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Old 01-19-2013, 09:22 PM   #1
RonRagusa
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Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

In this post I'll try to provide some insight into practices at our dojo that we refer to as internal training (Ki development) in an effort to address the main topic of this forum.

Ki development exercises help students learn how to: establish and enhance correct feeling associated with coordination of mind and body while stationary or in motion, strengthen the body core, increase awareness of moving from the center, handle load stressors while standing and moving, form meaningful connections with their partners' centers, move the body as an integrated unit… There's more but it should be clear from this partial list that these practices are more oriented to developing and strengthening the internal self than they are with throwing and/or applying joint locks that are the focus of waza.

We train with the idea of cooperative growth whereby students help one another to grow stronger by becoming familiar with correct feeling that is generated when mind and body are coordinated. Our approach is oriented towards helping students recognize how performing the exercise correctly feels within themselves. Once realized the feeling can, with practice, be replicated at will.

Our Ki development exercises fall within five broad categories: Solo, Partnered Stationary, Partnered Motion, Solo Weapons and Partnered Weapons.

Solo Ki exercises are primarily concerned with self-organization. The very simple movements enhance flexibility while challenging the mind to stay focused and not wander off with the body on automatic pilot.

Partnered Stationary and Partnered Motion Ki exercises involve two or, in some cases, more people. Some employ the application of force on nage to help reinforce correct feeling in nage while under load (aggression). In others the application of force on nage is used in order to reinforce correct feeling in nage while he/she is looking to move (resistance).

Weapons work, both solo and partnered, is designed to promote the feeling of total body integration and movement. This type of work is not concerned with the application of technique either with or against a weapon. The work is solely intended to condition the mind/body unit by increasing the complexity of the movement via the introduction of the bokken or jo staff. The forms we employ are created on the spot, practiced and then discarded. By constantly varying the forms we aim to prevent students from relying on rote movement to effect performance of the exercise.

I'm interested as to whether other Aikido folks purposely engage in internal training within the framework of their Aikido.

Ron

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Old 01-20-2013, 02:01 AM   #2
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

Hi Ron,
not as an immediate reply, but a follow up question to anybody who might have information: I have often heard that Tada Sensei has a complete system of body conditioning that he even teaches once a year for a week in La Spezia, Italy. I have only seen bits of it at a seminar with one of his students. Also, Kobayashi Hirokazu taught a system of bodywork which is an integral part of his tradition but I believe it can also be learned and practiced separately from aikido. Both these system are never heard of in the IS contex really (which might have to do with the fact that both these teachers do not have much of a presence in the US) - does anybody, maybe from France, Italy or Germany, have more detailed information? Or maybe Prof. Goldsbury on Tada Sensei?
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:31 PM   #3
Chris Li
 
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote: View Post
Hi Ron,
not as an immediate reply, but a follow up question to anybody who might have information: I have often heard that Tada Sensei has a complete system of body conditioning that he even teaches once a year for a week in La Spezia, Italy. I have only seen bits of it at a seminar with one of his students. Also, Kobayashi Hirokazu taught a system of bodywork which is an integral part of his tradition but I believe it can also be learned and practiced separately from aikido. Both these system are never heard of in the IS contex really (which might have to do with the fact that both these teachers do not have much of a presence in the US) - does anybody, maybe from France, Italy or Germany, have more detailed information? Or maybe Prof. Goldsbury on Tada Sensei?
Hiroshi Tada speaks a little bit about Ki no Renma in this article.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-22-2013, 03:46 PM   #4
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

Progressive Ki development comes from consistent training and Ki exercises done everyday.

Learning to first feel and then trust our centers requires constant reenforcement.

A student really starts to progress in Ki development when he or she makes the leap of relying on the principles rather than the muscle and mind power that most people rely on.

Once that huge leap has been made continual training will help the student develop a reliable way of moving that can be felt and then reclaimed when it is lost.

