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Old 10-03-2013, 01:43 PM   #101
bkedelen
 
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Re: The Way of Aiki

I should not have claimed to know the motive behind the prohibition. I just wanted to point out that the prohibition exists since people are wondering why the material is not presented or discussed. I made no statement about what kind of person Harden is, and I don't have a problem with him (although I find you sycophants irritating).

Last edited by bkedelen : 10-03-2013 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:43 PM   #102
Andy Kazama
 
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Re: The Way of Aiki

As you have probably noticed, there is a lot of scrutiny placed on the ins and outs of IP training. I think it is perfectly reasonable to expect someone who has been to A SINGLE Saturday/Sunday seminar, and given the very basics of the material to avoid attempting to explain SPECIFICS of a particular methodology in a permanent medium like the internets. There was no blood oath, and I didn't have to re-name my child, "DH". Aikido South Dojo has been specifically working on this since Feb, so no, I'm not going to broadcast my continuously evolving understanding on the subject, which would only serve to confuse people. We have had students come in, and we ALWAYS show them what we know in person, with the understanding that things will need to be updated. There are no hidden secrets/agendas/money-making schemes, but it seems a bit pretentious to explain exactly how something works after a single seminar. I think this is very different than publicly giving support for the subject matter or discussing it on a very broad level. I absolutely hate getting into this debate, but seriously, this seems like it is getting a little out of hand -- particularly since Dan isn't even here to defend himself!

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Old 10-03-2013, 01:44 PM   #103
Mert Gambito
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
Videos of Sigman, Ark, Ushiro and others didn't hurt me any, and any frustration they caused me is just part of the process. After years of training internal skills, the better videos offer really important access to what you missed when you were not ready to see. I would LOVE to see videos from the Harden camp, but for whatever reason they are too cool for school.
Dan has an express no-dice policy regarding videos.

As for other forms of dissemination, his training model is simply based on hands-on. Similar to Chris, I've never been asked, nor can I think of anyone in Hawaii who's been asked, not to openly discuss the training model or specific exercises therein. That also applies to what's been imparted here by Mike Sigman and Sam Chin.

Speaking for myself, I just don't see the point in trying to discuss online the details of methods that are so nuanced and subtle that they take years to get right with first-hand assistance and dialogue in person. Ditto for waza, shiatsu, and the other aspects of my practice.

If you've gleaned and obtained training material and knowledge through your own pursuits, then that's excellent, and is what anyone genuinely seeking to attain ability must do. If you're interested in Dan's material as a possible component, then the path is the same as for anyone else who's been interested enough to look into it.

Mert
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:58 PM   #104
hughrbeyer
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
I should not have claimed to know the motive behind the prohibition.
Thank you.

Quote:
I just wanted to point out that the prohibition exists since people are wondering why the material is not presented or discussed. I made no statement about what kind of person Harden is, and I don't have a problem with him (although I find you sycophants irritating).
I am just as much a sycophant for any of my friends. I feel a new sig line coming on.

I repeat, lots of people at this point are out there teaching their interpretation of IS and acknowledging their debt to Dan. (I'm phrasing that intentionally--everyone filters what they learn through their own experience, and no one is trying to be a carbon copy, sycophant or no.)

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 10-03-2013, 02:01 PM   #105
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
That is good info. Couldn't understand all of it as it is not all part of my frame of reference. But I liked it. Shall read it again later.

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Old 10-03-2013, 02:05 PM   #106
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
Its false but also happened to you personally. I rest my case.
I am not sure why you quoted me out of context, or why you chose to truncate my statement. Adding back in the colon and points, the entire comment:
Quote:
Speaking from personal experience, I was asked not to discuss the material because:
1. I am not competent to explain it.
2. A significant component of the curriculum is physical feedback that cannot be adequately expressed verbally or technically.
Taken within context, what I was saying is that your derogatory comment about the purpose behind a general abstinence from explaining aiki as it is shared by another instructor was false, either intentionally or through ignorance. Changing what I wrote is simply a continuation of that derogation. I understand that my personal experience contradicts your claim. I understand you have a belief system based upon your claim, and that belief is challenged by my personal experience.

