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Old 04-05-2013, 04:54 AM   #1
robin_jet_alt
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My first IS experience

I recently spent 3 days training with William Gleason, predominantly looking at IS as is often described in these forums. I admit I had been curious about what Dan Harden and Chris Li et al had been talking about for some time, and I was surprised and grateful to have this opportunity. I just want to share a few of my impressions.

Firstly, I want to say that what I saw and felt was exceptional. I think this is what aikido is all about. I guess I'm ready to drink the cool aid.

Having said that, I don't think this is quite as revolutionary as some would make out. I have certainly felt and been taught elements of this sort of thing by some of my previous teachers, but not as clearly and systematically explained. And not always done as well as this.
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:00 AM   #2
Marc Abrams
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Re: My first IS experience

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
I recently spent 3 days training with William Gleason, predominantly looking at IS as is often described in these forums. I admit I had been curious about what Dan Harden and Chris Li et al had been talking about for some time, and I was surprised and grateful to have this opportunity. I just want to share a few of my impressions.

Firstly, I want to say that what I saw and felt was exceptional. I think this is what aikido is all about. I guess I'm ready to drink the cool aid.

Having said that, I don't think this is quite as revolutionary as some would make out. I have certainly felt and been taught elements of this sort of thing by some of my previous teachers, but not as clearly and systematically explained. And not always done as well as this.
Robin:

I am glad that you had a positive experience with those two great teachers. I do not think that you will EVER hear from either one of them that what is being taught is revolutionary. You will hear then talk about how old these teaching are. I think one of the things that makes Dan unique is in his ability to systematically organize and teach this material in a cogent package. Dan helps me pick up elements that I see in my teacher, that I was not able to fully comprehend before Dan's teaching. My seniors see the major changes in what I do and are now beginning to attend Dan's seminars as well. That about says it all....

Keep up the solo work!

Marc Abrams
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:28 AM   #3
phitruong
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Re: My first IS experience

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
Having said that, I don't think this is quite as revolutionary as some would make out. I have certainly felt and been taught elements of this sort of thing by some of my previous teachers, but not as clearly and systematically explained. And not always done as well as this.
the operating word is "systematically". i had my share of seeing bits and pieces here and there in aikido, but not systematically explained or taught. these IS folks, like sigman and harden, came up with a system to teach folks, and none of those mumbo jumbo "keep the one point", "extend ki", "move your inside" and so on and so forth (ya, tohei's aikido folks are going to have a hissy fit with what i just said, and my respond is "hakuna matata").

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:15 AM   #4
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: My first IS experience

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
the operating word is "systematically". i had my share of seeing bits and pieces here and there in aikido, but not systematically explained or taught. these IS folks, like sigman and harden, came up with a system to teach folks, and none of those mumbo jumbo "keep the one point", "extend ki", "move your inside" and so on and so forth (ya, tohei's aikido folks are going to have a hissy fit with what i just said, and my respond is "hakuna matata").
I don't think Tohei Sensei's four principles were ever intended to be the entirety of how/what he taught. Rather a simple condensed check list of things to make sure you're getting right. Of course such a check list is largely useless unless you have enough knowledge to know what 'keeping one point' really is, the knowledge of this therefore cannot come from the check list but must come from elsewhere. When I was first learning I found it hugely annoying that I wasn't being given good explanations of how to 'keep one point', but they came in time, partly through direct instruction, partly through careful observation on my part. If the IS gurus have got a good handle on explaining the how, I say fair play to them, wish I'd had that 15 years ago. But I got it in the end.

As usual though, somone who it seems has barely scrathced the surface of ki aikido is maligning it . Let me take a wild stab here and ask you to describe unbendable arm with particular emphasis on the increasing levels of difficulty of that test. What's that I hear you say? Isn't there only one test for unbendable arm? Nope, there are levels of test that get harder to pass. But you knew that right?

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:30 AM   #5
Marc Abrams
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Re: My first IS experience

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
I don't think Tohei Sensei's four principles were ever intended to be the entirety of how/what he taught. Rather a simple condensed check list of things to make sure you're getting right. Of course such a check list is largely useless unless you have enough knowledge to know what 'keeping one point' really is, the knowledge of this therefore cannot come from the check list but must come from elsewhere. When I was first learning I found it hugely annoying that I wasn't being given good explanations of how to 'keep one point', but they came in time, partly through direct instruction, partly through careful observation on my part. If the IS gurus have got a good handle on explaining the how, I say fair play to them, wish I'd had that 15 years ago. But I got it in the end.

