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Old 11-18-2012, 01:26 AM   #1
Michael Varin
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Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

I've noticed a number of recent threads regarding "IP/IT/IS" that have gotten very divisive.

I don't want to engage that right now, but I'm interested in a meta-discussion.

I read several years ago that in the late 1600s, the terms internal and external first appeared and were used to classify arts based on their place of origin (Chinese/Manchu) and their religious connection (Taoist/Buddhist). It wasn't until the early 1900s that the terms were used to describe any expression of martial skill.

I wonder if it isn't simply the way this discussion is framed, and the meanings that people place on the terminology being used that is causing the problems for those on both sides?

What makes this interesting? What causes people to be so passionate and persistent about it? Where do you think the divide really lies?

If you could ideally frame this dicussion, how would you do it?

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:41 AM   #2
HL1978
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

I think some people are very passionate about the subject for similar reasons to those who have a sort of religious experience and who are "born again." You hear about Ueshiba saying "his eyes were opened to budo" while under Takeda. That is to say, you become aware of another level of budo and meaning is given to words you had heard before. It can be a very humbling experience, yet for some, they feel the need to tell everyone else about it. To spread "the good news".

Thus you run into the same problem, as if you have a friend who becomes "born again" and you lack the experience. You haven't experienced their change of heart and religous re-awakening and thus lack the passion as well as new insight that they perceive in the world around them.

It is in this context that "it has to be felt" should be understood.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:27 AM   #3
SteveTrinkle
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

in aikido I've experienced tegood achers with whom I've said"aha!thatt's how he did that!and some teachers with whom I've said"whoa, how did they dothat?hor myself, I prefer the latter and the IPfolksI've met fall into the latter category (

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Old 11-18-2012, 08:37 AM   #4
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

IMHO, there are three things at play in these discussions.

1) People having different experiences and frames of reference.
Personally, I distinguish normal movement from IP/IS and within IP/IS I distinguish the way of movement of the internal arts (neijia) from the non-internal arts. Which perfectly demonstrates that I can't get the terminology right even when I'm just discussing this with myself. I mean, there are non-internal arts that do use Internal Power / Internal Strength?!
In any case, I experience a clear enough difference between these three groups to place them in a separate category. Other people with different experiences might disagree. The question then becomes: do we distinguish different categories or do we just use different names for them? That's a very difficult (if not impossible) discussion to have over the internet.

2) Everyone wants to be the most internal.
Everyone knows the internal arts are the most l33t of all martial arts. They are the most awesome, the most pure, the most ultimate. If the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique would exist, it would be in one of the internal arts. So if someone says what I do is not internal, or not fully internal, it means I am not practising the best way of movement known to man.

3) What Hunter said better than I could have.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:44 AM   #5
Keith Larman
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

Okay loosen your belt. I'm feelin' chatty again...

Actually I think this sort of discussion always occurs around things that involve some sort of paradigm shift. In part this happens, at least IMHO, because of a different of vocabulary and context. Belief is a tricky topic as is knowledge. Often we have those who will fall back on the scientific method but fail to realize that the method itself exists within the context of that which is known. To give an example, early on in nutritional "science" someone decided that fat was bad for you. So fat bad, everything else (simplifying greatly here of course) relatively good. We talked about cholesterol as well, but then found that, okay, there's two types of cholesterol, HDL and LDL. Then there were three (HDL, LDL, VLDL). Then there were more than that. And triglycerides. And. And. And. And then some today even question the understanding of cholesterol as itself a "bad" thing. Meaning lowering the number of the bad ones might help to some extent, but the bigger question may in fact be that the high LDL number is itself a marker of a vastly larger thing that has to be addressed in order to restore "good health". And it goes on.

But some arguing these things at every point along the line are passionate about their views. Those defending the "original" hypothesis (which itself is in flux) and those arguing the paradigm shift (no matter how small or how large). The fact is that oftentimes those arguing the original hypothesis often don't have a terminology or "space" in the theory for the new detail.