Since I was quoted, I am going to assume the remainder of that post was read about generalizing this behavior and the prejudice that seems to be focused against IP. I would have the same comments if I attended a seminar with any instructor who shared information above my pay grade. I am not sure why the target is IP. Why not torifune? That's a stupid solo exercise that is breathing and intent and movement. Why not ki exercises? Misogi? Tenkan undo? Somewhere in all of this is a is a couch question that is going to expose what is the real issue with IP training. Then we all hug it out and use a box of Kleenex.

In the meantime, critique what I say but please do not change it. These forums are here forever and I am not fond of the thought in 10 years I will eat crow over something that was misquoted. I'm sure I will say plenty of stupid things between now and then for which I will be sufficiently embarrassed.

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Old 10-03-2013, 02:09 PM   #107
Lee Salzman
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Ben,
On the one hand we have people on this forum who state that D.H wants his student to inform others[unless I am reading things incorrectly ].At the same time as far as I am aware nobody has given specifics or any actual examples of what is being shown.You get some guys saying they are integrating DHs stuff in their own practice.Wonderful, why do these guys not give us an idea of what D.H is all about.Maybe if we got a clue to whats being shown[a video snip for example]D.H. might find his workload would increase?Could the I/S guys be in a clique???Is it like a Masonic Order? Do you need to sign a document in blood? Do you swear on the Talmud,/Bible or any other holy book, not to reveal the secrets, on pain of death /or sitting through a repeat showing of the Man from Atlantis?? Cheers,Joe.
From my experience, trying to show the material to others, in-person, people have largely been unimpressed. Now, why is that? Because the material is such that even if you knew exactly what to do on a conceptual level, that conceptual knowledge imparts almost zero actual ability on how to do it. It takes many years of specific body conditioning to start manifesting skill at even a rudimentary level. It's depressing, it's hard, it's disconcerting, and people who are simply not excited about the material a priori won't get why a person like me would be excited about something that I am both so bad at and have spent so much effort on just to be this bad at it.

Even when you've seen, say, some exercises to work on, it is very easy to underestimate the importance of them and why, in retrospect, they will help to produce the final outcome that is desired. There's really only so much you can say or show about them, but after you work them for some years they expose a bewildering and never-ending stream of problems to solve.

So, okay, let's take the base level of body harmony. You want a body where, everywhere on the surface, on contact with someone or something, it needs to neither push back or yield away from it. You are a mountain, still and impervious, and any force coming into you merely echoes back out - mountain echo. You're not resisting anything. You're not evading anything. You're not even moving - externally you are completely still. Your mind is being profoundly neutral, expressing itself in all directions so that none is left out at no place on your body. Everywere to anywhere else on your body, you are supported. In the limit, when you are good at just this, it makes you difficult to be pushed, pulled, yanked, thrown, tripped, etc. And how do you get there? Years and years of solo intent work, and partnered work practicing that against which you are trying to remain profoundly neutral towards in the first place - force, from your partner, uke, opponent, or whatever you choose to call whom you practice with.

... And that's not even aiki at all. It's just basic internal power. Conceptually, it's boring, but it's probably the most important thing you can ever be good at amongst the collection of skills. And when you finally get some paltry level of ability with that? Oh wait, there's more, that was just the beginning!

Now that you have a profoundly neutral body that can support anything on contact, you have to get that whole in-yo thing, yin and yang, opposing powers, expressing everywhere on your profoundly neutral body, so that any force you exert in your body, everywhere, is always balanced within itself, never escaping you, and especially never going into or away from anything.

Imagine this seesaw with two kids playing on it.
Now imagine you were to push down on the very center of the seesaw, that is supported by the fulcrum underneath, while the kids were merrily going up and down. What would you feel there? It would hopefully feel immovable, and all the while the kids are knocking you all over place with little to no effort - though I can't account for how shoddy modern playground construction might be or how sadistic or not the kids might be.

Conceptually, again, it's oh-so-mundane and boring after staring at it forever, it's just a fulcrum and lever, so every spot on your body, without even needing to move, is like the middle of an active lever supported by a neutral fulcrum. But just getting the body to do it, standing still, without having to move, motion in stillness, is immensely difficult. Then wait, you have to be able to do it while moving, and then fighting, all while maintaining that same balanced and neutral stillness in motion. And what does a body that is expressing yin and yang everywhere on its surface look like in the end? Very spirally, so thus you practice.