As usual though, somone who it seems has barely scrathced the surface of ki aikido is maligning it . Let me take a wild stab here and ask you to describe unbendable arm with particular emphasis on the increasing levels of difficulty of that test. What's that I hear you say? Isn't there only one test for unbendable arm? Nope, there are levels of test that get harder to pass. But you knew that right?
Mike:

Who do you think is maligning Ki Aikido? I do not know why you keep on harping on this same subject matter. What Tohei Sensei did and what O'Sensei did were not entirely the same. What Dan teaches goes beyond what Tohei Sensei did, and is more in line with what O'Sensei did and spoke about. If you ask how might I know that? Simply look at who my teacher is. Imaizumi Shizuo Sensei had direct experience with both of those giants. What has interested me a lot is how my teacher's Aikido has evolved over the years and has changed in a manner in which his movements have become closer to what I see in O'Sensei videos. He hile still keeps the same fundamentals that he learned from Tohei Sensei intact. Dan's teaching provides me with a way to systematically observe and learn what it is that I am observing and being taught. That is a rare gift that Dan has.

All of that being said, no one is demeaning Tohei Sensei's contributions. He was a giant and made major contributions to our art.

Marc Abrams
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:58 AM   #6
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: My first IS experience

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Who do you think is maligning Ki Aikido?
The post I was directly responding to, which presumably you've chosen to ignore in favour of attacking me.

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
I do not know why you keep on harping on this same subject matter.
I wouldn't classify 5 posts on aikiweb in 5 years as harping on. I had a valid point concerning Tohei's 4 principles which was worth sharing, you don't have to agree with it.

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:58 AM   #7
Marc Abrams
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Re: My first IS experience

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
The post I was directly responding to, which presumably you've chosen to ignore in favour of attacking me.

I wouldn't classify 5 posts on aikiweb in 5 years as harping on. I had a valid point concerning Tohei's 4 principles which was worth sharing, you don't have to agree with it.
Mike:

I am responding to this thread ONLY. There is no response on this thread that directly attacks you. Phi was talking about things said in Ki Society and in the ASU. I have heard those very same things myself. His comment accurately describes a teaching paradigm that does not efficiently and effectively convey important information. Nobody is saying that Tohei's 4 principles are not worth sharing. Nobody is saying that they are inaccurate. I think that Tohei's teaching and principles have a lot of merit. I would simply say to you "RELAX"! We are primarily in agreement about many things. Someone suggested that you try and train directly with Dan or Mike. I second that suggestion. You are trying to defend Tohei Sensei to people who think very highly of his contributions to Aikido.

Cordially,

Marc Abrams
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:05 AM   #8
Mert Gambito
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Re: My first IS experience

Robin,

And, keep in mind, Bill Gleason is still on the uptake regarding his training with Dan (he's been at it "just" five years, I believe): as capable as he is now, extrapolate five more years forward. . . . . .

Yes, the method for teaching centuries-old body skills is systematic, logical, comprehensive -- and it would be nice if more people did what you finally did, which is take the time to investigate it first hand (though, since people outside of Dan's dojo are still relatively new to the system, getting mat time with Dan remains, IMO, essential to understanding the system; and Bill continues to recommend this as well).

Marc's admonition regarding solo training can't be overemphasized.

Last edited by Mert Gambito : 04-05-2013 at 10:09 AM.

Mert
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:40 AM   #9
phitruong
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Re: My first IS experience

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
I wouldn't classify 5 posts on aikiweb in 5 years as harping on.
a priest taking a vow of silence that he would only speak two words every two years. after the first two years, he met with the abbot. the abbot asked, "after two years, what would you like to say?"
priest said, "robe small". two years went by, and the same meeting between the priest and the abbot. the abbot asked, "what would you like to say after these two years?" the priest said, "bed hard". another two years went by, and the abbot asked him the same question. the priest said, "foods cold". another two years dragged by, and the abbot met the priest and asked the standard question. the priest said, "i quit". the abbot then replied, "no surprise there. all you do is complaining."

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:47 AM   #10
phitruong
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Re: My first IS experience

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
As usual though, somone who it seems has barely scrathced the surface of ki aikido is maligning it . Let me take a wild stab here and ask you to describe unbendable arm with particular emphasis on the increasing levels of difficulty of that test. What's that I hear you say? Isn't there only one test for unbendable arm? Nope, there are levels of test that get harder to pass. But you knew that right?
yup. all the way out to the pinky finger. have you try laying down on your stomach with arms straight out like superman flying pose. then have someone doing push up on your wrists while you do kokyu ho? we can do this one-upmanship like this for awhile if you like, but it won't get us anywhere.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:46 PM   #11
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Re: My first IS experience

Hi folks,

I'm going to quote the "AikiWeb Rules of Conduct" that was posted a few months ago, with the pertinent section in bold:

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1) Do not define "aikido" by using only a subset of its aspects. Do not disparage or dismiss people for their choice of training methods or teachers. Do not disparage the perceived "shortcomings" of other training methods.
Let's keep the discussions here lively and constructive.