Consider the advent of relativity theory. One thing that was argued passionately was the idea of the so-called "ether wind". It was assumed it was a sort of "background" "stuff" that light passed through in otherwise "empty" space. After all, light was a wave and something has to be "transmitting" that wave. A wave in water is there because of the displacement of the water. A wave in air is there because of the energy travelling through the medium of the air. So in empty space, what was the light traveling through? Well, they assumed something called ether. And its defenders were many. Einstein and others dropped the idea and added new ideas along with many things that were, at the time, totally counter intuitive. It made for crazy talk like the light being shone from a planet being measured as traveling at the same speed as the light traveling from the nosecone of a rocket travelling at fantastic speeds. How can both be right? Then there was the twin paradox. And other things that are frankly givens today, accepted, understood, because the larger context and vocabulary now exists to allow it's understanding. And they've finally managed to drop things that were sometimes more simple or other things that were vastly too complex.

And in the end Einstein himself had trouble with quantum mechanics falling back on his comment that he didn't believe that "God played with dice". It was pretty much a settled matter when he said it which shows just how powerful that web of belief we have can be.

Today we have those doing "functional" fitness where the understanding of exercise is changing dramatically. They don't focus on individual muscles but long "chains" of connections in order to develop what they might want to call "real" strength rather than the pumped up strength of the weight lifter. Consider the weight lifting young man who had trouble moving around bales of hay with an older, thinner, lighter, wiry gentleman who had been doing it all his life (that was me years ago trying to keep up with a relative). I was "stronger" in many conventional senses. But he moved those things like they weren't there. I could bench press vastly more than him. I could squat more. But away from the weight set he could do things all day long that killed me. Because he used his body differently for the task at hand.

Some guys out there on the circuit are talking about different ways of moving, different ways of using the body, etc. Yes, in a weird cop-out sort of way you can just say it is better athleticism if you define athleticism in a totally trivial and overly general fashion. But then you just used a useless definition to avoid the reality. The point here is to to expand that conversation by developing better models.

I think there are all sorts of things going on in this training with a variety of effects. And probably vastly more than I currently can grok. I think there is a very real move towards learning to relax entire chains of connections to allow "just enough" tension and a chain-long even use of the entire chain rather than the tension in small parts overriding and unbalancing the whole thing. So in one sense it's "just" using your body more efficiently. Sure. But it is *really* hard to do. And some of these guys are offering up training exercises to help you do just that. There are exercises for developing awareness of each point along the chain so you can learn to relax or use even the smallest little thing up to the entire chain. Then there are ideas of "counter-balancing" these long connected chains to allow the person to utilize their entire body for the smallest of movement. To "punch" using virtually every part of the body. To remain solid by using the entire body in a counter-balanced, massively complex structure. And then there's muscle activation. What is "let your ki flow" really mean? And relaxation? How about considering the idea of learning to in a sense "activate" all the muscles, including counter-balancing muscles, so they're primed to move already (ki extending) yet keeping them relaxed at the same time. In other words being able to "connect" the muscles up through a sort of awareness and "feel" so they're ready to move instantaneously when you decide to move. Not through dynamic tension (one holding the other back) but through already having them in balance, activated, relaxed but "connected up".

Okay, I've gone on long enough. I've even avoided the very popular notion of fascia (which I think might be a red herring of sorts). And I've avoided bigger pictures of breath (can that help you become aware and connected in the large muscles especially in the chest and stomach/back and control more of that?). I've also avoiding a very large part of the notion of "reading" the attacker's structure and movement through a relaxed connection and how that might be aided by a relaxed, connected internal body.

All these things could be "waved away" as simply "good athletics". But I think this is a cop out as it misses the point that if it's not being trained directly, are you really doing it? And to say "we already do it" misses the point that maybe you do, but you have only tapped in to a tiny bit of it. The question then becomes if this stuff does work, is valuable, and adds, then maybe there is more there than some expect. And frankly it's all abstract and even if you accept some of it of course there issues of degrees. So many can say "I already do that!" and be correct in some sense of degree. But then what if you meet up with someone on the mat who greatly expands your understanding of the higher limit by moving so quickly and so powerfully that it seems to defy experience?

