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Old 04-08-2012, 07:11 PM   #1
Chris Li
 
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Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

New blog entry - "Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven - Izanagi and Izanami on the Bridge Connecting Heaven and Earth":

http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/...idge-of-heaven

Enjoy!

Chris

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Old 04-09-2012, 12:19 AM   #2
Ernesto Lemke
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Pretty impressive if not conclusive. This series is getting better and better Chris!

Ernesto
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:27 AM   #3
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

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Ernesto Lemke wrote: View Post
Pretty impressive if not conclusive. This series is getting better and better Chris!
Thanks Ernesto!

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-09-2012, 06:30 AM   #4
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

loved this one Chris, great job.
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:28 AM   #5
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

interesting. from wuji comes taiji, from taiji comes yin and yang. from yin/yang comes the five elements. asian cultures seemed to share quite a bit on the creation stuffs and other stuffs, like IS.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:50 AM   #6
Ernesto Lemke
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

I'm both somewhat surprised and dissapointed this series of articles renders so little discussion. Of course there's no saying whether there are aikido dojo/individuals out there who, as a result, are having these discussions indoors.
Right now it's hard to tell how interested people really are in the first place. I think Chris is doing a mighty fine job, offering what at first glimpse are rather complex issues, ripe for a plethora of various interpretations, and bring them back to much more straightforward concepts that seem part of a larger, widerspread picture. Also, he brings them back to the level of actual physical training as espoused perhaps most notably by Dan Harden.

Two random questions:
- what does this information offer you?
- in what way does this cause a change?

Just to spark the fire a bit...maybe....

Ernesto
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Old 04-10-2012, 02:25 AM   #7
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Kenji Tomiki used to say "mushin mugamae".
It is from the "emptines" the technique is created, without the emptines, the opponent will always read your intention to apply a technique.
Basically we attach to the opponents power, expressed by his body, we don't pull or push, we align our body and apply power. When we apply power, we use the polarity between both hands (active and passive hand changing constantly as complimentary forces).
From the emptines (mu) comes the power which creates a waza with the intention to throw (nage waza or atemi waza) or to control (katame waza and kansetsu waza).
Kenji Tomiki was very "academic" in his approach to aikido, but sometimes he used almost cryptic expressions to formulate ideas which he learned from his teacher like Morihei Ueshiba or Jigoro Kano.

Eddy
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:01 AM   #8
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Quote:
Ernesto Lemke wrote: View Post
- what does this information offer you?
My thoughts about "what aiki-do is" and my search on the matt, my tries to find out practically "what aiki-do is" finally get connected to the words of the "founder" of "what aiki-do is". And get connected to the world, this "founder" lived in.

For me since some time what I am looking for and trying to find in my practice often did not fit in the words of Ueshiba as they are to read in the books behind me in my book-shelf.

Quote:
- in what way does this cause a change?
In my case I experienced a major change in my view of aikido when I first met Endo sensei. By now I think he does not do what is labled "IS" here. But at least he is on the same journey. And what he teaches changed my way of thinking and doing completely.

Listening to Endo's talking about aiki-do as dao I started to practice a "small form" o" qi gong. I found a set of exercise which I know from the beginning of my aikidol life. And which I could fill in now in a deeper - but not new - way.

So when I read Chris' blog, I don't get exited because it is new to me and changes everything. And that means I don't have to discuss it or to question it or to change something.

But I get exited because I finally read what has been there but had no clear words. Had no connection to Ueshibas words. I finally can connect what I actually think and do to what has been thought and done before.
I read, I say to myself: "Yyyyyyyyyes!!!". I copy it, formatize it nice, print it and put in my bookshelf.
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:14 AM   #9
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Quote:
Eddy Wolput wrote: View Post
Kenji Tomiki used to say "mushin mugamae".
It is from the "emptines" the technique is created, without the emptines, the opponent will always read your intention to apply a technique.
Basically we attach to the opponents power, expressed by his body, we don't pull or push, we align our body and apply power. When we apply power, we use the polarity between both hands (active and passive hand changing constantly as complimentary forces).
From the emptines (mu) comes the power which creates a waza with the intention to throw (nage waza or atemi waza) or to control (katame waza and kansetsu waza).

Eddy
what do you mean by "emptiness"? is it a state of mind or body or both? the chinese called it wuji, and i sure hope they don't mean it a "blond" moment.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:18 AM   #10
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

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Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
... and put in my bookshelf.
So, there behind me, in my book shelf a major change takes place!
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:32 AM   #11
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

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what do you mean by "emptiness"? is it a state of mind or body or both? the chinese called it wuji, and i sure hope they don't mean it a "blond" moment.
Mushin mugamae is a state of mind and body, there is nothing. Of course the body is there, but if uke is touching you, he only feels your body, no movement, no intention.

