
You can do aiki and relaxed movement, with or without hara. It is far better with hara, it is a different animal all together with a developed hara. In fact, while going for that looseness the greatest way to achieve it while retaining raw power and fluidity at the same time cannot be had without hara. Their breath training accounts for some, but to date after sparring with 5 teachers I have no seen any significant hara development in any of them.

Quote:
My question would be this: (and for me, it would bring the question into internal strength/aiki questions, where, too much digression should start another thread). Ukemi is "of a piece" with the rest of a martial art. If one takes ukemi like they do in systema (and ukemi, of course, not merely being falling), what would that do to a) aikido waza b) would that contribute to training a the particular type of "inter-connections" to move and execute the aiki/kokyu ryoku that O-sensei exhibited, and some others are looking for?
I've never seen a person be able to demonstrate for me any relevance of ukemi to internal training or aiki. Ukemi helps you in all sorts of ways, it is not a requirement or even beneficial to internal training or Aiki that I have seen qualified.
If you think of warfare and military training; Systema does an amazingly effective job at using ukemi or falling for far, far better reasons then something as improbable as a one on one fight which I will address below. Think moving over open terrain, in web gear and pack and keeping weapons retention and target acquisition, lack or tightening the body in fear response, bullets and bombs etc. With that in mind, who gives a rip about a fight!

Quote:
This is not a criticism of Systema - rather, to my eyes, they are developing their bodies in a different way. At "lower" levels, this is not an issue - adding some whip and flexibility to one's body in aikido would only be a plus.
Best
Ellis
I am a huge fan of systema on so many levels it would take me three pages of writing to spell it out. In fact I think it should be thee system the U.S. military uses for our personale. I can think of nothing better for movement through a combat theater under stress. I also think what they teach is fantastic for health and overall mindset, even down to forgiveness and not carrying emotional baggage stored in the body. Bully for them.

That said I do not think it wise to try to be all things for all men. I think the single greatest flaw they have is in their one-on-one combatives. Since they put out so many one on one combatives videos and make it look like that is what they are teaching, (it's not by the way, the system is much deeper and more complex) some explanations as to what folks are seeing would give them a lift instead of add to the critiques.

Movement
The continuous fluid evasions help for their job and their approach to things, but for fighting? The continuous evasions I have seen in the past will not cut it with many external fighters I know, much less someone versed in fighting and in internal strength. It's hard enough to take the balance of an external well trained fighter, with an internal well trained fighter it's a fecking nightmare. It is all too obvious that the attackers in these many videos have little no structure. If they had the connection I would be shooting for, they would never move, much less "respond" the way they do.
Plug in an internal fighter, or plug in a good external fighter and you are not going to get the same video.
The evasions they use will be used against them to take them apart. Too many good fighters will use that to set you up and play you like a string. Reading and seeing repetitive responses to what a fighter is offering are the first step in failure.

Ukemi
In general I think the single greatest weakness I see in any arts training model is its ukemi; Aikido, Daito ryu, Systema on and on. A good example is in watching Systema or Aikido, knife videos.
A popular comment to Systema videos is: "Why do Systema knife attackers look like systema people with a knife?" You can plug in an Aikido-ka and get the same response. Their ukemi training preprograms their people to mold themselves into their own model both giving and receiving. This opens them up to some very serious flaws in one-on-one combatives, which I have seen first hand

All in all benefits to their ukemi far outweight one on one needs. They even go past their excellent choice for military work.There are other aspects that are rarely talked about on the net but that would greatly aid a martial artists regarding, health, flexibility, mindset, dealing with stress etc., that are stellar. While not necessarily fighting per se, it sure won't hurt either!
Cheers
Dan
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Old 01-27-2012, 02:27 PM   #5
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
As to the question of what two IP people would look like testing each other, I think that Chinese wrestling and boxing would be closer to what it would look like. Eventually, one operating system would be left running. In terms of Aikido waza, I think that it would be like when kata evolves into movements done during kumite. My experience is that it typically ends up looking very different than how a cooperative waza practice looks. I do not necessarily look at this as a bad thing, just something that is likely to occur. I also think that it is important to be able to learn to use the internal form contained in the external form of waza, without being constrained by the external form.

Regards,
Marc Abrams
Most people in the world have never seen anyone with descent internal strength who can fight in an MMA style or modern weapons in a manner that actually demonstrates unusual approaches and skills in that area that are recognizable as different on feel and approach. The vast majority of what is out there is simple push hands or external fighting. Maybe in time that will change and there will be some interesting observation offered.
Dan
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