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Old 04-07-2013, 02:00 PM   #5
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
A student really starts to progress in Ki development when he or she makes the leap of relying on the principles rather than the muscle and mind power that most people rely on.
That's an awesome summation of ki development training IMO. Much (by no means all though) of what is discussed in terms of IS/IP is about training to get to this point. The common assertion to 'let the floor take the push test' or words to that effect is what Mary is saying as I understand it. The author Will Reed described it as (I don't have his book near me so I'm paraphrasing from memory) "Do this thing quickly in your mind and then relax completely knowing that it's done".
When I try to explain this to my students I often tell them about my first experience of tameshigiri practise. I was trying too hard to cut the tatami, only once I relaxed completely and trusted the sword to cut did it actually cut. In the same way I tell students to trust the aikido waza and let them do the work, trust the principles of ki development I've taught then and the visualisations and explanations I've given them to understand them and they'll work. Once you get to that point ithe fun really starts

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:35 AM   #6
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote: View Post
Hi Ron,
does anybody, maybe from France, Italy or Germany, have more detailed information?
Nowadays Tada Sensei does not come to Germany, but I saw him on two or three Seminars, one evening before a Seminar he gave a lesson in the Dojo of my teacher, Asai Sensei.

He tought us a set of exercises which are part of his ki-no-renma, and which he does as preparation exercises in every training.
There were no deeper explanations, but he said for example when he explained a specific breathing-exercise: "do this every day half an hour, beginners 15 minutes".
I don't think many people listened to this advice.
For a long time I also forgot this, but some time ago I tried to remember what he showed, and began to integrate this exercises in my daily training again.
Some of the exercises remind of qi-gong, but it's a mixture of healing practice, for example to clean the lungs ore the kidneys, kokyu training and mental training.
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Old 05-09-2013, 01:50 PM   #7
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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Markus Rohde wrote: View Post
Some of the exercises remind of qi-gong
This reminds me of something I wish would be voiced more:
"Ki development exercises" in any tradition, be it Ueshiba's training, Tada's training, or some Chinese guy's training, are by definition "qigong." A lot of times people try to make some distinction, and I think there is no distinction that should be made.

Qigong is what we are doing when we do funekogi undo, furitama, or receiving pushes while standing.

What qigongs are part of aikido and what are not is a great topic, thanks for posting.
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:45 PM   #8
graham christian
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

I think a lot of the Ki development exercises we do are probably very similar to yours Ron. We call them Ki development, we call them self development, but we purposely don't call them internal as we found too many folks in the past were caught up in too much significance on the word and hearsay. Another reason is that we emphasize universal meaning internal should equal external otherwise it's probably fantasy.

Although you emphasize 'correct feeling' as a principle we differ in as much as we emphasize a principle and then to get used to the feeling that principle results in.

When it comes to one point we get first people to develop it and get used to using it but then to do techniques from it. That would be a drill. Then we may for example use the principle of extend Ki and eventually get people to do techniques from that principle. Same with koshi etc. So all in all it's develope principle then practice doing technique from that principle. Then on to the next one.

We extend this to daily life and chores, even picking up a cup or bricklaying or another sport. So students have to report how they used the principles in a life activity and what benefit it had.

All self development.

It seems from my reading of posts that one thing which is normal and done as naturally as drinking tea with us but as far as I can see not very much done elsewhere is Ki atsu and thus sometimes we even call advanced aikido Ki atsu.

As Mary likes sharing different exercises people do within the framework of practice for some reason I just thought of one I get students doing the purpose of which is to stop them tensing when doing kotegaeshi. One of the causes being to do with the apparent need to grip. In this exercise we call it the sandwich kotegaeshi. It is done with flat hands. Good for hara. Just thought I'd throw that in there

Hope you get a lot of replies on this thread, could be interesting.

Peace.G.
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:46 PM   #9
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Although you emphasize 'correct feeling' as a principle we differ in as much as we emphasize a principle and then to get used to the feeling that principle results in.
A small point Graham... as we present it, correct feeling isn't a principle, it's the result of proper mind/body coordination. The various principles related to Ki development are employed as metaphorical triggers that help the student replicate the feeling associated with a coordinated mind and body. As the student increasingly internalizes correct feeling, reliance on the triggers becomes less and less important. The fact that you folks have a slightly different approach is a testament to the richness of the Aikido learning experience.