And, oh, wait, once you're good at that, there's still even more stuff to work on beyond that, and, well, just look at those two above things. Doing those two things alone is nigh impossible, and only because it just takes boat-loads of intensive solitary work, not a waza to boost one's ego in sight, that will leave you doubting it most days, with oh-so-many things to screw up, that even with regular supervision by someone who knows what they are doing, and even having a firm conceptual grounding in what is to be trained, it's still not going to add up to much of anything for a loooong time... So fun, right?

So what's really to say in the end? If you really want to learn it at all, you just need to go out and see a professional, and they're very hard to find by means of understanding the difficulty of the recipe. Reading some descriptions online really is never going to cut it.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 10-03-2013 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 10-03-2013, 02:57 PM   #108
Cady Goldfield
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Re: The Way of Aiki

IME, if you get good instruction and feedback, it should -not- take many years to develop basic or rudimentary skills. I've seen people start to be able to "do stuff" within 6 months, under the right teacher.

Yes, you have to practice, and practice mindfully. And, there are infinite layers of skill that we'll spend the rest of our lives striving for as we refine and build on what we have. But that is not the same thing as being given the tools at the outset to start building your foundation. If it took years and years to get a foundation in, we'd all be living in grass huts.
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:04 PM   #109
Gerardo Torres
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
IME, if you get good instruction and feedback, it should -not- take many years to develop basic or rudimentary skills. I've seen people start to be able to "do stuff" within 6 months, under the right teacher.

Yes, you have to practice, and practice mindfully. And, there are infinite layers of skill that we'll spend the rest of our lives striving for as we refine and build on what we have. But that is not the same thing as being given the tools at the outset to start building your foundation. If it took years and years to get a foundation in, we'd all be living in grass huts.
In my experience it could take a few years to even get some basic skills -- unless you're a training animal unlike us half-assing it . If it's "stupid jin tricks", sure, a few months or even weeks could create enough mind-body connection. But it mostly depends on what a particular teacher considers base skills. For example, if the aim is IP, hara/dantian development has to take place, and manipulating that stuff takes years and years. If the model involves spiraling, that's going to take a long time to manifest in waza and even more time in high-pressure stuff like sparring and fighting. Some teacher might think connection/dantian/spiraling is all fundamental, so the dividends are going to take some time.

Even after getting some rudimentary skills, it will not be very convincing to an observer as Lee's excellent post has said above. I will add though, that one thing that the observer cannot fully measure, is how the IP player feels inside, like the level of ease, balance, and freedom of movement they feel when performing a certain task. In early development I personally might not be a compelling case when trying to have an observer feel the difference of IP vs no-IP (my own personal fault and nothing to do with the material or teacher). But the way I feel pre-IP and post-IP training is certainly a paradigm shift for me. For example performing a demanding aikido or weapons routine, and comparing what it felt like before and after IP training, and realizing that IP allows me to perform the same routine with only a fraction of the energy, better balance, and better external effect (again, not too noticeable from the outset at first, but a vast difference on how I feel). This aspect of progress is even harder if not impossible to convey in written form.

Last edited by Gerardo Torres : 10-03-2013 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:19 PM   #110
Stephen Nichol
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
From my experience, trying to show the material to others, in-person, people have largely been unimpressed. Now, why is that? Because the material is such that even if you knew exactly what to do on a conceptual level, that conceptual knowledge imparts almost zero actual ability on how to do it. It takes many years of specific body conditioning to start manifesting skill at even a rudimentary level. It's depressing, it's hard, it's disconcerting, and people who are simply not excited about the material a priori won't get why a person like me would be excited about something that I am both so bad at and have spent so much effort on just to be this bad at it.

Even when you've seen, say, some exercises to work on, it is very easy to underestimate the importance of them and why, in retrospect, they will help to produce the final outcome that is desired. There's really only so much you can say or show about them, but after you work them for some years they expose a bewildering and never-ending stream of problems to solve.

So, okay, let's take the base level of body harmony. You want a body where, everywhere on the surface, on contact with someone or something, it needs to neither push back or yield away from it. You are a mountain, still and impervious, and any force coming into you merely echoes back out - mountain echo. You're not resisting anything. You're not evading anything. You're not even moving - externally you are completely still. Your mind is being profoundly neutral, expressing itself in all directions so that none is left out at no place on your body. Everywere to anywhere else on your body, you are supported. In the limit, when you are good at just this, it makes you difficult to be pushed, pulled, yanked, thrown, tripped, etc. And how do you get there? Years and years of solo intent work, and partnered work practicing that against which you are trying to remain profoundly neutral towards in the first place - force, from your partner, uke, opponent, or whatever you choose to call whom you practice with.