Thank you.

-- Jun

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Old 04-05-2013, 03:12 PM   #12
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Re: My first IS experience

My early background was in Ki Society. Insights into its practice from biomechanics and more recently IS have really helped understand more about what Tohei's pedagogy was all about (i don't presume full understanding though) and to see that it was more than an egoic tool/ metaphysical practice. Looking at something like unbendable arm I got first the structural strength aspects, then that 'there is no ki test' - uke is testing nage adn then the IS perspective helped me see the functional purpose of the many tests and taiso in the art. It was all there all the time, i just wasn't ready/ didn't have the right guide

Much thanks to the IS community for the baby steps i've been able to take thus far ( rambling thoughts and acknowledgements )

best

Daniel James, Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
ph 0413 001 844, 1593 Logan Rd, Mt.Gravatt, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:19 PM   #13
Gary David
 
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Re: My first IS experience

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
I don't think Tohei Sensei's four principles were ever intended to be the entirety of how/what he taught. Rather a simple condensed check list of things to make sure you're getting right. Of course such a check list is largely useless unless you have enough knowledge to know what 'keeping one point' really is, the knowledge of this therefore cannot come from the check list but must come from elsewhere.
I would agree with this....so how did you acquire the knowledge to know what keeping one point really is? Could you provide your definition of what the reality of one point is and what was the training methodology that help you get there?

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
:
When I was first learning I found it hugely annoying that I wasn't being given good explanations of how to 'keep one point', but they came in time, partly through direct instruction, partly through careful observation on my part. If the IS gurus have got a good handle on explaining the how, I say fair play to them, wish I'd had that 15 years ago. But I got it in the end.
As i have noted prior I took a limited amount of direct ukemi from Tohei Sensei back in the mid to later 70's on the occasions that he came to our dojo in Southern California to teach a regular class, I also took ukemi from several of the instructors coming in with him or on other occasions. We were told to keep one point, relax completely, weight underside, and extend ki.... the only training for that was the ki tests......ki testing is a results test showing if you have any of these or have lost any of them, they should not have been the only teaching tool. There were no explanations. I agree that observation, along with correct analysis, is very helpful when worked by by someone who is skilled in both...leading to moments of clarity...which can lead to understanding.

Direct transmission is a major part of obtaining a handle on all of this, feeling the correct realization of of the underlying principles supporting movement, IP or any other aspect of this or any art is major. How was the direct transmission (instruction) provide to you? What form did it take?

I would offer some observations about Tohei Sensei again the backdrop of others tho' I am thinking it does not meet the forum rules

Thanks
Gary
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:22 PM   #14
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Re: My first IS experience

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Daniel James wrote: View Post
more recently IS have really helped understand more about what Tohei's pedagogy was all about (i don't presume full understanding though)
I think I pretty much feel the same way. There have been lots of interesting things said here on aikiweb that've made me look at it again from a different point of view, that and things I've gone and done in my dojo and elsewhere have contributed greatly. When you know what to look for it makes it so much more interesting

Sadly on aikiweb it's near impossible to have a viewpoint on this unless you've trained with Mike Sigman or Dan Harden. I think this is unfortunate as it excludes a great many people from joining in the discussion for no particularly good reason. While I'm quite sure that what they have to offer is excellent (I was looking for it in various places outside and inside of aikido about ten or so years ago) they aren't the only game in town,

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:32 PM   #15
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Re: My first IS experience

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
I think I pretty much feel the same way. There have been lots of interesting things said here on aikiweb that've made me look at it again from a different point of view, that and things I've gone and done in my dojo and elsewhere have contributed greatly. When you know what to look for it makes it so much more interesting

Sadly on aikiweb it's near impossible to have a viewpoint on this unless you've trained with Mike Sigman or Dan Harden. I think this is unfortunate as it excludes a great many people from joining in the discussion for no particularly good reason. While I'm quite sure that what they have to offer is excellent (I was looking for it in various places outside and inside of aikido about ten or so years ago) they aren't the only game in town,
Hope we can meet up when i am in the UK next year, be interested in your CMA insights.

dan

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ph 0413 001 844, 1593 Logan Rd, Mt.Gravatt, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:44 PM   #16
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Re: My first IS experience

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Gary Welborn wrote: View Post
I would agree with this....so how did you acquire the knowledge to know what keeping one point really is? Could you provide your definition of what the reality of one point is and what was the training methodology that help you get there?
That's a very awesome question, I've spent the last year or so trying to codify it and not really got a good handle on it, at least not one that satisfies me at any rate. If I ever do I'll prob post something here.

