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Old 08-14-2013, 08:20 PM   #26
bkedelen
 
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Serious question: can you share the titles of a couple of those Chinese texts that specifically address quality martial arts training? I have read dozens of martial arts books from many cultures and systems including CMA and found nearly all of them to be pretty awful. Only a handful of titles such as The Unfettered Mind and Igensho have been of use to me. You guys have made a big deal out of your confidence in the relevance of "the Chinese classics", including the rather bold implication that Osensei would agree with you if he was alive. For some reason I have never caught the titles of these works. Obviously I have already read the master and the sage and am looking for martial arts specific titles.

Last edited by bkedelen : 08-14-2013 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:55 PM   #27
Chris Li
 
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
Serious question: can you share the titles of a couple of those Chinese texts that specifically address quality martial arts training? I have read dozens of martial arts books from many cultures and systems including CMA and found nearly all of them to be pretty awful. Only a handful of titles such as The Unfettered Mind and Igensho have been of use to me. You guys have made a big deal out of your confidence in the relevance of "the Chinese classics", including the rather bold implication that Osensei would agree with you if he was alive. For some reason I have never caught the titles of these works. Obviously I have already read the master and the sage and am looking for martial arts specific titles.
I hate to quote Wikipedia, but it has a basic list here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tai_chi_classics

Honestly, though, I wouldn't recommend them for learning much without a lot of relevant hands on.

IMO, the language that O-Sensei used is important for what it points to - a shared methodology. For much else you have to go to the people themselves.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-14-2013, 09:23 PM   #28
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

There are not many English translations, but I've had this page of the Tai C'hi Classics bookmarked for a while. It's only a few excerpts, though:

http://scheele.org/lee/classics.html
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:58 PM   #29
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Tai C'hi Classics:"Ba Jin" ("Eight Energies")
Ueshiba: “"Hachiriki” (“Eight Powers”)
Doka 47. Deep in the glow of Izu
Which shines in the Heavens above
There is the reverberating sound
Of the King of the Eight Powers

Tai C'hi Classics: "Move with tranquility [Seek stillness in movement]... Although one moves, there is also stillness."
Ueshiba: "Motion in Stillness, Stillness in Motion"

Tai C'hi Classics: "There are three different levels of T’ai Chi Ch’uan—Heaven, Earth, and Man."
(Cheng Tzu’s Thirteen Treatises on T’ai Chi Ch’uan, by Professor Cheng Man Ch’ing)

Ueshiba: "Aikido can be called the Way of Accord between Heaven, Earth and Man."
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Old 08-15-2013, 02:12 AM   #30
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I hate to quote Wikipedia, but it has a basic list here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tai_chi_classics

Honestly, though, I wouldn't recommend them for learning much without a lot of relevant hands on.

IMO, the language that O-Sensei used is important for what it points to - a shared methodology. For much else you have to go to the people themselves.

Best,

Chris
In case anybody's wondering, the "you" here (as in "you have to") is meant to be generic.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-15-2013, 02:13 AM   #31
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Aikido ... Nothing Chinese about it.
Last year I had a conversation with a student of Ueshiba Morihei about this issue. He made clear that Ueshiba has made no secret of the influence of Chinese texts and Chinese internal arts on his aikidō.
He, the shihan, was completely astonished about my question. To him this fact was simply natural.
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Old 08-15-2013, 08:59 AM   #32
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Re: China and the Methods that Drive IP & Aiki

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The argument is that there is much more than a butterfly effect.
I thought it had been established that there was possibly some direct movement of Chinese training methodologies into Japanese martial arts via Yoshin ryu, Shinkage ryu, and then in the modern period Sagawa studied Chinese martial arts and integrated a lot of the methods, but there was no solid evidence that Takeda had any exposure to Chinese methods, and no good story that the various arts Takeda studied had Chinese influence at their roots.

And that Ueshiba hadn't actually practiced any Chinese arts.