... And that's not even aiki at all. It's just basic internal power. Conceptually, it's boring, but it's probably the most important thing you can ever be good at amongst the collection of skills. And when you finally get some paltry level of ability with that? Oh wait, there's more, that was just the beginning!

Now that you have a profoundly neutral body that can support anything on contact, you have to get that whole in-yo thing, yin and yang, opposing powers, expressing everywhere on your profoundly neutral body, so that any force you exert in your body, everywhere, is always balanced within itself, never escaping you, and especially never going into or away from anything.

Imagine this seesaw with two kids playing on it.
Now imagine you were to push down on the very center of the seesaw, that is supported by the fulcrum underneath, while the kids were merrily going up and down. What would you feel there? It would hopefully feel immovable, and all the while the kids are knocking you all over place with little to no effort - though I can't account for how shoddy modern playground construction might be or how sadistic or not the kids might be.

Conceptually, again, it's oh-so-mundane and boring after staring at it forever, it's just a fulcrum and lever, so every spot on your body, without even needing to move, is like the middle of an active lever supported by a neutral fulcrum. But just getting the body to do it, standing still, without having to move, motion in stillness, is immensely difficult. Then wait, you have to be able to do it while moving, and then fighting, all while maintaining that same balanced and neutral stillness in motion. And what does a body that is expressing yin and yang everywhere on its surface look like in the end? Very spirally, so thus you practice.

And, oh, wait, once you're good at that, there's still even more stuff to work on beyond that, and, well, just look at those two above things. Doing those two things alone is nigh impossible, and only because it just takes boat-loads of intensive solitary work, not a waza to boost one's ego in sight, that will leave you doubting it most days, with oh-so-many things to screw up, that even with regular supervision by someone who knows what they are doing, and even having a firm conceptual grounding in what is to be trained, it's still not going to add up to much of anything for a loooong time... So fun, right?

So what's really to say in the end? If you really want to learn it at all, you just need to go out and see a professional, and they're very hard to find by means of understanding the difficulty of the recipe. Reading some descriptions online really is never going to cut it.
Thanks for this Lee. Between your post above and reading this post from Dan in another thread really helps me understand what it is I will feel when I am looking for it.

If I understand correctly, someone who has the most most basic part of In Yo/Yin Yang internalized will be unmovable when pushed upon from any angle on their body while standing naturally, feet shoulder width apart, no deep stances etc.. and even be able to lift one leg at a time while the push is being applied. Generally the push is applied to their upper body.

So until such time as I can go a meet Dan, I can try to find a Taiji (or someone proclaiming internal ability) teacher and ask them to let me try and push them over. If I cannot push them.. it may be worth sticking around to learn the basics.

Would that be a fair assessment?
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:42 PM   #111
Cady Goldfield
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Quote:
Gerardo Torres wrote: View Post
In my experience it could take a few years to even get some basic skills -- unless you're a training animal unlike us half-assing it . If it's "stupid jin tricks", sure, a few months or even weeks could create enough mind-body connection. But it mostly depends on what a particular teacher considers base skills. For example, if the aim is IP, hara/dantian development has to take place, and manipulating that stuff takes years and years. If the model involves spiraling, that's going to take a long time to manifest in waza and even more time in high-pressure stuff like sparring and fighting. Some teacher might think connection/dantian/spiraling is all fundamental, so the dividends are going to take some time.