So I do think discussion is good. But the problem is that both sides tend to want to discuss it in context of their own existing "web of belief" (look up W.V. Quine for this reference). That web can be robust all the way to very fragile. Sometimes it's good for it to be robust, sometimes, not so good. And things get shoehorned in to the existing web because too many other things depend on the existing structure. Then add in to this that in order to understand whether the power is there or not requires actually feeling it. Video is deceptive. Photos don't really help. But once you're there in person you can decide if there's something there beyond what you've felt before. And you can try to counter it, try to get over it, try to do it yourself. And you find out in a second whether you're really "already doing that".

I personally think more will come of this as "athletics" has been slowly looking more and more at these things. Runners being taught to rotate their hands slightly at the top of the arc to better connect to the back leg to help it "spring" forward more. Pilates training emphasizing longer chains. Functional fitness doing the same. And given the acceptance of "functional" fitness (fitness training that is tied to specific tasks or for generalized, overall fitness) might also be relevant to certain types of martial arts (learning to use the body differently to allow you to more easily unbalance an attacker rather than just toss a bale of hay).

Now all that said there is also the point that some of this is likely totally irrelevant to many people. Aikido itself is loosely defined as the various directions, off-shoots, etc. all went in their own directions. And whatever the training is today is what it is today. And there are those who rather like and enjoy exactly where it is today whether it has these things or not. In other words, the meta question of whether this stuff *should* be there is yet another issue to get passionate about. And frankly that issue reminds me of the old saw about trying to teach a pig to sing. And no insult is intended as I'll put myself in the role of the pig. Things have evolved and maybe this stuff really is totally irrelevant to many people. And maybe it is totally and completely critical to others. So be it. Tis why I often shrug and walk away from guys who insist on reframing what I've told them of my experiences to fit their understandings then waving it away. Different web, different experiences. And if that person isn't willing to get out there and actually experience and instead just wants to discuss it from a position of ignorance, well, fine, but much of this will be lost on those who've not experienced it at the higher levels. Of course maybe it is all smoke and mirrors as well. But too often the discussions are like talking to a 12-year-old Nascar fanatic about how to drive a car. Yeah, well, Junior, you've read lots of books. Let's see how you do when you finally get behind the wheel.

For those interested, get on the mat with those who apparently can do. If you find value, great, pursue it. For those not interested, well, what's the big deal? Yeah, there's going to be enthusiastic folk out there saying "this is the bestest stuff evvvvver!". Ignore them because they're talking about themselves. For those wondering somewhere in between, well, if you get a chance take a look. If not, that's fine too. Make the judgement yourself.

I think this stuff is going to invariably influence a lot of people. Just like the warm, fuzzy new age stuff influenced a lot of Aikido in the 60's and 70's (for better or worse). And Aikido is going to become even more varied as a result. It's okay, that's how things go.

So get used to it.

End of sermon for the day. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Oh, and I didn't bother proofreading this. I just started typing. All apologies for any mistakes and silliness.

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Old 11-18-2012, 09:27 AM   #6
Gary David
 
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Okay loosen your belt. I'm feelin' chatty again...

I think there are all sorts of things going on in this training with a variety of effects. And probably vastly more than I currently can grok. I think there is a very real move towards learning to relax entire chains of connections to allow "just enough" tension and a chain-long even use of the entire chain rather than the tension in small parts overriding and unbalancing the whole thing. So in one sense it's "just" using your body more efficiently. Sure. But it is *really* hard to do. And some of these guys are offering up training exercises to help you do just that. There are exercises for developing awareness of each point along the chain so you can learn to relax or use even the smallest little thing up to the entire chain. Then there are ideas of "counter-balancing" these long connected chains to allow the person to utilize their entire body for the smallest of movement. To "punch" using virtually every part of the body. To remain solid by using the entire body in a counter-balanced, massively complex structure. And then there's muscle activation. What is "let your ki flow" really mean? And relaxation? How about considering the idea of learning to in a sense "activate" all the muscles, including counter-balancing muscles, so they're primed to move already (ki extending) yet keeping them relaxed at the same time. In other words being able to "connect" the muscles up through a sort of awareness and "feel" so they're ready to move instantaneously when you decide to move. Not through dynamic tension (one holding the other back) but through already having them in balance, activated, relaxed but "connected up".
Keith You and I both have experienced a number of folks who have extended the boundaries in these areas who are willing to share their approach as well as their personalities. Several of them I still have close contact with....must be the similar personalities.