What did I miss? Are you basing the idea that there was more than a butterfly effect on the fact that Ueshiba quoted the classics? Because, um...just about any Japanese person who was literate in the second millenium was familiar with those.
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:20 AM   #33
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Re: China and the Methods that Drive IP & Aiki

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I thought it had been established that there was possibly some direct movement of Chinese training methodologies into Japanese martial arts via Yoshin ryu, Shinkage ryu, and then in the modern period Sagawa studied Chinese martial arts and integrated a lot of the methods, but there was no solid evidence that Takeda had any exposure to Chinese methods, and no good story that the various arts Takeda studied had Chinese influence at their roots.

And that Ueshiba hadn't actually practiced any Chinese arts.

What did I miss? Are you basing the idea that there was more than a butterfly effect on the fact that Ueshiba quoted the classics? Because, um...just about any Japanese person who was literate in the second millenium was familiar with those.
When did Sagawa study Chinese arts?

I suppose that it would depend on what you'd call "butterfly effects". Personally, I would say that the influence is much to pervasive and clear to be characterized that lightly.

Actually, there are some good stories about Takeda (but not from where you'd expect) - I may get to that some time...

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-15-2013, 09:32 AM   #34
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Re: China and the Methods that Drive IP & Aiki

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When did Sagawa study Chinese arts?
Hmm. I'll see if I can track down where I got that idea from. I thought I read that in one of your blogs, the guy from the Sagawa style who trained with the guy who drew the manga...? Well obviously not or you wouldn't be asking me where I heard that Sagawa had researched chinese martial arts.

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I suppose that it would depend on what you'd call "butterfly effects". Personally, I would say that the influence is much to pervasive and clear to be characterized that lightly.
If the influence is pervasive and clear, that means it is obvious that Ueshiba trained with teachers of Chinese arts quite a bit and there is abundant evidence of this. It could simply be that there is a resemblance between what you believe Ueshiba was doing and what you know of Chinese martial arts. A resemblance could be explained by other things than influence.

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Actually, there are some good stories about Takeda (but not from where you'd expect) - I may get to that some time...
That's tantalizing.
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:55 AM   #35
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Re: China and the Methods that Drive IP & Aiki

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Hmm. I'll see if I can track down where I got that idea from. I thought I read that in one of your blogs, the guy from the Sagawa style who trained with the guy who drew the manga...? Well obviously not or you wouldn't be asking me where I heard that Sagawa had researched chinese martial arts.
That would be Takahashi, he trained Taiji. There was also Yoshimaru Keisetsu, who trained some Chinese arts.

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
If the influence is pervasive and clear, that means it is obvious that Ueshiba trained with teachers of Chinese arts quite a bit and there is abundant evidence of this. It could simply be that there is a resemblance between what you believe Ueshiba was doing and what you know of Chinese martial arts. A resemblance could be explained by other things than influence.
No one that I know of (except Bruce Frantzis) is saying that Ueshiba trained with teachers of Chinese arts, but that doesn't mean that the influence isn't there.

What we're talking about is fairly specific, chance resemblance seems unlikely to me - especially given the increasingly large amount of information coming out.

The entire Japanese education system in Ueshiba's era was based around classical Chinese texts - I'm not sure why people find it so hard to accept that there was influence in all kinds of other areas as well.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-15-2013, 10:17 AM   #36
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Re: China and the Methods that Drive IP & Aiki

Ellis's HIPS book, first chapter "The Chinese Connection". very interesting reading. i am not going to put stuffs here. ya gonna have to buy the book and read it for yourself.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:36 AM   #37
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Re: China and the Methods that Drive IP & Aiki

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Ellis's HIPS book, first chapter "The Chinese Connection". very interesting reading. i am not going to put stuffs here. ya gonna have to buy the book and read it for yourself.
Since that is one of Ellis's books on martial arts, I have read it cover-to-cover twice and have gone back to it for specific passages innumerable times. I do not believe there has been any solid evidence unearthed that indicates that Ueshiba or Takeda had any direct influence from Chinese martial arts.
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:53 AM   #38
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Re: China and the Methods that Drive IP & Aiki

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Since that is one of Ellis's books on martial arts, I have read it cover-to-cover twice and have gone back to it for specific passages innumerable times. I do not believe there has been any solid evidence unearthed that indicates that Ueshiba or Takeda had any direct influence from Chinese martial arts.
Nobody argued that. OTOH, they had no direct contact with Chinese Confucian scholars either, but it would be ridiculous to try and argue that they were not influenced strongly and clearly by Confucianism.