Even after getting some rudimentary skills, it will not be very convincing to an observer as Lee's excellent post has said above. I will add though, that one thing that the observer cannot fully measure, is how the IP player feels inside, like the level of ease, balance, and freedom of movement they feel when performing a certain task. In early development I personally might not be a compelling case when trying to have an observer feel the difference of IP vs no-IP (my own personal fault and nothing to do with the material or teacher). But the way I feel pre-IP and post-IP training is certainly a paradigm shift for me. For example performing a demanding aikido or weapons routine, and comparing what it felt like before and after IP training, and realizing that IP allows me to perform the same routine with only a fraction of the energy, better balance, and better external effect (again, not too noticeable from the outset at first, but a vast difference on how I feel). This aspect of progress is even harder if not impossible to convey in written form.
Gerardo,
Earlier, I mentioned that working on structure is Step One in developing IP, and is a precursor to making an aiki body. The first step of that process is learning how to align the joints so that you are not using dedicated muscle to hold your structure together, and so that force can easily be transferred in a clean "path" from point-of-contact to the ground, and back. Then, you learn to feel and manipulate cross-body connections from foot to opposite shoulder, and to manipulate tanden (dantien), meimon (mingmen) and kwa (not sure what the Japanese term is for that - the femoral joint and inguinal fold area) to receive/absorb and feed/project force both from within and that which is provided by a partner. These are not "stoopid jin tricks," but a methodological approach of systematic training in increments to condition and build an IP/aiki body.

Any authentic internal system has some kind of "dynamic stationary" standing exercise to work the foundational structure and connections, whether it's called zhan zhuang, tenchijin or 13 Points, or whatever. YMMV with these, as not all such exercises are created equal depending on the individual teacher, school and lineage; however, the general intention is to work the structure and connections. And as I stated, I have seen people start to develop structure within months, and be able to absorb a push and to neutralize a pull too. On an elementary level, certainly, with low-level stress from the training partner, but even so, it is the "stuff" of rudimentary skills and basic understanding, and will be built upon continually and forever. It should not take years if the person trains a little every day.

IMO and IME, that feeling of ease, balance and freedom of movement comes along after you've learned how to control your structure so that you are acutely aware of its position at any given time, and of any possibility of imbalance... and can adjust accordingly, without tensing up.
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:52 PM   #112
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: The Way of Aiki

So, there seem to be lots of descriptions of how to do stuff but it is all in the context of Taichi or other non-Japanese arts. What I am into or after is to explain it in terms of Aikido and stuff more closer to what we normally do. I too have trained elsewhere but when I do Aikido I don't want to do something else, if you know what I mean. They way I see things is not exactly Aikido in nature either, but, I think we need to try to explain stuff in a way that everyone who does Aikido can understand, otherwise, might was well go read a Taichi forum. Personally, I can see a lot in say, the exercises found in Tomiki/Shodokan Aikido and their katas; I can see very interesting stuff in Yoshinkan methods, and I think we have a lot of stuff hidden away in kokyuu-ho and tenkan-ho etc. Shin-shin Toitsu Aikido has its tricks too. And Kyushin Aikido (Kenshiro Abe, UK) also has some fascinating concepts, as no doubt do many more groups/styles. People need to dissect such and to see what is hidden in there in plain sight. And kokyuu-nage contains endless material. Not to mention cutting with the sword and moving with the jo etc. I think the aiki we are after is discoverable in our own Aikido context, though it does help to look elsewhere to help get a bearing on it. But once you have a bearing, it is full steam ahead.

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Old 10-03-2013, 08:07 PM   #113
Cady Goldfield
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Rupert,
Well, if you consider that internal stuff undoubtedly came to Japan from China, any exercises within Japanese systems have a Chinese root. Unfortunately, the Japanese practitioners who had high-level skills (Sokaku Takeda, Yukiyoshi Sagawa in particular) were very secretive about their practices, or they were seen as too esoteric by their students (Morihei Ueshiba). Students who have come up in the contemporary generations of Daito-ryu do not seem to be privy to many of the old training exercises.

There are only certain ways that these skills can be built, though, so I suspect that the wheel keeps getting reinvented for drills and exercises. Tenchijin is a "made-in-Japan" approach, I think coined as a structure drill name by Akuzawa if I'm not mistaken.

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 10-03-2013 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:41 PM   #114
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
Rupert,
There are only certain ways that these skills can be built, though, so I suspect that the wheel keeps getting reinvented for drills and exercises. Tenchijin is a "made-in-Japan" approach, I think coined as a structure drill name by Akuzawa if I'm not mistaken.
Yes, spot on. And I am just another one busily trying to reinvent/define it for himself.

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Old 10-03-2013, 09:42 PM   #115
hughrbeyer
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
... I think the aiki we are after is discoverable in our own Aikido context, though it does help to look elsewhere to help get a bearing on it. But once you have a bearing, it is full steam ahead.
Absolutely. O-Sensei, after all, had the aiki skills and then created Aikido--in my view, largely as a simpler and more direct vehicle for expressing them than the more complex Daito-ryu techniques. So you don't have to go far to find the application of IS skills--they're hidden in the standard Aikido techniques.