Eddy
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:24 AM   #12
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

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Eddy Wolput wrote: View Post
Mushin mugamae is a state of mind and body, there is nothing. Of course the body is there, but if uke is touching you, he only feels your body, no movement, no intention.

Eddy
if no movement or intention, how do you proposing the kuzushi on contact?

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:51 AM   #13
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

"From the emptines (mu) comes the power which creates a waza"

How does the power come? What do you do exactly?
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:51 AM   #14
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

"From the emptines (mu) comes the power which creates a waza"
How does the power come? What do you do exactly?


if no movement or intention, how do you proposing the kuzushi on contact?


If your intention is to create "kuzushi" your opponent will feel your movement
If your intention is to do a "waza" your opponent will feel the waza

By making contact with uke, you take the empty space in uke's body to prevent him from moving (locking him up), by aligning your body and stretching (but not moving) you create power (not pulling in power, raw muscle power). This power can be used as kuzushi and waza (for example learned by kata training). If you start with a mind and body full of techniques, you will lose.
I must say this is quite difficult to explain with words.

Eddy
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:10 AM   #15
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Great blog again, Chris.

I just keep on thinking: It Has To Be Felt, In You.
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:58 AM   #16
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Quote:
Eddy Wolput wrote: View Post
Kenji Tomiki used to say "mushin mugamae".
It is from the "emptines" the technique is created, without the emptines, the opponent will always read your intention to apply a technique.
Basically we attach to the opponents power, expressed by his body, we don't pull or push, we align our body and apply power. When we apply power, we use the polarity between both hands (active and passive hand changing constantly as complimentary forces).
From the emptines (mu) comes the power which creates a waza with the intention to throw (nage waza or atemi waza) or to control (katame waza and kansetsu waza).
Kenji Tomiki was very "academic" in his approach to aikido, but sometimes he used almost cryptic expressions to formulate ideas which he learned from his teacher like Morihei Ueshiba or Jigoro Kano.

Eddy
Cryptic?
I think he is exactly right. And his comments directly align with his teacher-Ueshiba- who obviously taught him. For what it is worth, he, like his teacher before him, is all but quoting the taiji classics.
Dan
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Old 04-10-2012, 04:39 PM   #17
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Quote:
Ernesto Lemke wrote: View Post
I'm both somewhat surprised and dissapointed this series of articles renders so little discussion. Of course there's no saying whether there are aikido dojo/individuals out there who, as a result, are having these discussions indoors.
Right now it's hard to tell how interested people really are in the first place. I think Chris is doing a mighty fine job, offering what at first glimpse are rather complex issues, ripe for a plethora of various interpretations, and bring them back to much more straightforward concepts that seem part of a larger, widerspread picture. Also, he brings them back to the level of actual physical training as espoused perhaps most notably by Dan Harden.

Two random questions:
- what does this information offer you?
- in what way does this cause a change?

Just to spark the fire a bit...maybe....
I've been trying to make them understandable, but of course some of it is hard to get without a certain background.

And of course, there are always going to be some people who thing that it is the same as whatever it is that they're already doing - although it is, in all likelihood, quite different.

Then there are those whose eyes just glaze over when they hear about spear wielding gods and the void (I sympathize, believe me).

Then there are the people who have enjoyed them and contacted me privately about them - which I appreciate, of course. It would be interesting to see more of a conversation going, though.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-10-2012, 05:08 PM   #18
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Quote:
Above the sound "A" and below the sound "O" - opposites connected with Ki, there Attractive Force ("Inryoku") is created.
Quote:
For example, we were expected to recite the alphabet in a different order. Rather than saying the vowels of Japanese as ''AIUEO'' we were made to repeat them over and over as ''AOUEI,'' as if this new sequence had a deeper meaning.
I couldn't see it touched on in the article, maybe it was and it went over my head, but it seemed to only address this comment in a dry literary sense.

But in my own training, unrelated to aikido, we have at one point used sounds to coordinate 'things' in the body that are hard to coordinate or make move by any other means. These particular sounds not being the pair of 'A' and 'O', but something else, though 'A' was conspicuously present, in a form, and maybe even 'O', if I look past the superficial sound itself.