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Now all that said there is also the point that some of this is likely totally irrelevant to many people. Aikido itself is loosely defined as the various directions, off-shoots, etc. all went in their own directions. And whatever the training is today is what it is today. And there are those who rather like and enjoy exactly where it is today whether it has these things or not. ................... Things have evolved and maybe this stuff really is totally irrelevant to many people. And maybe it is totally and completely critical to others. So be it. Tis why I often shrug and walk away from guys who insist on reframing what I've told them of my experiences to fit their understandings then waving it away. Different web, different experiences. And if that person isn't willing to get out there and actually experience and instead just wants to discuss it from a position of ignorance, well, fine, but much of this will be lost on those who've not experienced it at the higher levels.
Over the years I have been involved I have met others who I shared special moments where I could not understand how what had happened happened...and these folks didn't talk to it or share the ways to work towards the skills/understanding/whatever needed for me to reproduce what had taken place past the idea of coming to training everyday. I am not talking about impressive timing or blending as most think of it here, rather unexplainable things like what might be called destabilizing me before I attacked in a way that would not allow me to set to attack.....a situation that cleared like a light turning off. I have also been moved off when I know I shouldn't have been without understanding how this is been done. What it did do for me was to drive me to look more closely at what was out there.....and look for alternatives to finding what I was looking for to....I got out and felt it.

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
For those interested, get on the mat with those who apparently can do. If you find value, great, pursue it. For those not interested, well, what's the big deal? Yeah, there's going to be enthusiastic folk out there saying "this is the bestest stuff evvvvver!". Ignore them because they're talking about themselves. For those wondering somewhere in between, well, if you get a chance take a look. If not, that's fine too. Make the judgement yourself.

I think this stuff is going to invariably influence a lot of people. Just like the warm, fuzzy new age stuff influenced a lot of Aikido in the 60's and 70's (for better or worse). And Aikido is going to become even more varied as a result. It's okay, that's how things go.

So get used to it.
This I agree with.......Thanks for taking the time to write all of this.....

Gary
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:28 AM   #7
Krystal Locke
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

The problem for me is when folks have similar experiences but they ascribe very different meanings to the experience. This seems to happen a lot around IP stuff. There seems to be three responses about the same experience. Science wants to understand and explain so the experience can be used. Religion wants to make it all special and magic so the experiencer can feel good. And the other, I dont have a name for, just isn't curious about the experience at all.

I am a scientist, at least as far as the IP experience goes. I am personally rather anti-religious in general because it tends to favor exclusivity and deny inconvenient reality. And the third, nameless, frame of reference really confuses and scares me. At least the other two keep the conversation going.

I also see a troubling undercurrent of possible profit motive in the "It Has to be Felt" assertion. I think Graham C was touching on this a while back. I think some of the IHTBF is about using IP as a limited commodity, some of it is a religious clinging to exclusive specialness, and some of it is a bald lack of ability in some of the practitioners to put the experience into useful terms.

Yes, of course direct experience is important. That's why we sent folks to the moon. It shows that it CAN be done. Sometimes we dont get much more hard data than that, though. The experience isn't worth much to me unless I can get repeatable, verifiable data. If something "different" happens to me, I'm not going to suddenly adopt the religious point of view. "I can't explain it" is not equal to "It cannot be explained". I will find the person who can explain it, or I will develop my explanatory skills. But I will always remain interested.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:50 AM   #8
Chris Li
 
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

Quote:
Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
The problem for me is when folks have similar experiences but they ascribe very different meanings to the experience. This seems to happen a lot around IP stuff. There seems to be three responses about the same experience. Science wants to understand and explain so the experience can be used. Religion wants to make it all special and magic so the experiencer can feel good. And the other, I dont have a name for, just isn't curious about the experience at all.

I am a scientist, at least as far as the IP experience goes. I am personally rather anti-religious in general because it tends to favor exclusivity and deny inconvenient reality. And the third, nameless, frame of reference really confuses and scares me. At least the other two keep the conversation going.