I've discovered that it's the experience of correct feeling that gives real meaning to phrases like 'keep one point', 'keep weight underside', 'develop a positive mind' and 'extend Ki'; which in and of themselves, without the experience, don't convey a lot of meaningful information.

Ron

Last edited by RonRagusa : 05-09-2013 at 09:52 PM.

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Old 05-10-2013, 12:53 AM   #10
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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..., are by definition "qigong." A lot of times people try to make some distinction, and I think there is no distinction that should be made.
As far as I have experienced it, the "chinese way of qi gong" to which the term "qi gong" usually is connected uses certain methods,way of using the body, definitions, has a certain background in theory ... and so on. This work is in no way arbitrary.

So even if calling every way of working with qi "qi gong" maybe correct in a vocabular sense.
It does not necessarily have to make sense with regard to its substance.

The way of understanding and working with "ki" in most aikidō dōjō I know is clearly and substantially different from what I know as the way of qi gong. (Interestingly this is especially true for the Ki-Aikido (Yoshigasaki sensei) I experienced.)

So I think it helps, to differentiate the different ways of understanding qi and working with qi for the purpose of better identifying what we talk about.
For example, torifune or furitama can be practiced as a form of qi gong. But for that you have to know, how to do this. They are not qi gong by just mimicing the outer shape of the movement. They (can) become qi gong by using a certain way of using the body.
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Old 05-10-2013, 05:31 AM   #11
graham christian
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
A small point Graham... as we present it, correct feeling isn't a principle, it's the result of proper mind/body coordination. The various principles related to Ki development are employed as metaphorical triggers that help the student replicate the feeling associated with a coordinated mind and body. As the student increasingly internalizes correct feeling, reliance on the triggers becomes less and less important. The fact that you folks have a slightly different approach is a testament to the richness of the Aikido learning experience.

I've discovered that it's the experience of correct feeling that gives real meaning to phrases like 'keep one point', 'keep weight underside', 'develop a positive mind' and 'extend Ki'; which in and of themselves, without the experience, don't convey a lot of meaningful information.

Ron
Sounds good to me Ron. As I see it the emphasis serves as a good continual reminder. A nice discipline.

Peace.G.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:57 PM   #12
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
the "chinese way of qi gong"
Hi Carsten, that's the thing, as far as I understand there is no particular "way of qi gong," meaning it is not the name of a tradition but rather the name of a tool found in many different traditions. Any given Chinese tradition may use qigong, and I am not saying that these traditions are the same as each other - just that none of them are called simply "qi gong." My point is just that qigong is a tool that is used in many traditions, one of them being aikido. I personally think this is correct (in terms of namings and terms etc) but I will not assert here that it is.

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Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
For example, torifune or furitama can be practiced as a form of qi gong. But for that you have to know, how to do this. They are not qi gong by just mimicing the outer shape of the movement.
Agree completely there. Since O-sensei did not teach be explaining, the students were left to draw their own conclusions about how to do things correctly. I don't think he intended anyone to mimic movement. "I'm teaching you how to move your mind! [not your feet]"
So, long story short, I think O-sensei showed internal training methods (which I am calling "qigong" as a general term), I believe he did them the way you are describing (he "knew how to do this"), and the resulting situation involves many different lineages trying to put the pieces together subsequently.