Though the sounds were not what was sought after, and other sounds could have been used in the end, or really no sound (which was sought after), but the sounds were a gateway into that state, to identity what unconscious effects they had on the organization of the body first, then make them conscious, then get rid of the sounds and keep the effect. The sounds are like postures, ends of a spectrum, for some aspects the body, but in between the sounds, there is movement, of a sort, and that is what you try to learn.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:26 PM   #19
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I've been trying to make them understandable, but of course some of it is hard to get without a certain background.

And of course, there are always going to be some people who thing that it is the same as whatever it is that they're already doing - although it is, in all likelihood, quite different.

Then there are those whose eyes just glaze over when they hear about spear wielding gods and the void (I sympathize, believe me).

Then there are the people who have enjoyed them and contacted me privately about them - which I appreciate, of course. It would be interesting to see more of a conversation going, though.

Best,

Chris
Hi Chris,
Been away from AikiWeb (voluntarily) for a little while. But, since you asked about starting a conversation ...

So, we have
1. Opposing forces themselves. Fire/water, in/yo, etc.

2. Then, you have the these opposing forces in a spiral. As you noted in your article, Ueshiba said, "The Floating Bridge of Heaven is the turning of fire and water bound together. Fire moves water, water is moved by fire. Fire and water are one thing. They turn in a spiral."

3. Aiki. Now, according to Ueshiba, aiki is something other than just the opposing forces.

4. Breath, breathing, chanting.

5. Structure.

6. Power

There is a lack of 5 and 6 in your blog post, but I'm sure it's covered elsewhere. But, it's interesting to note that Ueshiba broke down some of it so nicely.

So if we take, for an example, the often used unbendable arm where one is supposed to imaging water going out one's arm so that it becomes unbendable. But, according to Ueshiba, that's not nearly enough. One must have opposing forces. Wait, not quite right. One must have opposing forces that are in a spiral. Thinking of water going out the arm is only 1/3 of the whole equation. Kind of hard to actually get to aiki if 2/3 are missing.

Now, we have to wonder just where all these fire/water spiral(s) are supposed to be happening? Not just externally, because Ueshiba pretty clearly laid out the fact that it's all within oneself. So, where are these fire/water movements taking place?

It's nice to see the Chen model on display, thanks. We can see that in Chen style, these opposing forces are all over the body. But, is there anything in Ueshiba's talks to point to that? Just curious. (You know I'm 100% behind you - I'm just musing out loud to the public and trying to generate conversation.)

Then we have aiki ... According to Ueshiba, once you have fire/water, yin/yang, in/yo, Izanagi/Izanami, heaven/earth spirals, you must intertwine them with ki. To do that, you use breath. Once you have that, you have aiki. But, that's quite a leap of, um, faith.

If I had not been specifically shown certain things and heard those words, I'd have been completely lost. Even knowing some of the Chinese classic theories, unless I actually had more of a physical understanding, I'd have trouble following Ueshiba. I can certainly see why his students (both pre-war and post-war) complained about not understanding him.

Anyway, just some thoughts. Hope you're doing well. Maybe one day, I'll make it over there to say hi in person.

Mark
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:32 PM   #20
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
I couldn't see it touched on in the article, maybe it was and it went over my head, but it seemed to only address this comment in a dry literary sense.

But in my own training, unrelated to aikido, we have at one point used sounds to coordinate 'things' in the body that are hard to coordinate or make move by any other means. These particular sounds not being the pair of 'A' and 'O', but something else, though 'A' was conspicuously present, in a form, and maybe even 'O', if I look past the superficial sound itself.

Though the sounds were not what was sought after, and other sounds could have been used in the end, or really no sound (which was sought after), but the sounds were a gateway into that state, to identity what unconscious effects they had on the organization of the body first, then make them conscious, then get rid of the sounds and keep the effect. The sounds are like postures, ends of a spectrum, for some aspects the body, but in between the sounds, there is movement, of a sort, and that is what you try to learn.
I haven't really touched on that, since I've been trying to keep things clear and (mostly) understandable.

Of course, that's the whole paradigm of Kototama, and the chanting that Ueshiba did was used for that purpose. Basically speaking, I think that he was using it to focus his intent in certain ways, and this worked well for him because of his religious beliefs and background.

For other people, perhaps not so much (it never did much for me). Notably, he discouraged people from joining his religion or joining in his religious exercises, so maybe he understood that it was different for his students than it was for him.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-10-2012, 05:47 PM   #21
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
There is a lack of 5 and 6 in your blog post, but I'm sure it's covered elsewhere. But, it's interesting to note that Ueshiba broke down some of it so nicely.
Sharp eyes - it's not covered yet.

In Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven the last part of one of the quotes mentioned is "That is something that is enacted through the breath ("iki"). This breath ("iki") is Aiki."

This is kind of a big topic in itself, so I'm leaving it for a future blog of its own.

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post

So if we take, for an example, the often used unbendable arm where one is supposed to imaging water going out one's arm so that it becomes unbendable. But, according to Ueshiba, that's not nearly enough. One must have opposing forces. Wait, not quite right. One must have opposing forces that are in a spiral. Thinking of water going out the arm is only 1/3 of the whole equation. Kind of hard to actually get to aiki if 2/3 are missing.

Now, we have to wonder just where all these fire/water spiral(s) are supposed to be happening? Not just externally, because Ueshiba pretty clearly laid out the fact that it's all within oneself. So, where are these fire/water movements taking place?

It's nice to see the Chen model on display, thanks. We can see that in Chen style, these opposing forces are all over the body. But, is there anything in Ueshiba's talks to point to that? Just curious. (You know I'm 100% behind you - I'm just musing out loud to the public and trying to generate conversation.)
Also coming...

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Then we have aiki ... According to Ueshiba, once you have fire/water, yin/yang, in/yo, Izanagi/Izanami, heaven/earth spirals, you must intertwine them with ki. To do that, you use breath. Once you have that, you have aiki. But, that's quite a leap of, um, faith.

If I had not been specifically shown certain things and heard those words, I'd have been completely lost. Even knowing some of the Chinese classic theories, unless I actually had more of a physical understanding, I'd have trouble following Ueshiba. I can certainly see why his students (both pre-war and post-war) complained about not understanding him.

Anyway, just some thoughts. Hope you're doing well. Maybe one day, I'll make it over there to say hi in person.

Mark
Thanks Mark, we're still waiting for you to make it out here!

I'm definitely going to stay away from any "how to do" stuff, so there's going to be a significant and continuing gap between a more accurate explanation and actually translating it into a physical expression.

Besides the fact that my "how to do" is mostly "how to don't", it's just too tough to try and get into much of a detailed physical explanation without the kind of common reference that we both share. I have my hands full just not screwing up anybody around here, let alone screwing up people virally over the internet.

Anyway, better physical explanations may be forthcoming.

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-10-2012, 09:34 PM   #22
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I haven't really touched on that, since I've been trying to keep things clear and (mostly) understandable.

Of course, that's the whole paradigm of Kototama, and the chanting that Ueshiba did was used for that purpose. Basically speaking, I think that he was using it to focus his intent in certain ways, and this worked well for him because of his religious beliefs and background.

For other people, perhaps not so much (it never did much for me). Notably, he discouraged people from joining his religion or joining in his religious exercises, so maybe he understood that it was different for his students than it was for him.

Best,

Chris
How about the Kiai:

"Ya" "Toh" Unn (non-verbalized)" and "Ehii"

They contain A, O, U, E, and I and O-sensei used them martially, not just religiously. They too were passed down in Doka (to all who care) and Kuden (to some at least).

Just as A and O were specific referents, O-sensei used these kiai (my computer insists on "kiwi" ) in specific ways . . . do you see a connection???

Do any Koryu aficionados??? FWIW, (very little no doubt) I learned these in the context of Ken . . . (I learned almost everything that was "a thing"* in the context of Ken from my teacher!) [Back in the "old days" that was the the quintessential answer to any conundrum raised in the dojo, "Get your ken!" I kind of miss the "old days." ]

*essential

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:59 PM   #23
Chris Li
 
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Quote:
Allen Beebe wrote: View Post
How about the Kiai:

"Ya" "Toh" Unn (non-verbalized)" and "Ehii"

They contain A, O, U, E, and I and O-sensei used them martially, not just religiously. They too were passed down in Doka (to all who care) and Kuden (to some at least).

Just as A and O were specific referents, O-sensei used these kiai (my computer insists on "kiwi" ) in specific ways . . . do you see a connection???

Do any Koryu aficionados??? FWIW, (very little no doubt) I learned these in the context of Ken . . . (I learned almost everything that was "a thing"* in the context of Ken from my teacher!) [Back in the "old days" that was the the quintessential answer to any conundrum raised in the dojo, "Get your ken!" I kind of miss the "old days." ]

*essential
Yes, certain Kiai are supposed to have certain effects (different effects for different Kiai) on the nervous system. Certainly, under the same theory, that would work the other way as well, as a conditioning method.

