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Old 05-17-2012, 06:33 AM   #1
graham christian
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The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

Hi, I'm going to write here in my normal straightforward way as if stating something as self evidently true, such is my way.

Non-resistance. I think this is one of the most misunderstood and even abused or disregarded principles in Aikido.

The other reason I want to say something about it is that whilst many debate and complain about possible lost 'words' or ways of training I myself always watch out for lost principles and this is one which I think is given less and less importance when actually it the foundation of Aikido as a principle in action.

So I will attempt to clarify something about it which I feel many never get to understand or are explained and thus come up with totally false conclusions about it. So I'm not interested in the thoughts of using resistance for any purpose whatsoever in Aikido but want to show how those who have ever felt it from another are almost always at fault in their resultant observations and conclusions.

1) Statements like 'It has to be felt' sound logical yet can be completely misleading.

2) To be understood it has to be done by the person, not felt by the person.

3) On feeling the effect of someone using non-resistance you get many different responses from different people and different conclusions. Thus feeling it is open to great misunderstanding. Conclude nothing until you can do would be my advice.

These points are the reasons things get lost.

Non-resistance comes from the spiritual/mind realm and even beyond that too so trying to use that principle talking physically and thinking physically is impossible.

O'Sensei is a prime example of someone who always used this principle in Aikido and yet when I read the opinions of many who felt him as ukes and their subsequent conclusions I can see why they misunderstand and pass on the misunderstanding.

Someone may say something like he felt 'solid' or even like 'steel' or that his grip was like a 'vice' and all sorts of things as their perception of what they felt. Meanwhile he himself would say how he is soft and uses non-resistance. Thus the two things don't go together unless you understand the principle of non-resistance from many angles. It is spiritual.

So here is the major point to understand. What you feel as the receiver is a lot of times not what is being given. That is the major point of this thread right here. This is the point I am giving you and if you really take it into account it will save you going down the wrong path when trying to understand Aikido as different from other martial arts. It's based on non-resistance.

Non-resistance is the catalyst for all other principles of Aikido. I may be the first person who has ever said that and I hold that as the golden rule of Aikido. Thus all else I consider not Aikido.

A vice like grip done from the principle of non-resistance is so soft, so free of any force or resistance in itself yet the person feeling it can only understand it in terms of a physical vice and then unerringly go off to practice hand exercises and gripping 'harder' etc. Completely back to front based on what they think they felt.

The spiritual principles of Ki and non-resistance and love etc. do not manifest or operate as the body they merely operate, with discipline, through the body. So it is not the physical hand that is holding in truth.

So it had to be felt does not lead to understanding how to do. It does not lead to even grasping what was being done. It can lead to completely wrong views. It can also be a very good experience. However conclude nothing until you can do.

Non-resistance is inherent in all principles of Ki and Ai and Do. The catalyst.

Depending how it's applied, ie: with which principle, it may feel to the receiver like nothing at all, like steel, or like an invisible brick wall. Many ways it can be perceived and felt but the doer knows they are using no force or body mechanic at all.

Peace.G.
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Old 05-17-2012, 07:11 AM   #2
genin
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Re: The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

I had a hard time following, probably due to my lack of understanding, and not because you failed to properly articulate your idea Graham. But I think I was able to grasp the crux of your point.

There's a teaching in Buddhism that all things are essentially neutral, and only take on a positive or negative complexion given circumstances and events. I think non-resistance is this state of neutrality.
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:38 AM   #3
HL1978
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Re: The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

I certainly don't disagree that spirtual practices could facilitate non-resistance. On the otherhand, can't one simply relax and go along with movement (or not go along with movement as their partners interia would only have to overcome their bodyweight and not their musculature pushing back) and "not-resist"?

Quote:
1) Statements like 'It has to be felt' sound logical yet can be completely misleading.

2) To be understood it has to be done by the person, not felt by the person.

3) On feeling the effect of someone using non-resistance you get many different responses from different people and different conclusions. Thus feeling it is open to great misunderstanding. Conclude nothing until you can do would be my advice.
To be sure there is some subjectivity in what people feel. When referring to what Ueshiba could do, when viewed in light with practitioners with similar skill sets, they are able to replicate a vice like grip, or a ghost like feeling etc as applications of particular skills/principles rather than widely disparate interpretations of a sensation. That is to say that a person demonstrating an unmovable vice like grip is a demonstrating a different thing than when they demo an absence of feeling and feedback.