I also see a troubling undercurrent of possible profit motive in the "It Has to be Felt" assertion. I think Graham C was touching on this a while back. I think some of the IHTBF is about using IP as a limited commodity, some of it is a religious clinging to exclusive specialness, and some of it is a bald lack of ability in some of the practitioners to put the experience into useful terms.

Yes, of course direct experience is important. That's why we sent folks to the moon. It shows that it CAN be done. Sometimes we dont get much more hard data than that, though. The experience isn't worth much to me unless I can get repeatable, verifiable data. If something "different" happens to me, I'm not going to suddenly adopt the religious point of view. "I can't explain it" is not equal to "It cannot be explained". I will find the person who can explain it, or I will develop my explanatory skills. But I will always remain interested.
I haven't seen anybody who's actually doing IP describe it in religious terms on Aikiweb - so I'm not sure exactly where that comes in.

Similarly, there is no one posting on Aikiweb who's making any money out of this stuff - or is really even intending to make any out of this stuff (outside of recovering some basic expenses), so can we put the "profit motive" thing to bed once and for all?

Out of the people training Aikido on Aikiweb, regular conventional Aikido, 99% of them are paying or taking money for what they're doing. Some of them have published videos and books, many of them teach seminars for money. Morihei Ueshiba taught for money. Why is it that none of them are impugned for a "profit motive"?

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-18-2012, 10:59 AM   #9
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

Krystal,
IMO, one of the big problems behind people ascribing different meanings to their first or early hands-on encounters with IP and aiki, is that they just don't have any benchmark to compare it to yet. If you read some of the accounts of first meetings with Sagawa (student of Sokaku Takeda/Daito-ryu) or his student, Kimura, you'll get the "he just lightly touched me and I found myself on the floor across the room" or "my spine felt like it was being pulled from behind me" kind of response.

IME, it takes repeated exposure, with deliberate slowing down or parsing out of application by the teacher, for a person to start to pick up an intuitive feel with his or her body. The teacher being able to articulate what is being done definitely helps accelerate the learning process and subsequently allows the student to cognitively understand what is going on, and to explain it to others in turn, but it is quite possible to pick up on things intuitively, by "feel" if the teacher parses out what he/she is doing and lets the student experience it.

If a person doesn't have a chance to parse out what he/she is feeling in all dimensions, it's too easy to write it off as a mystical experience. After all, we use "mystical" to fill in the gaps where we lack understanding and can't explain something.

Until recently, most Asian teachers, and quite a few Western ones with some skills, were very closed-lips about sharing any specific training methods for internal skills. They either intentionally did not articulate, or they lacked the words and could not articulate what they were doing.

Now there is a handful of individuals who have the skills, very exacting teaching methods to develop the skills, and the willingness to share. It takes the mystique out of the process. Most of these people seem do so at minimal cost, mostly to cover their expenses. Some have even taught for NO monetary return, offering an open hand to people with no money but the sincere wish to learn. These teachers are dispensing exacting training methods and information to others. Would we begrudge them their expenses or their livelihood? If a violinist wants to train in a master class with a virtuoso violinist-teacher, would he or she expect to get that training for free?

Why would it be any different for knowledge we value in another discipline, including this one?
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:29 PM   #10
gregstec
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I haven't seen anybody who's actually doing IP describe it in religious terms on Aikiweb - so I'm not sure exactly where that comes in.

Similarly, there is no one posting on Aikiweb who's making any money out of this stuff - or is really even intending to make any out of this stuff (outside of recovering some basic expenses), so can we put the "profit motive" thing to bed once and for all?

Out of the people training Aikido on Aikiweb, regular conventional Aikido, 99% of them are paying or taking money for what they're doing. Some of them have published videos and books, many of them teach seminars for money. Morihei Ueshiba taught for money. Why is it that none of them are impugned for a "profit motive"?

Best,

Chris
What Chris said - talk of religion is just not something that comes up when we are training IP - and, those that have a legitimate financial hardship and are sincere in their training, arrangements are made so the money for them is absolutely no issue.

Greg
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:31 PM   #11
Alfonso
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

I have a similar thing to report to what Joep (jss) did. Researching into Chinese arts you can find that internal / external is not about whether internal strength is used or not. It seems to be more of a hair splitting about whether the dantien is the main focus or not. And then all the other components in the mix are used secondarily or differently depending on that.