To remedy my thread drift and get back on topic, I would say that my aikido training is composed of:
1. Strengthening the "accomodation capacity" of the ki of my body, by sustained handling of force loads.
2. Unifying the body into a single "swath of ki" that reaches across the whole body. (Trained by standing and moving while trying to minimize "gaps")
3. Controlling that unified body with central control (exercises that emphasize relaxing the periphery while maintaining the ability to produce unified force throughout a motion)

Basically use the intent to manage a body that has increasingly stengthened "ki," so as to produce a vertical bridge that my center is embedded in. Oh boy I must be loony.
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:30 AM   #13
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
Hi Carsten, that's the thing, as far as I understand there is no particular "way of qi gong," meaning it is not the name of a tradition but rather the name of a tool found in many different traditions. Any given Chinese tradition may use qigong, and I am not saying that these traditions are the same as each other - just that none of them are called simply "qi gong." My point is just that qigong is a tool that is used in many traditions, one of them being aikido. I personally think this is correct (in terms of namings and terms etc) but I will not assert here that it is.

Agree completely there. Since O-sensei did not teach be explaining, the students were left to draw their own conclusions about how to do things correctly. I don't think he intended anyone to mimic movement. "I'm teaching you how to move your mind! [not your feet]"
So, long story short, I think O-sensei showed internal training methods (which I am calling "qigong" as a general term), I believe he did them the way you are describing (he "knew how to do this"), and the resulting situation involves many different lineages trying to put the pieces together subsequently.

To remedy my thread drift and get back on topic, I would say that my aikido training is composed of:
1. Strengthening the "accomodation capacity" of the ki of my body, by sustained handling of force loads.
2. Unifying the body into a single "swath of ki" that reaches across the whole body. (Trained by standing and moving while trying to minimize "gaps")
3. Controlling that unified body with central control (exercises that emphasize relaxing the periphery while maintaining the ability to produce unified force throughout a motion)

Basically use the intent to manage a body that has increasingly stengthened "ki," so as to produce a vertical bridge that my center is embedded in. Oh boy I must be loony.
No, you're not!

Having read and tried out everything reasonably available to me in this respect and waded through as many threads about IP/IS, Ki and Aiki in this forum as possible, I feel everything that's needed has already been said, many times over.
There are people who have felt this stuff and those who have not.
Hence, to my mind, it's unavoidable that there must be people using the same words, some of them having a clear understanding, knowing exactly what all this means, and others not knowing that they haven't got a clue. Despite some of these literally hitting the target eventually on spot, they nevertheless might not know how to put their own words into reliable practice and so on...
…and although having practiced (modern) Aikido happily for more than forty years now, I may well belong into this category. How can I know what I don't know?

That's one of the reasons why I'm looking forward to meeting Dan Harden.

Best,
Bernd

Last edited by Bernd Lehnen : 05-12-2013 at 06:34 AM.
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Old 05-12-2013, 12:48 PM   #14
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

Hi Bernd, your story sounds so familiar! I did the same thing starting in 2008. I was about 2 or 3 years late to the party according to dates of threads on aikiweb, but started reading like crazy. I would never have done that if my BS detector had gone off. Anyway I think it is the best way. By that I mean: when you go to a seminar, be it Dan or anyone, you can either go without knowing what to look for, or go with a framework for understanding already in place. If you have that academic framework (and any practical framework as well), then you would get more out of any seminar. I am happy that my seminar experience was something that fit into my pre-existing understanding. (It made me see more clearly what to work on)

I think such a framework can come from an established tradition, such as Tohei's lineage.. or you can build it from scratch yourself by reading about things. Although that way, you probably won't be able to correctly do things yourself yet, but you would know what you are trying to do. Then, meeting people can quickly adjust things in yourself that make your predictions/expectations come true.

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Bernd Lehnen wrote: View Post
people using the same words, some of them having a clear understanding, knowing exactly what all this means, and others not knowing that they haven't got a clue.
I would add that there should be lots in the middle as well, not just at these extremes. That's why conversation is so good.