There is some truth to point 2, in that in order for it has to be felt to be understood to actually work, you need someone who can actually do it, to be able to do it to you.

Anyways, what is interesting about this sort of thing is that when you get it right, you get....... an absence of feedback. That is to say you don't feel any resistance whatsoever, from yourself, your partner or anywhere at all. I'm not completely convinced that this is the result of a spritual practice.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:08 AM   #4
graham christian
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Re: The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

Quote:
Roger Flatley wrote: View Post
I had a hard time following, probably due to my lack of understanding, and not because you failed to properly articulate your idea Graham. But I think I was able to grasp the crux of your point.

There's a teaching in Buddhism that all things are essentially neutral, and only take on a positive or negative complexion given circumstances and events. I think non-resistance is this state of neutrality.
Yes, neutral is indeed non-resitive. It's a great principle to practice to get reality on non-resistance. When all said and done you may even say it is one and the same eventually. Neutral is one of the principles I use in Aikido so I fully agree with you Roger.

To expand on it though I add that non-resistance is a catalyst and inherent in the whole. Therefor for example love in it's true form is non-resistive. So although neutral is one thing and has one set of effects then love also being non-resistive has a different set of effects yet both are thus non-resistance.

It is our own considerstions and thoughts and such that we attatch to love or neutral or Ki etc which lead us to the unawareness or misunderstanding of those things.

Peace.G.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:45 AM   #5
graham christian
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Re: The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
I certainly don't disagree that spirtual practices could facilitate non-resistance. On the otherhand, can't one simply relax and go along with movement (or not go along with movement as their partners interia would only have to overcome their bodyweight and not their musculature pushing back) and "not-resist"?

To be sure there is some subjectivity in what people feel. When referring to what Ueshiba could do, when viewed in light with practitioners with similar skill sets, they are able to replicate a vice like grip, or a ghost like feeling etc as applications of particular skills/principles rather than widely disparate interpretations of a sensation. That is to say that a person demonstrating an unmovable vice like grip is a demonstrating a different thing than when they demo an absence of feeling and feedback.

There is some truth to point 2, in that in order for it has to be felt to be understood to actually work, you need someone who can actually do it, to be able to do it to you.

yways, what is interesting about this sort of thing is that when you get it right, you get....... an absence of feedback. That is to say you don't feel any resistance whatsoever, from yourself, your partner or anywhere at all. I'm not completely convinced that this is the result of a spritual practice.
True relaxing cannot be done other than spiritually I would say. What we get used to calling relaxing is nowhere near the same thing and thus confusion abounds.

Yoga, misogi, zen, and all other such things teach us this and introduce us to this thing called relaxing. They are all spiritual practices. Aikido should do the same I would say.

You could have a drink and relax, you could switch off, lie down and relax, you could take drugs to relax, but none of these are the relaxation pertinent to Aikido or any other spiritual discipline. Thus you learn relaxing is an action you do and that action relaxes the body and allows Ki to flow through naturally. It's not a physical action. Now for many they start off with various physical things to do like breathing etc. to guide them to the state of mind needed to relax, among other benefits. In the end it is a self thing, you do it. There is you, there is the mind, there is the body. Via the mind, calm mind, you can relax the body. You can also directly from true self do so too.

Here's the joke. The body is not relaxed because we are doing something to it already. The things we are doing to it already are mental and spiritual so we must change doing these things and replace them with doing better things or else how can we relax the body. It's also caused by things we are not doing mentally or spiritually but should be and thus we must discover what they are and do them.

There's more behind that word relax than meets the eye.

Your example of one going along with 'relaxing' and not using any musculature pushing back and thus they would have to overcome the body weight to me is nothing to do with true relaxing or non-resistance. That's more like turning your body into a sack of potatoes, a common misinterpretation in my experience.

The point of needing someone who can actually do it on point two is not the point. The point is that doesn't lead to much understanding at all. You doing it is the only points of understanding, not another doing it to you.