If the art does not use qi then it can't be external

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:29 PM   #12
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

Quote:
Alfonso Adriasola wrote: View Post
If the art does not use qi then it can't be external
Sorry, just had to quote this for truth.

Question: if from a Chinese perspective e.g. Western boxing is neither internal nor external, then how would they categorize it?
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:33 PM   #13
jonreading
 
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

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Michael Varin wrote: View Post

I wonder if it isn't simply the way this discussion is framed, and the meanings that people place on the terminology being used that is causing the problems for those on both sides?

What makes this interesting? What causes people to be so passionate and persistent about it? Where do you think the divide really lies?

If you could ideally frame this dicussion, how would you do it?
Yes, I think the foundation of the argument is inherently flawed by the participation of persons who are not educated in the terminology or principles of the subject matter. This includes me. As a result, the argument uses uncommon language and incorrect information on which the argument dialogue is made. As an observation, I think this issue is improving.

The material is relevant because the potential impact upon refining kata, improving martial validity and empowering the artist is significant. I believe the problem lies with the fact that 1. Many do not believe the aikido kata requires refinement. 2. Many do not consider the validity of aikido as a martial art to be important. 3. Many already consider aikido to empower its practitioners.

The internal strength movement is a counter-culture movement. Its a minority group trying to raise awareness of training that can improve aikido. But that means first admitting there is something wrong with aikido (or at least room for improvement).

I am grateful for the work the internal people have done. From the people I have worked with, I believe internal power to be as significant as to change the way you do aikido. Internal power training will shake your aikido to its core and cause you to rethink everything you know about aikido. I believe this to be the foundation of the anxiety in the dialogue. Not everyone is ready to receive that message yet; some never will be ready to receive that message.

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Old 11-19-2012, 01:54 PM   #14
Cliff Judge
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
The internal strength movement is a counter-culture movement. Its a minority group trying to raise awareness of training that can improve aikido. But that means first admitting there is something wrong with aikido (or at least room for improvement).
Why have people happily drifted from Aikido to other arts, or even cross-trained in other arts alongside Aikido, for decades, and not felt the need to go on the internet and claim they have found "the true Aikido" and that the various Toms, Dicks and Harrys have to admit that the entire art is flawed?
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:00 PM   #15
Chris Li
 
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Why have people happily drifted from Aikido to other arts, or even cross-trained in other arts alongside Aikido, for decades, and not felt the need to go on the internet and claim they have found "the true Aikido" and that the various Toms, Dicks and Harrys have to admit that the entire art is flawed?
Because they're going to what are clearly other arts - no problem with that, by the way.

This stuff, on the other hand, I don't consider to be any kind of a drift at all - that's what we're saying.

And it's not as if people are suddenly appearing on the internet to shout their wares. The discussions that brought this stuff out began on the internet and have been going on for more than fifteen years, against much resistance - much of it coming from me!

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-19-2012, 02:01 PM   #16
grondahl
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Why have people happily drifted from Aikido to other arts, or even cross-trained in other arts alongside Aikido, for decades, and not felt the need to go on the internet and claim they have found "the true Aikido" and that the various Toms, Dicks and Harrys have to admit that the entire art is flawed?
Oh, but they have. From "Aiki comes from the sword" as do koryu for decent aikido (and aikidoka replied: We already do that), to "Aikido is for when you attack somebody with a weapon and the poor bastard tries to survive by holding on to your wrist for a ridicusly long time".
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:59 PM   #17
HL1978
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Why have people happily drifted from Aikido to other arts, or even cross-trained in other arts alongside Aikido, for decades, and not felt the need to go on the internet and claim they have found "the true Aikido" and that the various Toms, Dicks and Harrys have to admit that the entire art is flawed?
I think I gave an explanation in post #2. Skeptics of those who go through the born again process or of Aiki as a subset of IS are free to disagree.

If you see the (martial) arts world in a fundamentally different way, you may want to show it with others, even if you don't have a full understanding.