And that brings me back to the topic at hand: regarding aikido, let's say Ueshiba O-sensei was truely on the right track and is our exemplar. Let's say aikido almost 60 years after his death is a diverse community, with several young traditions. Let's say none of them on their own fully encapsulate O-sensei's own path, because he didn't intend to start those separate lineages. I think none of those statements are really controversial, and I think they are really in the spirit of Aikiweb to say. My point is that by sharing across this diverse population, we can do better than if we embed ourselves in these young traditions that are started by people who were each only a follower of O-sensei.
So that said, I expect:
1. Different internal training practices would exist in the different lineages - though a core few would be shared (like funekogi)
2. Different understandings of these practices (even the shared ones) would occur across the different lineages
3. Each person could read broadly (rather than only the writings within his lineage), and then form conclusions about what is correct in terms of understanding our exemplar, vs what is incorrect. Most often, we would probably find understandings that are neither fully correct nor incorrect, but a bit vague. This is the precarious state where misunderstanding can occur easily, but the words themselves are not wrong. So, one person can indeed understand well what the exemplar was saying, but another who agrees with the same words can mean something else.

I just thought of one more thing. Ron, I agree with the idea that "correct feeling" is a description of an experience that should be had, and that words like "keep one point" would then serve as reminders of how/what to recapitulate as one continues practice. In other words, words serve only to refer to feeling, so the net is limited in this regard.
This brings up the this idea, central to any discussion of internal things: if 2 people have the same experience (as similar as possible that is) as beginners, say at a seminar, and then go home to their respective origins afterword, their practices can diverge with time. One may master the skill associated with that experience, and one may end up doing something else. Or maybe more commonly, one may get pretty good at it, thinking that is about the limit of that skill, and combine it with other things to get a great effect, while the other guy simply takes that one original skill to a new level. They verbally would both refer to the same thing, but one would demonstrate it differently (and to different effect) than the other. Just some thoughts. Personally I try to at every stage think "what if it can go further still?" Doesn't mean I'm doing anything special just saying how I look at these things. In other words I think one person can be "correct" and still learn from another, just because the degree to which things are developed can vary.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:20 AM   #15
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Our Ki development exercises fall within five broad categories: Solo, Partnered Stationary, Partnered Motion, Solo Weapons and Partnered Weapons.

I'm interested as to whether other Aikido folks purposely engage in internal training within the framework of their Aikido.

Ron
Hi Ron,
My teacher, Asai Katsuaki, may be through his friendship with Noro Masamichi, over the years seems to have come to show and teach more openly internal training. I wonder how many of his followers understand this. But, although in his earlier years he never talked about Ki and those things the way Tohei did, it was always there, within his craftsmanship and framework of aikido. When teaching, first came craftsmanship. But you only had to put the honest question, be it in words be it through an honest attack, the latter of which was the preferred way, then you would always get an honest answer. So you naturally engaged in internal training within the framework of your aikido; to which extent and whether purposely depended on your own understanding.
It has to look good, but more important, it has to work.

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Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
Hi Bernd, your story sounds so familiar! I did the same thing starting in 2008. I was about 2 or 3 years late to the party according to dates of threads on aikiweb, but started reading like crazy. I would never have done that if my BS detector had gone off. Anyway I think it is the best way. By that I mean: when you go to a seminar, be it Dan or anyone, you can either go without knowing what to look for, or go with a framework for understanding already in place. If you have that academic framework (and any practical framework as well), then you would get more out of any seminar. I am happy that my seminar experience was something that fit into my pre-existing understanding. (It made me see more clearly what to work on)

I think such a framework can come from an established tradition, such as Tohei's lineage.. or you can build it from scratch yourself by reading about things. Although that way, you probably won't be able to correctly do things yourself yet, but you would know what you are trying to do. Then, meeting people can quickly adjust things in yourself that make your predictions/expectations come true.

I would add that there should be lots in the middle as well, not just at these extremes. That's why conversation is so good.
Hi Jonathan,
I find your approach reasonable and, considering how well everything turned out for you, very tempting.
Nevertheless, I want to go to this seminar with a clear mind and I don't want to let any framework for understanding interfere with what I don't know, so that anything put on the table might find its way to me. I've decided to go to the seminar without any preconception other then going there to make friends, have fun with them and finally get what I possibly can. I want to take a chance.

Best,
Bernd
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:38 AM   #16
Keith Larman
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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Bernd Lehnen wrote: View Post
How can I know what I don't know?

That's one of the reasons why I'm looking forward to meeting Dan Harden.