I see you have experience the feeling of something working and you get an absence of feedback. So you have experienced non resistance. At that point you felt your self, spiritual. That is the true you. Can you maintain it, have it in all situations of Aikido, apply it all the time, use those principles which allow you to do so? That is the question and the path.

The only ones in the way of doing such is ourselves. We put our own barriers there, our own disbeliefs and fears there, our own denials there, our own misunderstandings there. Thus it is only us who stop ourselves by these mental and spiritual barriers, put there by yours truly. Then we have the cheek to say what we are doing to ourselves is hidden or not unstandable or nothing to do with us.

Masakatsu Agatsu springs to mind. We are our own enemy for in truth spiritually we are non-resistance.

Peace.G.
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Old 05-17-2012, 01:25 PM   #6
Chris Parkerson
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Re: The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

Thank you Graham. An excellent presentation. Can you tell us how you experience the physics (body mechanics) that occur when you are in such a state of non-doing?
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Old 05-17-2012, 05:15 PM   #7
graham christian
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Re: The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
Thank you Graham. An excellent presentation. Can you tell us how you experience the physics (body mechanics) that occur when you are in such a state of non-doing?
Hi Chris. It's quite the opposite, all non-resistance is a state of doing. It's active and takes discipline.

Body mechanics? Well actually it's as if they become irrelevant even to the point of disappearing. That doesn't mean they are for in training and learning and drills and kata the body memory and use of movement is ingrained. Different mechanics may be worked out etc. but all seems to pale ino significance for all I 'see' is principles and the following of them. They become real and 'solid' whilst the physical becomes minor.

That's how I experience it.

If I was to give you an example it would be just as difficult to explain but here is one I'll try. Let's take facing someone with a sword or bokken. They are to attack, to cut through. What am I doing at this point and what am I experiencing? What am I seeing? These are questions which get asked when the opponent wonders how?

I am giving. I am giving Ki, I am giving the feeling of welcome. I am giving. I am keeping zanshin. I am spiritually looking through the opponent, not at. All these things are disciplines yet unseen from the outside.

I am focusing and specifically focusing on being center line only. Thus I see not even my own body but only a center line. I am not interested one iota in protecting my body for I am just a line and no more. The only thing I protect is center line and nothing else. More disciplines.

The only thing I thus move is center line. The rest is irrelevent for in moving it the rest will be safe and thus of no concern. With all this the main feelings are stillness and calm. Yet these feelings are even themselves a result of other things being active.

Well, that's one example even if it's hard to understand but is nonetheless an example of what I feel and see in that particular example.

Peace.G.
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:21 PM   #8
Chris Parkerson
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Re: The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

I think I understand you to be expressing a sense of mushin awareness.
Minenori and the monk Takuan spoke of this as "moon over the water" and other very vidid images.

What I take that to mean is that one is aware of all things yet not fixed on any one thing.

I laud you for being able to reflect upon they various principles you remember employing. The moon was well reflected in the water.

What memory did you have about and within your body, your spine, your hips, ankles and shoulders, your belly?
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:22 PM   #9
graham christian
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Re: The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

Quote:
Chris Parkerson wrote: View Post
I think I understand you to be expressing a sense of mushin awareness.
Minenori and the monk Takuan spoke of this as "moon over the water" and other very vidid images.

What I take that to mean is that one is aware of all things yet not fixed on any one thing.

I laud you for being able to reflect upon they various principles you remember employing. The moon was well reflected in the water.

What memory did you have about and within your body, your spine, your hips, ankles and shoulders, your belly?
Thanks for your response. Your questions are interesting and unexpected. Memory of certain parts of body? None. That's the simple answer. Not memories. I am only aware of the principles and resultant feelings from such areas but more as standard procedure. Thus I can relate what happens in those areas you describe, for me anyway, but at the time of doing they don't take any attention if you see what I mean.

Your statement of taking it to mean one is aware of all things yet not fixed on one thing I find interesting too for I find the opposite is true actually. By focusing on one thing, in the example I gave of sword, then note the one thing was center line. By so doing you become aware of everything. This is the whole theory realy of one point as given by Tohei or as used by Mas Oyama which he took from kempo ie: the principle of keeping one point and the resultant relationship you come to realize about the circle.