Note: I am not a born again christian.
---------
Krystal,

I find the monetary angle kind of comical. Most people aren't going to fly out to someone else's dojo and teach a dojo for free. They would need to at least cover their costs. That being said, most of the IS people I have met will freely show what they know outside of seminars (if they're in the area), or invite people to check them out at their home dojos.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:24 AM   #18
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

There is no external or internal to discuss; they are both the same thing. Inseparable. If you separate them, you are definitely on the wrong track.

I didn't start to understand Aikido until I started Wing Chun. I didn't understand politics, though I read it for many years, even did an MA in it, until I started listening to Ron Paul about 5 years ago. Once I found Ron Paul I found myself becuase so much of what he says rings true with what I think/am. It doesn't matter to me what your politics is, it just matters to me that I know who I am and where I am. Wing Chun showed me that too and allowed me to understand Aikido, though other people - just like in politics - would have a very different journey, and I have no interest in their journey - just mine - because I am me. 'Understanding' is not a paradigm shift, it is just 'understanding'. Now, for me, I know what I want out of Aikido and I am busy trying to get it and improve it.

To talk of paradigm shift to me is to liken it to some kind of magic/relgion/esoteric chanting/belief rubbish. Everything we are chasing can be summed up in one word - skill.

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Old 11-20-2012, 07:19 AM   #19
Cliff Judge
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

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Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
I think I gave an explanation in post #2. Skeptics of those who go through the born again process or of Aiki as a subset of IS are free to disagree.
Yeah, I guess that works for me. Certain pharmaceuticals and brain injuries can have the same effect.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:41 AM   #20
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
To talk of paradigm shift to me is to liken it to some kind of magic/relgion/esoteric chanting/belief rubbish. Everything we are chasing can be summed up in one word - skill.
Well, two separate sets of skills.
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Old 11-20-2012, 07:47 AM   #21
Keith Larman
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

FWIW I think there is a lot projected on these discussions by some of the readers as well. The same happens in all areas where there are those who are, well, fanatically attached to what they do. If you're interested enough to be doing something for decades and posting in a place like this, you probably have some strong ideas about what you're doing.

So you see someone extolling the virtues of ________________ nonstop and in damned near every thread that can be even remotely connected to that topic. A sign of their level of interest for sure. And yeah, some can be pretty tenacious about it. And it can be frustrating seeing your version of ______________ called in to question and it is natural to disagree, debate, whatever. The problem, I think, is that it becomes personal. We see it as an attack on us, our motivations, our integrity even. I think the whole question asked elsewhere about "fearing power" is a not-subtle example of that.

In the end there are some interesting questions here. But given that Aikido is so many things to so many people today I see nothing wrong with those who are perfectly content with what they're doing now with how it evolved today in their particular case. And the enthusiasts need to back away a bit on those things. But that said, I think work being done by guys like Chris Li, for instance, where some of the translations of O-sensei are being reexamined to see if there is a different context within which to understand his words is quite valuable indeed. We can have the "academic" discussion separate from the "value of my training" discussion.

Part of the problem here, IMHO, is that some react to most any disagreement on the academic side as being naturally a challenge to what they are doing today, as if it is inauthentic, "unreal", or without value.

The reality, however, is that over time history tends to either "stabilize" in to the story long told *or* in the case of there being sufficient source material sometimes new scholarship brings new things to light. So I read Dr. Goldsbury's articles with relish and reread them again. Then I go over to Chris Li's site and read his thoughts and translations. Keep in mind things like this tend to have a subversive power over time and can be threatening even if it shouldn't be. In the long run, especially when there are extensive records, the truth tends to find a way to come out. It doesn't mean that what one sensei said 20 years ago isn't useful, it just means that maybe it was the best they had at the time. The next question then is to ask whether what you're doing today which may not be exactly what the founder intended is valuable *on its own*. And I think there is potentially a lot to value on its own out there. O-sensei wasn't the only one doing good stuff. It just might not be the same good stuff.

So enjoy the diversity and realize that not everyone does the same things. But then be honest with yourself about what you're doing and why. And then read posts by others generously applying the "consider the source" filter in your mind. It makes my reading here often vastly easier when I do that myself (not always successfully, however, I will admit).

Ramble over...