Best,
Bernd
FWIW I went to see Dan on the mat after having known him (in a sense) for a lot of years. I had my opinions and my own biases, but I went with an open mind and willingness. It's one of those deals that if you've been around long enough sometimes you learn to simply take things in stride. I'm one of those guys who enjoys doing seminars, and even if I go to one and walk away thinking "meh, not my thing and I don't agree" at least I have a better handle on how to categorize the person and their discussions in the future. Heck, I went to one seminar years ago hoping for the best but walked away thinking the guy was completely full of crap. Complete fake. At least I learned that I really didn't want to do what that guy was doing... With Dan I walked away with a vastly greater appreciation for what he was writing about. Of course it might just be what Dan's doing happened to resonate with my own training well so it's really more about what I was looking for. But that's really what we're all doing... The thing about all this I find most interesting is that you'll find folk at these seminars with just a few years under their belts all the way up to those with well-lived lifetimes. Sure, there's lots of folk *not* there, those who aren't interested, and that's completely fine as well. I just find it interesting that depending on the personality type you'll find folk from a really broad spectrum of martial arts training. So lots to gain if it turns out to resonate with you. If not, no harm. Just another experience in the continuum of experiences.

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Old 05-16-2013, 03:34 AM   #17
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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My point is just that qigong is a tool that is used in many traditions, one of them being aikido.
I'm not sure what you are talking about, when you use the term "qi gong"?

We agree that qi gong is not a certain school or a certain tradition. Especially since the term qi gong itself is not very old.

When I use the term "qi gong" I refer to the system of working with jing, qi and shen as it is known in the daoist tradition. Even if there are specific distinctions between different schools and branches and allthough the daoist qi gong differs in certain aspects from qi gong used in TCM, the system altogether is not a tool I see "used in many tradtions".
Especially I don't find it in most of the ways of practicing aikidō I experienced over the years.

What I understand as qi gong has a very specific background in Daoist tradition and needs specific forms of body work. (Which, I think, have strong connections to what Dan teaches. At least in my practice both seem to fit perfectly together.)
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:48 AM   #18
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Even if there are specific distinctions between different schools and branches and allthough the daoist qi gong differs in certain aspects from qi gong used in TCM, the system altogether is not a tool I see "used in many tradtions".
There are systems that teach the same things, using different terms and definitions. Tada comes from a Yoga-Tradition, but he said in an Interview that Tempu Sensei just used other words, but in fact it was the same what O Sensei taught.
For example: In the chinese system there is fire and water, in yoga there is prana and apana, if its united through practice, the energy rises up the spine, shushumna nadi ore thrusting meridian chong mei.
There are many analogues, and the exercises that Tada Sensei shows and practices are to some extend, or maybe for the most part the same as qi gong, shi li, nei gong small circle ore other exercises known from chinese systems.
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:30 AM   #19
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

A former student of mine is a yoga teacher. A fellow teacher in our club practices yoga intense for years now. True: I see a lot of parallels.
But aren't there also differences?
Do you think both systems are identic?
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:18 PM   #20
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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I'm not sure what you are talking about, when you use the term "qi gong"?
All I mean is exercising the qi. I think Markus gets to what I am talking about: the basic idea that you can exercise the qi is found in many methods and traditions. Even beyond that, the methods can be remarkably similar, not just related vaguely.

You can exercise the qi for reasons that don't involve neijin, like the Iron Shirt guys. Or you can do it for neijin (I think what you are referring to as "jing.") It's all still qigong, though many people would start throwing around terms like waigong and neigong, a valid topic but would just be thread drift here.