In some ways, I think, what makes the IS applications hard to find in Aikido is that standard Aikido waza is so damn seductive. It's fun to work with timing, leading, motion, angles, and all the rest of it--and with a compliant uke, you don't need more than that to make your Aikido work. You have to work at it--and not accept bullsh*t either from yourself or your uke. Sometimes you have to ask uke not to be so compliant.

Evolution doesn't prove God doesn't exist, any more than hammers prove carpenters don't exist.
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Old 10-04-2013, 02:20 AM   #116
Lee Salzman
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Quote:
Stephen Nichol wrote: View Post
Thanks for this Lee. Between your post above and reading this post from Dan in another thread really helps me understand what it is I will feel when I am looking for it.

If I understand correctly, someone who has the most most basic part of In Yo/Yin Yang internalized will be unmovable when pushed upon from any angle on their body while standing naturally, feet shoulder width apart, no deep stances etc.. and even be able to lift one leg at a time while the push is being applied. Generally the push is applied to their upper body.

So until such time as I can go a meet Dan, I can try to find a Taiji (or someone proclaiming internal ability) teacher and ask them to let me try and push them over. If I cannot push them.. it may be worth sticking around to learn the basics.

Would that be a fair assessment?
If they have to take a step, turn away, push back into you in any way, toss you out, or otherwise do some "waza" to deal with your push, then there's not much there for you as regards IP. If, while you are pushing on them, they can make you move, or otherwise feel like no matter what you do you can't feel where the force of your pushing on them is even going, while barely or not moving themselves, and without you feeling how you were moved (in reality some of your own force coming back into you, from many directions at once no less that you can't predict and which you shouldn't be able to feel as your own)... and being tossed explosively does not count (don't be impressed by "fajin")... then maybe they've got some as regards yin and yang for you too.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 10-04-2013 at 02:28 AM.
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Old 10-04-2013, 02:21 AM   #117
akiy
 
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Hi folks,

I'm a bit behind in getting caught up in this thread as I'm currently experiencing limited Internet access. Just wanted to say that I appreciate the shift in tone in this thread from talking about specific people and their intentions to discussing the topic at hand -- thank you all for that.

Let the discussions continue!

Best,

-- Jun

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Old 10-04-2013, 04:10 AM   #118
Alex Megann
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
Gerardo,
Earlier, I mentioned that working on structure is Step One in developing IP, and is a precursor to making an aiki body. The first step of that process is learning how to align the joints so that you are not using dedicated muscle to hold your structure together, and so that force can easily be transferred in a clean "path" from point-of-contact to the ground, and back. Then, you learn to feel and manipulate cross-body connections from foot to opposite shoulder, and to manipulate tanden (dantien), meimon (mingmen) and kwa (not sure what the Japanese term is for that - the femoral joint and inguinal fold area) to receive/absorb and feed/project force both from within and that which is provided by a partner. These are not "stoopid jin tricks," but a methodological approach of systematic training in increments to condition and build an IP/aiki body.

Any authentic internal system has some kind of "dynamic stationary" standing exercise to work the foundational structure and connections, whether it's called zhan zhuang, tenchijin or 13 Points, or whatever. YMMV with these, as not all such exercises are created equal depending on the individual teacher, school and lineage; however, the general intention is to work the structure and connections. And as I stated, I have seen people start to develop structure within months, and be able to absorb a push and to neutralize a pull too. On an elementary level, certainly, with low-level stress from the training partner, but even so, it is the "stuff" of rudimentary skills and basic understanding, and will be built upon continually and forever. It should not take years if the person trains a little every day.

IMO and IME, that feeling of ease, balance and freedom of movement comes along after you've learned how to control your structure so that you are acutely aware of its position at any given time, and of any possibility of imbalance... and can adjust accordingly, without tensing up.
Thanks for that nice summary, Cady. I briefly thought of outlining the exercises I am practising, but quite quickly decided that there are many others on AikiWeb who are much more experienced with this stuff and better able to describe these in context of their applications.

