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Old 07-19-2012, 11:30 AM   #51
Gerardo Torres
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Re: hips and shoulders

Like Gary, I also speak from my experiences on the mat feeling different practitioners and teachers, and I share with him the notion of just how extremely difficult things like connection are; all these notions are relative until people actually meet and discuss their relative standards and goals. These topics are better approached with everybody in the same room, and better yet with an inter-disciplinary crowd (not just aikido "uke") in order to keep everybody honest.

Perhaps I am misinterpreting what Mary and others are saying about the way they move. If so I apologize, but all the talk about hip movement sure pointed in a direction opposite to where I intend to go. Blending and hip-shoulder together while moving also sounded like all-too-common approaches to aiki and martial movement that I don't find too impressive. Again, perhaps there's more and we're all more or less on the same page, but I couldn't gather it from what was written here.
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Old 07-19-2012, 11:53 AM   #52
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Re: hips and shoulders

Since I was talking about my process...then it is all good. Did you try what I wrote about ?

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Old 07-19-2012, 02:22 PM   #53
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Re: hips and shoulders

Quote:
Gerardo Torres wrote: View Post
Like Gary, I also speak from my experiences on the mat feeling different practitioners and teachers, and I share with him the notion of just how extremely difficult things like connection are; all these notions are relative until people actually meet and discuss their relative standards and goals. These topics are better approached with everybody in the same room, and better yet with an inter-disciplinary crowd (not just aikido "uke") in order to keep everybody honest.

Perhaps I am misinterpreting what Mary and others are saying about the way they move. If so I apologize, but all the talk about hip movement sure pointed in a direction opposite to where I intend to go. Blending and hip-shoulder together while moving also sounded like all-too-common approaches to aiki and martial movement that I don't find too impressive. Again, perhaps there's more and we're all more or less on the same page, but I couldn't gather it from what was written here.
I would just watch teachers videos, Gerardo. While some things really do have to be felt to understand them, Disconnected movement stares you in the face.
Dan
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:25 AM   #54
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: hips and shoulders

Disconnected movement is easy to spot. Endo, Sensei certainly is not disconnected.

Gerardo. I am talking about a certain exercise movement. I think you might be taking it as I am saying this is the way you must move always. Again, did you try what I am talking about?

The ability to move the shoulders as a inde[pemdent joint intrigues me. Uriah Faber uses his shoulders to strike when he has his opponent up against the cage. That made me think.

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Old 07-20-2012, 11:21 AM   #55
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: hips and shoulders

Quote:
Gerardo Torres wrote: View Post
Perhaps I am misinterpreting what Mary and others are saying about the way they move. If so I apologize, but all the talk about hip movement sure pointed in a direction opposite to where I intend to go. Blending and hip-shoulder together while moving also sounded like all-too-common approaches to aiki and martial movement that I don't find too impressive. Again, perhaps there's more and we're all more or less on the same page, but I couldn't gather it from what was written here.
I don't see the movement side of the art as being in any kind of necessary opposition to the internal power / connection side. I really think that taking the basic platform from Daito Ryu and giving it free movement is one of the distinguishing features of the Founder's progression from Daito Ryu, through Aiki Budo, to Aikido. The problem with much post war Aikido was that much of the methodology for the internal side of the art dropped out and what was left was the idea that non-oppositional movement alone was "aiki". Movement Aikido is about avoiding an attack, it isn't "aiki" which is about "joining" not "avoiding".

We do need to focus on developing our own structures properly and understanding how proper connection actually functions. That's the platform. The trick in great Aikido is being able to take that platform and make it movable... at least that's my take on it.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:48 AM   #56
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Re: hips and shoulders

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Disconnected movement is easy to spot. Endo, Sensei certainly is not disconnected.
I am not going to comment on Endo Sensei's movement, not my place without feeling his movement. I agree with Dan that you can get a feel for what is happening by watching...some are good at this and some (many) are "less good" at it.. My comments from watching the video would be more about the uke 'disconnecting' from the attack running before the response. No problem with that though in the process you need to keep enough connection back though the response to help you understand where it is going. Things can change in the movement and you want to know what the changes are so you can protect yourself and be able to put yourself in the position to counter/respond/whatever.

Quote:
The ability to move the shoulders as a independent joint intrigues me. Uriah Faber uses his shoulders to strike when he has his opponent up against the cage. That made me think.
To me care needs to be taken that one just removes substance from the shoulder and does not disconnect. The shoulder, to me, is not independent rather still just part of the whole as you move to secondary pressure and maybe even further back than that. I can stand still and roll my shoulders independent of the rest of my body.....it is disconnected and on its own. I don't think you are talking about that.