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Old 11-20-2012, 09:46 AM   #22
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Why have people happily drifted from Aikido to other arts, or even cross-trained in other arts alongside Aikido, for decades, and not felt the need to go on the internet and claim they have found "the true Aikido" and that the various Toms, Dicks and Harrys have to admit that the entire art is flawed?
Cliff-

First, we certainly have our fair share of armchair quarterbacks intent upon telling us what we are doing wrong. I am going to dismiss this group straight out because they are not competent to expound upon the validity of aikido.

Second, I think we also have our share of bastardization as cross-trainers bring exercises, techniques and others aspects of arts into aikido curriculum. I am going to dismiss this group because while the knowledge may be relevant and beneficial, it is not necessarily aikido.

Third, I think the internal group is trying to say, "Hey, you already have this stuff, you just are not paying attention to it." I think the reality is that many of our exercises and techniques are not done the same way it used to be done.

So, in answer to your comment, I think the internal group is trying to raise awareness to the fact that we could be doing this training without rocking the boat. However, that comes across as "let me tell you what's wrong with aikido." I do not personally think that is the message they wish to present. I think the forum in which that discussion is taking place (i.e. Internet) is not the best forum and has directly contributed to this miscommunication. I know several internal people who have integrated this training into aikido and if they did not tell you, you would not know it was "internal training".

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Old 11-20-2012, 10:05 AM   #23
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
Well, two separate sets of skills.
Why are they separate, and are they necessarily so?

When I think about martial arts globally, I really wonder about a few things.

Why is this internal stuff limited so strongly and for so long to one culture? Why so few, why so supposedly secret, why not well supported by science? Why didn't someone in Wales or The Northwest Territories or Brazil or Mali find and develop the same thing?
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:01 AM   #24
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

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Krystal Locke wrote: View Post

Why is this internal stuff limited so strongly and for so long to one culture? Why so few, why so supposedly secret, why not well supported by science? Why didn't someone in Wales or The Northwest Territories or Brazil or Mali find and develop the same thing?
constant wars and armed conflicts. i was from vietnam. vietnam history went back a bit over 2000 years (the US history is 300). out of that 2000 years, we didn't know peace for longer than 50 years at a stretch. the vietnamese first ruler was a woman who won the nation on the back of the war elephant. so while most western society where women still in the kitchen cooking and kniting, the vietnamese already decided the women role in combat, and that's over 2000 years ago (now consider that we, the US still haven't figure out the role of women in combat). so the question of how a smaller, weaker person can overcome a larger, stronger opponent has to come up sooner or later? advance weaponry is one of the answer. another answer is what if a smaller, weaker person can train to use his/her entire body to focus it for a strike or to divert a stronger person power and prevent said person from using it. Thus, you have the old saying (Asian old saying) of "4 ounces of force to direct/deflect a thousand pound". think of maneuver trusters of those huge rockets. the maneuver trusters are small and weak compared to the large gravity lifting rockets; however, those trusters can change the direction of the giant rocket. so the training has to take into account of less muscle mass, but focus on highly integrated body mechanism; and here is the key, it has to be controllable, i.e. change and adapt at will (read intent). and one other thing, the outer appearance didn't (shouldn't) change; thus cannot be copy by just looking at it. can't have bigger folks steal the secret or else they would have all the advantage. didn't one of the japanese teacher said not to teach the aiki secret to large white foreigners? so, you wondered why secret? when your life and your family lives depend on it, then mum is the word.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:32 AM   #25
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Re: Internal vs External -- The Discussion?

Quote:
Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
Why are they separate, and are they necessarily so?

When I think about martial arts globally, I really wonder about a few things.

Why is this internal stuff limited so strongly and for so long to one culture? Why so few, why so supposedly secret, why not well supported by science? Why didn't someone in Wales or The Northwest Territories or Brazil or Mali find and develop the same thing?
To build further upon what Phi Truong's post.

Your question can open HUGE diverging lines of discussion and analysis, such as theories put forth in Guns, Germs and Steel and the evolution of society. Philosophical differences that developed between the Occident vs Orient - i.e. Cartesian Duality that developed in the West versus the philosophies of looking inward such as Buddhism, Taosim, Yoga's etc.

Ryan Schoelerman

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