Hiroshi Tada makes a relevant comment at the bottom of the interview here.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-15-2013, 10:54 AM   #39
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Re: China and the Methods that Drive IP & Aiki

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TNo one that I know of (except Bruce Frantzis) is saying that Ueshiba trained with teachers of Chinese arts, but that doesn't mean that the influence isn't there.

What we're talking about is fairly specific, chance resemblance seems unlikely to me - especially given the increasingly large amount of information coming out.

The entire Japanese education system in Ueshiba's era was based around classical Chinese texts - I'm not sure why people find it so hard to accept that there was influence in all kinds of other areas as well.
So Ueshiba learned Chinese martial arts through some other means than training under a teacher?

Was it one of those special deals where you get the book, the video, and the black belt in the same package for $99.95??
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:17 AM   #40
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Re: China and the Methods that Drive IP & Aiki

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Nobody argued that. OTOH, they had no direct contact with Chinese Confucian scholars either, but it would be ridiculous to try and argue that they were not influenced strongly and clearly by Confucianism.

Hiroshi Tada makes a relevant comment at the bottom of the interview here.

Best,

Chris
Of course nobody argued that! Confucian influence was so pervasive in all areas of Japanese culture, for centuries, that you aren't arguing anything either.

It is like you are saying that the reason why Spanish fencing styles of the 1600s were so much more advanced than italian or German was because they maintained ancient Assyrian traditions, and this must be abundantly clear because Jesus was a Jew.
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:42 AM   #41
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Re: China and the Methods that Drive IP & Aiki

Man, I was about to write about something from "Transparent Power" but after reading some of the recent posts I want to stick an ice pick in my eye instead. Brb
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Old 08-15-2013, 12:23 PM   #42
Chris Li
 
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Re: China and the Methods that Drive IP & Aiki

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Joshua Landin wrote: View Post
Man, I was about to write about something from "Transparent Power" but after reading some of the recent posts I want to stick an ice pick in my eye instead. Brb
Probably be more productive, too.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-15-2013, 02:06 PM   #43
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

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Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Last year I had a conversation with a student of Ueshiba Morihei about this issue. He made clear that Ueshiba has made no secret of the influence of Chinese texts and Chinese internal arts on his aikidō.
He, the shihan, was completely astonished about my question. To him this fact was simply natural.
I think this is probably the most valuable part of this thread so far-- it deserves some follow-up. Who was the shihan? Or, if you can't give a name, can you tell us the era (pre-war, post, etc) that he studied with Ueshiba? And, in the experience of this shihan, what context did Ueshiba talk about the Chinese aspect-- was it on-the-mat lectures, lectures to non-aikidoka (like Goi Sensei's people or Omoto people), or off-the-mat comments? Thanks!

Re: Cliff's arguments against Chris, I hope the argument doesn't get pushed further than intended. I gather Chris' point is that the strategy and methodology of changing the body and mind are shared with Chinese martial lineages, and derive from common ancestry over the timescale of centuries. (Nothing controversial there.) The example of Confucianism is a good one-- I don't think it is hard to swallow that the body/mind-changing training permeates the Asian martial arts the way Confucianism permeates Asian governmental and sociological structures. (all by "influence" of culture, rather than via teacher-to-student lineages)
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Old 08-15-2013, 02:25 PM   #44
Cliff Judge
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

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Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
Re: Cliff's arguments against Chris, I hope the argument doesn't get pushed further than intended. I gather Chris' point is that the strategy and methodology of changing the body and mind are shared with Chinese martial lineages, and derive from common ancestry over the timescale of centuries. (Nothing controversial there.) The example of Confucianism is a good one-- I don't think it is hard to swallow that the body/mind-changing training permeates the Asian martial arts the way Confucianism permeates Asian governmental and sociological structures. (all by "influence" of culture, rather than via teacher-to-student lineages)
The fact that Japanese culture was originally seeded by and proceeded to be heavily and thoroughly influenced by Chinese culture is a vacuous argument in favor of the idea that Ueshiba's martial arts were influenced by Chinese martial arts. You may as well say that Aikido is exactly the same thing as Tai chi because most people have two arms and two legs.