As ever

Gary
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:59 AM   #57
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Re: hips and shoulders

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post

We do need to focus on developing our own structures properly and understanding how proper connection actually functions. That's the platform. The trick in great Aikido is being able to take that platform and make it movable... at least that's my take on it.
George
Thinking of platform and making it moveable reminds me of something I watched maybe 30 years ago, I was at a local mall to buy something or the other and get a little lunch. In the central area they were have a fashion show using local folks. There were several young girls dressed up and wearing what were high high heels for the time. Standing they were the perfect picture.....structure was perfect....once they started to move it all fell apart.

With Aikido we have to incorporate the IP/IS and aiki into the whole to make right movement. Practicing for this is what makes it efficient.and effective.

My thoughts....

Gary
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:31 PM   #58
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Re: hips and shoulders

Aikido is about joining and blending and avoiding. It is about whatever it takes to deal with the given circumstances. Trying to put it in a box to meet a certain teacher's criteria doesn't make any sense to me. How can there be a separation of aikido and movement? Any feeling that can done standing can be maintained in movement as you blend and redirect or enter with uke.

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Old 07-20-2012, 02:10 PM   #59
graham christian
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Re: hips and shoulders

Movement Aikido as I learned it is about joining with, being with, and non oppositional. This discipline leads to and in fact cannot avoid internal growth, awareness and oneness as a result.

Thus the platform from my view is motion, harmonizing with.

Peace.G.
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:51 PM   #60
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Re: hips and shoulders

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Aikido is about joining and blending and avoiding. It is about whatever it takes to deal with the given circumstances. Trying to put it in a box to meet a certain teacher's criteria doesn't make any sense to me. How can there be a separation of aikido and movement? Any feeling that can done standing can be maintained in movement as you blend and redirect or enter with uke.
Sure, but the problem with moving (and this is why O-Sensei didn't teach Ki-no-nagare until San Dan) is that there's so much more stuff happening, so many more variables to account for.

Children learn to stand up before they walk, before they run, for the very same reasons - it takes their physical systems some amount of time to learn to cope with the increased variable load.

One of the biggest problems in Aikido, IMO, is that people start moving around too soon and can't feel that everything that should have going inside their bodies is actually falling apart.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-20-2012, 03:49 PM   #61
graham christian
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Re: hips and shoulders

Isn't standing up a motion? Children learn these motions and don't 'fall apart inside'.

A bull fighter learns motions without 'falling apart inside'

A surfer does too.

If you wan't to go further then I would say meditation itself is handling motion withou 'falling apart inside'

Aikido basics I would say.

Peace.G.
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:59 PM   #62
Chris Li
 
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Re: hips and shoulders

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Isn't standing up a motion? Children learn these motions and don't 'fall apart inside'.

A bull fighter learns motions without 'falling apart inside'

A surfer does too.

If you wan't to go further then I would say meditation itself is handling motion withou 'falling apart inside'

Aikido basics I would say.

Peace.G.
I don't know about your kids, by mine fell over more than a few times before they learned to stand up successfully.

A bull fighter or a surfer learns those things - but they are learned skills, that's the point.

How many surfers stand up on the board and shoot the tube the first day? Most of them have to work up to it, over a period of time. Surfing lessons usually start with someone standing up on the board - on the beach - with no movement. Fewer variables to deal with.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-20-2012, 04:20 PM   #63
graham christian
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Re: hips and shoulders

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I don't know about your kids, by mine fell over more than a few times before they learned to stand up successfully.

A bull fighter or a surfer learns those things - but they are learned skills, that's the point.

How many surfers stand up on the board and shoot the tube the first day? Most of them have to work up to it, over a period of time. Surfing lessons usually start with someone standing up on the board - on the beach - with no movement. Fewer variables to deal with.

Best,

Chris
Don't know about the surfer example, sounds like some 'modern' way of learning. Surfing is learned in the sea.

The kids falling over etc. is once again dealing with motion. They learned the ability to walk. Yet another motion.

You said the point is so much other stuff going on implying that's the more important thing to learn first. If that was the case then the kids had better learn to read and write first and be taught about it before they learn how to walk.

The so much other stuff is learned by disciplining the motions of learning how to walk.

When you turn the corner whilst riding a bicycle there's also so much other stuff going on that I doubt you could even comprehend it so emphasis on it and research and delving is a nice mental exercise but pretty irrelevant for the most part for the bike rider learns by doing and practice, dealing with the motions, in fact blending with them.

The surfer, the bullfighter, the captain of a ship all have to learn to blend with the motions and thus 'conquer' the waves.