OTOH, I'm not sure whether it's the specific syllables, the specific intent, or the specific delivery that produces the effect. Would nonsense syllables produce the same effect if you believed that they would? Or is the human body biologically "tuned" to certain auditory stimuli?

O-Sensei came from a certain background, with certain beliefs, so some things would affect him in different ways (I expect) from somebody raised in a different manner. Or maybe not - it would be interesting if we could really put it to the test on a blind group...

Best,

Chris

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Old 04-10-2012, 11:01 PM   #24
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Sharp eyes - it's not covered yet.

In Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven the last part of one of the quotes mentioned is "That is something that is enacted through the breath ("iki"). This breath ("iki") is Aiki."

This is kind of a big topic in itself, so I'm leaving it for a future blog of its own.

Also coming...

Thanks Mark, we're still waiting for you to make it out here!

I'm definitely going to stay away from any "how to do" stuff, so there's going to be a significant and continuing gap between a more accurate explanation and actually translating it into a physical expression.

Besides the fact that my "how to do" is mostly "how to don't", it's just too tough to try and get into much of a detailed physical explanation without the kind of common reference that we both share. I have my hands full just not screwing up anybody around here, let alone screwing up people virally over the internet.

Anyway, better physical explanations may be forthcoming.

Best,

Chris
Mark and Chris,

I think it would be difficult to put into words the "how to". When I attended Dan Harden's seminar for the first time, I had no clue what he was talking about eventhough I had some background in Ki and Chinese Chi Kung plus Aikido. My wife with the same background had the same feeling when she attending Dan Harden' s seminar for the first time. Some people do get it right away but I believe most of us are kind of in a fog. HOWEVER, we did keep the faith and try our best to do the exercises as he taught without truly understanding the concept. On the second seminar, things became clearer and on the third, the concept was much much more clearer (do not misunderstand, I am not saying that I understood everything, I said much much more clearer), The "how to" also suddenly has meaning and feeling. I discovered that I had power that I did not even know. (not muscle power!!!!)

My point is that if anyone ONLY follow instructions from a book on "how to", it is very difficult. For one thing, there would not be anyone with the knowlege to give feedback. Without feedback, one can never be sure whether one is doing it right or wrong. But, of course, not impossible. Nothing is impossible.

It is my personal wish that more and eventually ALL Aikido Sensei's would first recognize O-Sensei's vision of Aikido (yin/yang, aiki etc), make an effort to overcome their ego, empty their cup, learn the concept and "how to" then teach it to their students. Please understand that I am not saying to "throw away" the "Do" (technique), All I am proposing is that the senseis add on the "secret of Aikido" to their teaching. Then Aikido would truly take its rightful place as one of the best martial arts created. Any "how to" books would/can be used as reference for training but, in my opinion and limited experience, can NEVER be a substitute for a sensei.

We in Hawaii are very lucky to have Dan Harden visiting us and Chris to support and teach us, otherwise most of us will be by the way side, either frustrated or lost or whatever and gave up.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:01 AM   #25
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 399
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Re: Aikido and the Floating Bridge of Heaven

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Yes, certain Kiai are supposed to have certain effects (different effects for different Kiai) on the nervous system. Certainly, under the same theory, that would work the other way as well, as a conditioning method.

OTOH, I'm not sure whether it's the specific syllables, the specific intent, or the specific delivery that produces the effect. Would nonsense syllables produce the same effect if you believed that they would? Or is the human body biologically "tuned" to certain auditory stimuli?

O-Sensei came from a certain background, with certain beliefs, so some things would affect him in different ways (I expect) from somebody raised in a different manner. Or maybe not - it would be interesting if we could really put it to the test on a blind group...

Best,

Chris
It wasn't presented to me in the context of mental effects, but of assisting the solidity of the trunk in explosive movement. The idea was the abdominal cavity. The vocal apparatus helps manipulate pressure of the abdomen, through the diaphragm, by putting downward pressure on it, which when combined with pressure from below and the sides, surrounds it with pressure. In the transition between sounds, you can manipulate this into becoming a transition from a pressured state to an even more highly pressured state, and then, why not even the reverse? This is why the end sounds were unimportant, because firstly the goal was not the noise, and secondly because that would ultimately leave the diaphragm locked up and rigid. But even then, this was one limited effect, whereas Moriheu Ueshiba seemed to have a more extensive vocabulary of letters here than two, so I wonder then what he was doing with them or what shapes were implied?

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 04-11-2012 at 12:08 AM.
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