Alex
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Old 10-04-2013, 04:37 AM   #119
Lee Salzman
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
Gerardo,
Earlier, I mentioned that working on structure is Step One in developing IP, and is a precursor to making an aiki body. The first step of that process is learning how to align the joints so that you are not using dedicated muscle to hold your structure together, and so that force can easily be transferred in a clean "path" from point-of-contact to the ground, and back. Then, you learn to feel and manipulate cross-body connections from foot to opposite shoulder, and to manipulate tanden (dantien), meimon (mingmen) and kwa (not sure what the Japanese term is for that - the femoral joint and inguinal fold area) to receive/absorb and feed/project force both from within and that which is provided by a partner. These are not "stoopid jin tricks," but a methodological approach of systematic training in increments to condition and build an IP/aiki body.

Any authentic internal system has some kind of "dynamic stationary" standing exercise to work the foundational structure and connections, whether it's called zhan zhuang, tenchijin or 13 Points, or whatever. YMMV with these, as not all such exercises are created equal depending on the individual teacher, school and lineage; however, the general intention is to work the structure and connections. And as I stated, I have seen people start to develop structure within months, and be able to absorb a push and to neutralize a pull too. On an elementary level, certainly, with low-level stress from the training partner, but even so, it is the "stuff" of rudimentary skills and basic understanding, and will be built upon continually and forever. It should not take years if the person trains a little every day.

IMO and IME, that feeling of ease, balance and freedom of movement comes along after you've learned how to control your structure so that you are acutely aware of its position at any given time, and of any possibility of imbalance... and can adjust accordingly, without tensing up.
I think there is a danger in equating IP with alignment and structure. It is neither in the sense one normally thinks about them, and it is especially not alignment, nor trying to structure the bones of the skeleton. You're not trying to, as we might usually think, "get behind" or "take" force - so please let no one take away the idea that internal power is this, because it is not, and that has already caused much debate on this forum among people who may not appreciate this particular viewpoint.

I made this mistake early on and only started making real progress once I dropped this misconception for good. I had to even give up certain activities like weight lifting (by my own choice) that only served to reinforce this pattern on a subconscious level and prevented me from being able to manifest the ideas despite much effort.

There is a certain form of "structure" that arises from a body that is supported in all directions, but definitely don't think of taking stuff to the ground or making paths or anything like that. There is no one direction or path. You are going from your dantien/hara/tanden/whatever-you-prefer-to-call-it out to everywhere (that includes everywhere in yourself, not just everywhere outside of yourself - "aiki in me before aiki in thee") and it is this that puts you on the floating bridge of heaven, not trying to align joints or make a structure with the bones. Again, forget about ground paths or lines or connecting to someone's center or anything that takes you out of neutral and gives your directionality a bias. If someone comes into contact with your surface, there's no need for you to connect with them, because you were already connected with everything. The ground is not special in this sense - it's just something contacting you, and it is no more privileged than anything else, the end.

Like the surface of inflated balloon, there is a tautness and lack of slack that comes from everywhere on the surface, so everywhere you touch the balloon you feel the integrity of that pressure. But if you were to put a hole in the balloon anywhere, anywhere at all, this nice tautness is gone, the balloon is now a deflated piece of rubber. One little gap in your all-sided support, and your profoundly neutral body is for crap, it is no longer profoundly neutral.

That is in one sense why this is so hard to do, and why it is so hard at first to really understand what the fuss is about - because most likely one has nothing, nothing at all, and doesn't realize it, so one can't feel any absence of the ability. Only when you start to get a little bit of it somewhere, does the daunting task of building that impenetrable surface start to dawn on you... That is, again, the grand irony of it. Someone may think he has something initially, only because, really, he just has nothing and is blissfully unaware.

There are certain conceptions of structure that are certainly powerful and are yet different from this, and they're scattered all over Asian martial arts, but they are not the kind of neutral body that you need as the basis of aiki, so don't make the mistake of conflating them and presenting this idea, like has been presented elsewhere, that they're all the same or somehow equally interchangeable.

Just clarifying...

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 10-04-2013 at 04:51 AM.
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Old 10-04-2013, 05:13 AM   #120
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
IME, if you get good instruction and feedback, it should -not- take many years to develop basic or rudimentary skills. I've seen people start to be able to "do stuff" within 6 months, under the right teacher.