That's the platform operated from I would say. Therefor that's the point. The so much other stuff is not the point. They come about because of the point. That's my point

Peace.G.
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Old 07-20-2012, 04:31 PM   #64
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: hips and shoulders

Natural learning is not linear. We learn and grow and learn and grow...new skills are incorporated as we train. I believe internal skills can be taught from standing and in motion. Each providing new opportunities to challenge ourselves.

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Old 07-20-2012, 05:07 PM   #65
Chris Li
 
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Re: hips and shoulders

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
You said the point is so much other stuff going on implying that's the more important thing to learn first. If that was the case then the kids had better learn to read and write first and be taught about it before they learn how to walk.
I didn't say that at all. I said that it's easier to learn something with fewer variables involved. That's why children learn to stand before then learn to walk.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-20-2012, 05:11 PM   #66
Chris Li
 
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Re: hips and shoulders

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Natural learning is not linear. We learn and grow and learn and grow...new skills are incorporated as we train. I believe internal skills can be taught from standing and in motion. Each providing new opportunities to challenge ourselves.
Sure, nobody said it's impossible. But, IMO, it's difficult enough that it's not the best way to go, pedagogically. Not every challenge is a good one.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-20-2012, 06:36 PM   #67
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: hips and shoulders

It is not difficult at all. Just interesting, challenging and fun.

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Old 07-20-2012, 07:42 PM   #68
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Re: hips and shoulders

Certainly is a lot of talk about joining with, blending with, harmonizing with, and moving with. IMO, it is all about 'With' joining, blending, harmonizing, and moving with me; not me with it!

Aiki in me before aiki between you (with) and me -

Greg
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:46 PM   #69
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Re: hips and shoulders

IMO drop the "with" altogether. It's all about blending, harmonizing and moving period. No you, no me, no between.

Ron

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Old 07-21-2012, 03:53 AM   #70
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: hips and shoulders

I am sorry to interrupt your discussion.
But since nobody more competent stepped in, it is important to me to comment on the mention of Endo sensei.

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Aikido is about joining and blending and avoiding.
I don't think that these words are usefull, to describe the aikidō of Endo sensei. And in fact he himself does not use "joining" and "blending" to describe what he does, as far as I see.

He indeed uses "to avoid" sometimes. But it is meant in a different way: It does not refer to evading a movement of uke. Evading is clearly forbidden in sensei saikidō. To avoid in terms of sensei means to absorb (= avoid) the incoming power of uke when contact is made. This is done using one's own body structure.

Endo does not teach a lot about what to do (joining, blending, harmonizing ... ) with uke. He teaches about using, organizing, structuring one's own body. This to him is most important in aikidō. This is what aikidō is about: Learning to organize one's own body and mind.
And waza are possible ways to applie this to an opponent. He clearly distinguishes the "formal waza", which we cal kata or kihon and which can be named. And the waza that emerge spontanouesly when just using one's own body structure, one own movement. uke is "just" someone who helps tori to explore his own body and learn to use it. (This is also important to understand the way of ukemi: Like in a push test your partner is not an attacker, he is not when practicing aikidō in this way.)

To better understand the way Endo thinks about organizing, structuring one's body it is usefull to read about daoistic body work, like qi gong or tai chi or pakua zang. Endo understands his practice as the practice of dao. And he uses the daoist term, expressions, images, to explains what he does. There are strong connections to the chinese internal arts to be found in his teaching and I experienced it to be very important to get familiar with daoist thinking to understand him right.

When it comes to using one's body structure, Endo's aikidō is not about blending, joining, harmonizing, but about meeting the opponent. This is what is contained in the word "atari" (当たり, compare atemi). This video shows a very basic excercise to study Endo's understanding of atari. And I think you may get a glimpse of the relationsship between tori and uke in his aikidō. In my eyes this is clearly different from what most aikidōka understand when they talk about blending, joining, harmonizing with ukes movement, isn't it?
Creating atari (= meeting the oppenent) is then used to guide him and to create kuzushi. In this way of aikidō uke is moved by tori. tori does not only controll his own body, but also the body of uke.

You talked about using the shoulders: Well Endo does not use the shoulders or the arms. He instead uses the shoulderblades. This creates a specific feeling and specific possibilities. While the shoulderblades are connected to the spine and the lower body they can move the shoulder in a wayt they seem to be "isolated" or free from the rest of the body. (When you look at the video it sometimes seems that Endo's arms are kind of stiff or muscled. They are not. His arms are competely soft. But there is his lower body "in his arms" via the shoulder blades. Very interesting feeling! You don't have his arms. They are completely relaxed. But at the same time very very strong.)

Again: Sorry for interrupting!
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:11 AM   #71
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Re: hips and shoulders

I am quite competent, Carsten,. I was not describing Endo, Sensei's aikido. I was describing mine. I saw how Endo Sensei feels. Thanks you for your thoughts.