It had to be felt, right? So who did Ueshiba feel it from? That's where this story has to start.
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Old 08-15-2013, 02:49 PM   #45
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
The fact that Japanese culture was originally seeded by and proceeded to be heavily and thoroughly influenced by Chinese culture is a vacuous argument in favor of the idea that Ueshiba's martial arts were influenced by Chinese martial arts. You may as well say that Aikido is exactly the same thing as Tai chi because most people have two arms and two legs.

It had to be felt, right? So who did Ueshiba feel it from? That's where this story has to start.
Well, I'm fairly sure that most Aikido students feel that they have been heavily and thoroughly influenced by Morihei Ueshiba, even though most of them have never felt them, even though the actual contact is, in many cases, three or four generations in the past.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-15-2013, 05:20 PM   #46
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

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a vacuous argument in favor of the idea that Ueshiba's martial arts were influenced by Chinese martial arts.
OK let's fill in the vacuum. There is an issue of the strong version or weak version of the claim that there was Chinese influence. Strong version is that Ueshiba "learned" or stole something from Chinese MA that became of primary importance to him, because he didn't get it anywhere else. Does anyone think that? I doubt it.

On the other hand, there is the other, more reasonable and more interesting argument:

that the primary thing that Ueshiba was training in order to manifest "aiki" is a training that is shared between his art and other arts, some of them Chinese. The reason for this homology is that the training methodology was in fact developed long ago (partially in China, partially in somewhere like India where the training culture would have come from before making its way to China).

That's what appears to be true to me so far-- one need not try to argue the "strong" version above.

Support for this idea:
- See Ellis Amdur's writings. Including on Aikido Journal, where Chinese MA enthusiast Takeda Hiroshi's home in China was host to Ueshiba. Amdur also points out Shigenobu Okumura's interview comments that explicitly corroborate Ueshiba's appreciation of the Chinese MA.
- Amdur's other writings like HIPS which document the close association b/w Chinese and Japanese MA (the JMA developed over centuries with an eye on what the Chinese were doing and training, complete with voyages to and from China for learning and importing of training methods)
- Ueshiba sometimes cited old Chinese writings to explain martial arts (like in Chris' example)
- Ueshiba often referred to "the secret of aikido," which suggests some kind of core that is underneath the vestiges ("because I knew the secret of aikido he couldn't move me" etc)
- Ueshiba's push-receiving demos are the same kind of demo people in Chinese MA who train the "nei jin" ("internal skill-strength") demonstrate.
- Well, I am at work, there are plenty more list items others could post (they are probably in the archives already), but I don't have any more time right now. The more translations of Ueshiba's writings that come out, the more clear the connection is (see Chris' Heaven-Earth-Man comment above, and the discovery of the mistranslation of "roppo" as "sixty degrees").

The point is, there are very cool things in budo as received by Ueshiba (from Sokaku Takeda, to answer Cliff's question) that are also present in Chinese MA because they come from older Chinese traditions. The way these things are trained is the only real reason we would want to discuss this issue. How you train is up to you. I for one am glad that people on this board have been sharing info! But anyone is free to say they don't believe it.
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Old 08-15-2013, 06:04 PM   #47
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Re: China and the Methods that Drive IP & Aiki

I don't want to see this discussion go down the road of "Did Ueshiba train with Chinese stylists and get his aiki from them," because I believe strongly that that's the wrong direction. Instead, the focus should be on "where did aiki and internal training methodology come from?" That's where the "Chinese connection" comes in, and it enters long before Morihei Ueshiba or even his teacher, Tokaku Takeda.

Ueshiba's aiki came from Sokaku Takeda, via his Daito-ryu vehicle. Where did Takeda get it...? Ellis Amdur toys with the possibilities in "Hidden in Plain Sight," but the mists of time and lack of recorded history obfuscate any tangible proof. Instead, we are left with the young Takeda's mysterious learning experience with the Shinto scholar, Tanamo Saigo (AKA Hoshino Genshin) who, as with other high-born Japanese scholars of the day, was well versed in Chinese classical literature, ranging from Taoist texts to Confucian and possibly other estorica that may or may not have included certain esoteric internal exercises (qigong, neigong) the Chinese got, in ancient days, from Indian Buddhist and Tantric monks.