However, I would simply put it this way. All meditations are based on this principle. Whether they get you to listen to the sound of water, concentrate on a box or some image, whatever. They are getting you to concentrate on one thing, one 'point. This leads to becoming aware of all around.

This is another principle to be understood and applied. Another example would be someone flashing a knife in front of you, slashing from side to side etc. The motion takes your mind. You get involved in the 'everything' of the motion so become aware of nothing, lost. On the other hand if you focused only on center line it would look to you like a pendulum swinging. You will see everything and all the openings and even as if you are watching in slow motion for yourself. This is also what I find to be true.

So the truth to me is: Try to focus on everything and you will see nothing, you will be lost. Focus on one thing and you will see everything.

As far as the body parts go I can only explain this way. The stomach? I feel only center and one point and thus the energies of hara and the inflow and outflow through such. Thus the stomach fels like a gateway of yin and yang I suppose you could call it.

The spine feels only like center line feels, a neutral axis around which all turns. Also it feels like a neutral passageway for Ki between heaven and earth so to speak.

Shoulders feel invisible, gone, is the best way to describe that.

Hips feel like the opening which allows all counter energy to go to earth, not necessarily through the legs. I call this Koshi, the base of the spine area. It connects with mother nature and the void both. This is how I explain it.

Ankles seem to have no relevance feeling wise. The legs and feet once again feel hollow yet full of energy going through to earth aligned with koshi. In motion they are just part of the motion, I am oblivious to them.

As an aside I could say via the legs for example that wasn't obviously always the case. Positioning and direction of feet and knees etc. and relationships to motion and direction and even direction of cut of the sword all had to be drilled in and would take attention of course whilst learning.

So I hope that gives you how I feel and experience with regards to what you asked.

Peace.G.

Last edited by graham christian : 05-17-2012 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:50 PM   #10
Chris Parkerson
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Re: The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

I am grateful for your having the courage to describe your experience to us.

Indeed, if "seeing all things" is inclusive; it involves that which is around us, what is on us and what is in us.
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:06 AM   #11
graham christian
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Re: The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

Nice sharing with you Chris. Your manner seems very non-resistive....makes it a pleasure to reply.

Peace.G.
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Old 05-18-2012, 12:06 PM   #12
Chris Parkerson
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Re: The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

Namaste.
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:08 PM   #13
DH
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Re: The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

None of it is spiritual and the giants who could actually do it- always said it was NOT SPIRITUAL.
Those who can't do it...have to default to something, some reason why they can't. So they make it this "out there" thing impossible for them to achieve. Therefore they can argue it's merits all day long as to varying degrees of their own failures.

The principles to achieve it require a great deal of body work to change the body and mind/body, then the movements that make it happen become rational secondary results.
Everyone else just keeps turning and evading...missing the real goods in their entirety.
Dan
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:20 PM   #14
graham christian
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Re: The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

Hooray. Glad we agree. None of IT is spiritual.

Peace.G.
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:30 PM   #15
gregstec
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Re: The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Hi, I'm going to write here in my normal straightforward way as if stating something as self evidently true, such is my way......
I am probably going to get some time out for this from Jun, but I just cannot resist.

Graham, buddy, there is absolutely nothing whatsoever straightforward in anything you say!

Greg
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:55 PM   #16
Anthony Loeppert
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Re: The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

Quote:
Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
I am probably going to get some time out for this from Jun, but I just cannot resist.

Graham, buddy, there is absolutely nothing whatsoever straightforward in anything you say!

Greg
You shoulder the punishment the rest of us sheepishly avoided.
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:06 PM   #17
graham christian
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Re: The Catalyst of Aikido, Non-Resistance.

Quote:
Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
I am probably going to get some time out for this from Jun, but I just cannot resist.

Graham, buddy, there is absolutely nothing whatsoever straightforward in anything you say!

Greg
Greg, don't worry I'll plead on your behalf. I don't find what you said here offensive.

You say what you see. You actually have good humour too. Good on ya.

Peace.G.
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