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:45 PM   #17
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Re: My first IS experience

Quote:
Daniel James wrote: View Post
Hope we can meet up when i am in the UK next year, be interested in your CMA insights.

dan
Ha, I just said the same thing about coming to oz at the end of this year in another thread

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Old 04-05-2013, 03:53 PM   #18
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Re: My first IS experience

Thanks guys,

Unfortunately, I don't think I will have the opportunity to train with Dan or Mike for a while. I was really lucky that Bill Gleason happened to be in the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, I still don't have confidence that I am doing the right thing with solo exercises. I will try to do what I can, but I still don't think I know what I'm doing.
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Old 04-05-2013, 04:32 PM   #19
Mert Gambito
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Re: My first IS experience

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
Thanks guys,

Unfortunately, I don't think I will have the opportunity to train with Dan or Mike for a while. I was really lucky that Bill Gleason happened to be in the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, I still don't have confidence that I am doing the right thing with solo exercises. I will try to do what I can, but I still don't think I know what I'm doing.
See if you can get together with Steve Seymour and Michael Dreyer from time to time. They came out to Hawaii to train with Dan, and attended back-to-back workshops on Oahu and the Big Island, so they have a pretty solid introduction to the methodology.

Dan's reportedly open to the idea of holding a workshop in Australia at some point.

Mert
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Old 04-05-2013, 04:45 PM   #20
Mert Gambito
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Re: My first IS experience

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
Sadly on aikiweb it's near impossible to have a viewpoint on this unless you've trained with Mike Sigman or Dan Harden. I think this is unfortunate as it excludes a great many people from joining in the discussion for no particularly good reason. While I'm quite sure that what they have to offer is excellent (I was looking for it in various places outside and inside of aikido about ten or so years ago) they aren't the only game in town,
Mike,

I'm genuinely interested in which other IP/IS methodologies you feel are worth investigating, since though I'm admittedly Dan-centric because of the close-coupling of Daito-ryu and Hakkoryu, I've found something of value in every methodology I've come across so far.

Dan and Mike are not the only games in town, but they have, more than most, expressly sought inroads to the aikido community; and their methodologies, while different from one another, remove the need for guesswork and interpretation (though the development of the ability to use intent in the prescribed manner is greater than just about anyone bargains for going in). I Liq Chuan is similarly systematic and geared toward a western audience.

Mert
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Old 04-05-2013, 05:29 PM   #21
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Re: My first IS experience

Quote:
Gary Welborn wrote: View Post
......ki testing is a results test showing if you have any of these or have lost any of them, they should not have been the only teaching tool.
Yes, Ki testing is a results test as you have described. However, Ki testing goes beyond results to being a development tool as well. Tohei's methodology has not stood still since the seventies. S. Maruyama sensei took Tohei's ideas and turned Ki testing into Ki exercises that train students to identify and enhance the physical and mental feelings associated with correct performance. As the feelings become more familiar and internalized the student is able to deal with greater applied force.

The catch phrases: "keep one point", "relax", etc are triggers used to evoke correct feeling. It's helpful for students who have not yet internalized mind/body coordination or who lose mind/body coordination during practice. The phrases themselves are just words if the associated mind/body skills aren't taken into account.

Ron

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Old 04-05-2013, 08:56 PM   #22
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Re: My first IS experience

Quote:
Mert Gambito wrote: View Post
See if you can get together with Steve Seymour and Michael Dreyer from time to time. They came out to Hawaii to train with Dan, and attended back-to-back workshops on Oahu and the Big Island, so they have a pretty solid introduction to the methodology.

Dan's reportedly open to the idea of holding a workshop in Australia at some point.
I've trained with Michael a few times. The Bill Gleason workshop was at his dojo. Unfortunately I have had run-ins with some others at that dojo (never had a problem with Michael), so I won't be training there on a regular basis. Still, some of his students train with us from time to time, and we are sharing ideas.
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:25 AM   #23
Mert Gambito
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Re: My first IS experience

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Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
I've trained with Michael a few times. The Bill Gleason workshop was at his dojo. Unfortunately I have had run-ins with some others at that dojo (never had a problem with Michael), so I won't be training there on a regular basis. Still, some of his students train with us from time to time, and we are sharing ideas.
OK, well, just keep in mind that if you're gonna drink Kool-Aid, make sure it's not too watered down.

Mert
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