There's not much point to arguing the very genuine connection between Japanese "aiki" and internal body method, and that of its Chinese counterpart. It is what it is. Japan is famous for taking an idea and running with it -- look what the Japanese did with cameras and automobiles -- and integrating it into its culture. I believe that a relatively small number of Japanese, probably clan heads and others with connections on a higher level to Chinese teachers, herbalists and medical practitioners, nobles and religious figures, had a fertile cultural exchange and received this special knowledge. Then they proceeded to study it, dissect it, adapt it to suit their needs within their family/clan martial systems or other private institutions. The knowledge, in Japan, perhaps became proprietary as a result, and that would explain why it's such a "novel concept" to all but another relative few folks today.

That said, there are plenty of proofs on a contemporary note, of the Chinese-Japanese aiki/IP connection. The Chen tai chi master Liu Cheng-De, who is noted for his internal power, is quite well known to have lived in Japan for 10 years, during which time he taught aiki to a couple of Sagawa's disgruntled Daito-ryu students who felt they weren't "gettin' any of it" from Sagawa. It's quite certain, then, that they recognized Liu's skills as being what Sagawa had (and, by context, what Ueshiba had, what Sokaku Takeda had), even though Liu was Chinese, and had come with only his Chinese martial upbringing.

Even more contemporarily, there are people on these Internet pages, myself included, who have trained both in Daito-ryu aiki/IP and in their Chinese equivalent, in my case I Liq Chuan. I can state quite frankly that they are... the same animal. The way they are expressed physically and martially is different (there are myriad ways you can manipulate and apply aiki), and the training exercises for their development show superficial creative differences, but the root body conditioning and method are virtually identical. The aiki and the power are identical. I know for a fact that I Liq Chuan's internal method is purely a product of its Chinese heritage.

And while there of course is such thing as simultaneous and synchronous invention of things in different places, such as the printing press and, possibly, the wheel, something as complex, nuanced and sophisticated as an internal body method is very, very unlikely to be something that two different peoples could event, identically, without any cross-pollination of ideas. Add to that the fact that China did exert great cultural influence on Japan and much of Asia, and that the two nations were neighbors separated only by water that was navigable by ship, and it even further decreases any possibility that aiki/IP could be uniquely Japanese, with China and its powerful internal method right next door.
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:49 PM   #48
Cliff Judge
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
that the primary thing that Ueshiba was training in order to manifest "aiki" is a training that is shared between his art and other arts, some of them Chinese. The reason for this homology is that the training methodology was in fact developed long ago (partially in China, partially in somewhere like India where the training culture would have come from before making its way to China).
There is actually a fine point here. You posit that there was a training methodology to develop aiki skills that was the same thing as was developed long ago and came from China and India. That would mean that the things that Takeda taught and Ueshiba trained and taught were the same things as these Chinese and Indian masters from further back taught.

Is that so? Can this be shown?

One concept that I hear of with regard to Chinese internal arts is solo training. That would seem to be a consistent methodology. If that is a hallmark of Chinese training there is a problem because Takeda didn't teach solo training to any of his students.
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:58 PM   #49
Cliff Judge
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Re: China and the Methods that Drive IP & Aiki

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Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
Instead, we are left with the young Takeda's mysterious learning experience with the Shinto scholar, Tanamo Saigo (AKA Hoshino Genshin) who, as with other high-born Japanese scholars of the day, was well versed in Chinese classical literature, ranging from Taoist texts to Confucian and possibly other estorica that may or may not have included certain esoteric internal exercises (qigong, neigong) the Chinese got, in ancient days, from Indian Buddhist and Tantric monks.
What if it wasn't really that secret at all, but was simply esoteric knowledge that made a somewhat clunky, innappropriate fit to martial applications due to steep learning curve and not much usefulness versus the time and resources required for training? Until the Meiji period when there was no longer a caste of professional warriors who needed real combat skills to keep society functioning?
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:26 AM   #50
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: Practicing Ki is dangerous?!

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
That would seem to be a consistent methodology. If that is a hallmark of Chinese training there is a problem because Takeda didn't teach solo training to any of his students.
Where did the solo practices of the Sagawa dojo come from?

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