I don't have any reason to think that the practices that you are doing and talking about is in disagreement with what I am referring to. I am just saying those practices were once in many places that you don't necessarily find them anymore. For instance, do you think O-sensei was doing a kind of "qi exercise" that is similar to what you are doing? He was educated in Buddhism (as a kid) Omoto (as an adult) and DR (as an adult). Not Daoist temples, yet he did exercises for the qi that give rise to "neijin." And then the movements were copied by some students, in a way that does not give rise to neijin, which is I think the source of your comment that aikido works with ki in a way "clearly and substantially different from what I know as the way of qi gong." Correct?
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:15 PM   #21
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Especially since the term qi gong itself is not very old.
We should be careful here-- are you saying that we shouldn't use the term "qi gong" to refer to old things like the Ba Duan Jin* or the exercises in the Yi Jin Jing?
Quite the contrary, these things are often pointed to as definitive examples of what qigong is. I guess my point is that there is an old, widespread idea of physical/mental cultivation that the term qigong refers to. You have to do it right (intention/yi is not visible, but it is intimately linked to qi/ki, so it goes without saying that some people may do a qigong without the right intent by only imitating the movement - this is empty and wrong). These methods may predate any one name. I believe qi gong is a term that intends to refer to these methods, and I advocate for its general use.

*This gets a bit back on topic - Tamura sensei showed the Ba Duan Jin before seminars. It is on video on the net, and he was asked about it in an interview. There, he very nicely described how he rationalizes using these exercises within his training. That is, he said O-sensei would recognize value in "foreign" methods, and would say "this is good" and would be in favor of doing it -- or if he didn't see value he would say "this is bad." Thus, anyone following in his footsteps should learn to distinguish "good" methods for body, mind, and ki cultivation and should feel free to practice them.
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:38 PM   #22
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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... what you are referring to as "jing." ...
I am referring to jing as one of the so called "three treasures" jing, qi and shen: Essence, Breath and Spirit.

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... O-sensei was ... educated in Buddhism (as a kid) Omoto (as an adult) and DR (as an adult). Not Daoist temples, ...
Isn't Ueshiba well known for studying the chinese classics very intensively throughout his life? Did you know that the main godess of Oomoto kyo seems to be of daoist origin? ...
It is indeed striking when you compare the daoist texts with his words. A lot of his cryptic sayings simply become clear. Or clearer at least.

For me this interesting journey began, when I started to follow the theme of "heaven-man-earth" into the literature some time ago. My aikido book shelf became a new but fast growing segment with daoist texts since then.
And this journey also led me to a certain form of body work, that was once well known and discussed here in this forum ...

Because of my meagre skills and knowledge I am just an onlooker and not a protagonist. So no: I am not thinking, that what I do is similar in which way ever to what Ueshiba did.
But yes, I think that the daoist classics can help to understand how Ueshiba Morihei thought. And I think that a specific form of body work - that is originaly related to that context - can help to understand what he did.

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 05-16-2013 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 05-16-2013, 02:55 PM   #23
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Do you think both systems are identic?
Of course not identic, but there are as many differences in Yoga-systems as there are in chinese systems.
Despite this there are some extreme practices in Yoga, but in Tempu Nakamura Senseis Yoga system the practices were not of this kind, it's a mixture of raja-yoga and something else.

A Yoga teacher told me in a lessen, that Yoga was about breathing, not about doing crazy things with the body, and about working with energy.
When I do the sun salutation from the ashtanga yoga system, it feels like a practice of heaven-earth-man, its an opening and closing movement emanating from the breathing.
The same feeling I have when I do the breathing exercise Tada Sensei showed us.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:06 PM   #24
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Re: Internal Training Practices within the art of Aikido

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And this journey also led me to a certain form of body work, that was once well known and discussed here in this forum ...
Of course-- we have both been participating in these discussions for some time.

Anyway I seemed to touch a nerve with this "qigong terminology" stuff, didn't mean to. To sum up, do you mean to say that you feel that qigong and the form of body work Ueshiba pursued were two different things (with only some similarities)? I would disagree with that.

BTW, I fully agree that what O-sensei arrived at is basically daoism. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that.. but I know I'm not the only one! Also, I do know he read Chinese classics, but I think the reason he ended up being so daoist-like had more to do with what he felt in his own body. That is, the writings matched his experience, and that is a very exciting thing. If that internal match hadn't been the case, I don't think words on a page would be very compelling.
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