Yes, you have to practice, and practice mindfully. And, there are infinite layers of skill that we'll spend the rest of our lives striving for as we refine and build on what we have. But that is not the same thing as being given the tools at the outset to start building your foundation. If it took years and years to get a foundation in, we'd all be living in grass huts.
As far as I have experienced it, I'm with Cady.

Independent of what I myself can or can't do, the young fellow I have felt earlier this year was able to use this stuff on whatever came up. Push hands, Aikido waza, Aiki-Age, Bokken, Jo, what have you. He could have fought with it effortless.
What I want to say here is that IME this stuff is quite independent of where you come from. Indian, Chinese, Japanese, French boxing, Liverpool nutter, what have you…

Look at some videos of Bill Gleason and if you have the eyes, you will see that he's doing very well with it in "mainstream Aikido", although I would hasten to add that he certainly isn't mainstream at all.

Best,
Bernd
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Old 10-04-2013, 05:46 AM   #121
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: The Way of Aiki

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote: View Post

Like the surface of inflated balloon, there is a tautness and lack of slack that comes from everywhere on the surface, so everywhere you touch the balloon you feel the integrity of that pressure. But if you were to put a hole in the balloon anywhere, anywhere at all, this nice tautness is gone, the balloon is now a deflated piece of rubber. One little gap in your all-sided support, and your profoundly neutral body is for crap, it is no longer profoundly neutral.

Just clarifying...
Of course, it doesn't make us invincible.
A little pin might do.

Pun intended.

Best,
Bernd
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:09 AM   #122
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Mert Gambito wrote: View Post
Dan has an express no-dice policy regarding videos.

As for other forms of dissemination, his training model is simply based on hands-on. Similar to Chris, I've never been asked, nor can I think of anyone in Hawaii who's been asked, not to openly discuss the training model or specific exercises therein. That also applies to what's been imparted here by Mike Sigman and Sam Chin.
FWIW, there are threads in this forum where people have explained some of Dan's exercises in good detail and this was while he was still a participating member here. It doesn't matter what you provide, some people will always hold out their hand and demand more.
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:28 AM   #123
phitruong
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
So, there seem to be lots of descriptions of how to do stuff but it is all in the context of Taichi or other non-Japanese arts. What I am into or after is to explain it in terms of Aikido and stuff more closer to what we normally do. I too have trained elsewhere but when I do Aikido I don't want to do something else, if you know what I mean.
much of the internal stuffs aren't about taichi or hsingi or joe-bob arts. it's about training the foundational body skills. the analogy is that the internal skills equate to water and the arts are containers. water will fit into whatever containers you put it in. If you got a chance to see Hiroshi Ikeda sensei, then you will see how it's done in aikido container. Ikeda mentioned that the internal stuffs are the aikido techniques whereas the waza like shihonage, ikkyo, and so on are aikido movements. you need the techniques to make the movement work. btw, if you got a chance to play with Ikeda sensei, you might want to ask him to slow it down to half speed or slower, in order to feel what going on. otherwise, you will hit the floor and don't know how you get there when he goes full speed.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:02 AM   #124
phitruong
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Re: The Way of Aiki

the way of aiki is like sitting on a bed of nails, watching paint dry, while eating habanero and discussing U.S. politics.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:51 AM   #125
Cady Goldfield
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Re: The Way of Aiki

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Lee Salzman wrote: View Post
I think there is a danger in equating IP with alignment and structure.
Lee, where was it said that IP is alignment and structure? Someone asked how you start. I pointed out that IP and an aiki body -start- with alignment in structure (which, btw is -not- the same thing as "frame" and there's a tendency to conflate structure with frame); i.e., it is one component. Learning to align the joints and create a path for force to travel, is Square One in beginning training but there is more to it than meets the eye. This structure is not just standing with the joints aligned, but a number of subtle tensions at different points of the body that provide the base conditions for power generation; however, they are not in themselves generators -- only the potential for it. They prepare and set up the body for what comes next:

All of the things you're talking about arise from adding other principles of body manipulation to create the six-directional force you're referring to. That's the up-down, back-forward, side-side dynamic tension that is the next layer of work added to the alignment practice. You're working to create what the Chinese systems call "peng" force. Hooold yer horses. We ain't there yet.

We keep getting stalled out because it's a complex subject, and too easy to layer on everything in a heap. If we parse it out step by step, it might be easier for people to follow the path (get a basic understanding of the concept) than if there's a jumble of signs and flashing traffic lights.
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