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Old 07-21-2012, 08:52 AM   #72
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Re: hips and shoulders

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
I am quite competent, Carsten,. I was not describing Endo, Sensei's aikido. I was describing mine. I saw how Endo Sensei feels. Thanks you for your thoughts.
I inteded to refer to more competent students of Endo's aikidō than I am. I didn't mean to question your comptence or someone else's competence concering aikidō in general. I just wantet to clear up the misunderstandings concerning Endo's aikidō.

Do I get you right:
You are able to see, how Endo sensei feels?
Could you elaborate this?
I experienced it very difficult to see, what he is really doing, while only watching him. I on the contrary learned that there is a lot to know until I can see, what he is doing.
And he often esecially explains what he is feeling and how and why. Because it is not self-explanatory or evident.

But you are right: If want knows, what he is doing inside, one can see it on the outside.
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:56 AM   #73
Alex Megann
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Re: hips and shoulders

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
I am sorry to interrupt your discussion.
But since nobody more competent stepped in, it is important to me to comment on the mention of Endo sensei.

I don't think that these words are usefull, to describe the aikidō of Endo sensei. And in fact he himself does not use "joining" and "blending" to describe what he does, as far as I see.

He indeed uses "to avoid" sometimes. But it is meant in a different way: It does not refer to evading a movement of uke. Evading is clearly forbidden in sensei saikidō. To avoid in terms of sensei means to absorb (= avoid) the incoming power of uke when contact is made. This is done using one's own body structure.

Endo does not teach a lot about what to do (joining, blending, harmonizing ... ) with uke. He teaches about using, organizing, structuring one's own body. This to him is most important in aikidō. This is what aikidō is about: Learning to organize one's own body and mind.
And waza are possible ways to applie this to an opponent. He clearly distinguishes the "formal waza", which we cal kata or kihon and which can be named. And the waza that emerge spontanouesly when just using one's own body structure, one own movement. uke is "just" someone who helps tori to explore his own body and learn to use it. (This is also important to understand the way of ukemi: Like in a push test your partner is not an attacker, he is not when practicing aikidō in this way.)

To better understand the way Endo thinks about organizing, structuring one's body it is usefull to read about daoistic body work, like qi gong or tai chi or pakua zang. Endo understands his practice as the practice of dao. And he uses the daoist term, expressions, images, to explains what he does. There are strong connections to the chinese internal arts to be found in his teaching and I experienced it to be very important to get familiar with daoist thinking to understand him right.

When it comes to using one's body structure, Endo's aikidō is not about blending, joining, harmonizing, but about meeting the opponent. This is what is contained in the word "atari" (当たり, compare atemi). This video shows a very basic excercise to study Endo's understanding of atari. And I think you may get a glimpse of the relationsship between tori and uke in his aikidō. In my eyes this is clearly different from what most aikidōka understand when they talk about blending, joining, harmonizing with ukes movement, isn't it?
Creating atari (= meeting the oppenent) is then used to guide him and to create kuzushi. In this way of aikidō uke is moved by tori. tori does not only controll his own body, but also the body of uke.

You talked about using the shoulders: Well Endo does not use the shoulders or the arms. He instead uses the shoulderblades. This creates a specific feeling and specific possibilities. While the shoulderblades are connected to the spine and the lower body they can move the shoulder in a wayt they seem to be "isolated" or free from the rest of the body. (When you look at the video it sometimes seems that Endo's arms are kind of stiff or muscled. They are not. His arms are competely soft. But there is his lower body "in his arms" via the shoulder blades. Very interesting feeling! You don't have his arms. They are completely relaxed. But at the same time very very strong.)

Again: Sorry for interrupting!
Where's the "like" button?

Alex
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Old 07-22-2012, 03:44 PM   #74
graham christian
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Re: hips and shoulders

Just been doing some more research into Koshi. I usually do it this way funnily enough in that I use a principle and develop it, (or rather develop myself on it) then when I know how pertinent it is I go look it up for by then I know someone somewhere must be using it and that it has history.

The way I have described it I find more on via the web now and the spiritual aspect as I describe I find there in the annuls of okinawa karate and even the flag. Fascinating.

It's all good.

Peace.G.
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:57 AM   #75
Gerardo Torres
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Re: hips and shoulders

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I would just watch teachers videos, Gerardo. While some things really do have to be felt to understand them, Disconnected movement stares you in the face.
Dan
Hi Dan,

I agree, disconnected vs. connected movement has a distinct visual quality that is recognizable. And the more we train IP and connection the better we're able to see those traits. The hard part is seeing the deficiencies... everywhere (mine included).

-Gerardo
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