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Old 01-15-2014, 12:20 PM   #26
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Unifying the theories - Aiki & Levitating Chains

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Better at what?
That's the rub, isn't it. Outside of "do this-feel that" school of training (which I do not in any way criticize) there is almost no objective set of criteria to tell students what they are training for in their Aiki-taiso (they work to train this --done right); aikido waza (they work to train this- done right); weapons work ( they work to train this -- done right). To a practitioner who has "gotten it" in any degree at all, the "right" and "wrong" ways become progressively clearer to judge. But with little in the way of coherent objective explanation to aid the student in self-recognition of right or wrong manners of action, they are at sea, with no chart.

I do not think we are doomed to this though. My efforts at understanding aiki from a bio-mechanical perspective, have been fruitful, for me at least and for many of my students. I have made reference here to key aspects of angular momentum and the behaviors of chains -- particularly the bones considered as a chain of linked rods:

In a serendipitous discovery I recently saw a popular physics trick made the subject of a recent viral video, and which in the terms I now grasp -- seems to illustrate how this principle is directly shown in the behavior of a beaded chain falling out of an elevated bucket.

While a popular and instructive video, the author's conservation of momentum theory proposed as an explanation is wrong. The correct explanation is an understanding of the effect of DYNAMIC rigidity that occurs when a chain of rods is lifted by a continuous rotation:

Quote:
[T]he chain is more like a series of short, rigid 'rods', say the authors, who publish their results today in Proceedings of the Royal Society A1. In their model, each rod is made up of three beads and two connectors. The size of a rod corresponds to the number of beads it takes to turn a section of chain back on itself by 180 degrees (it takes six).

Picking up a portion of rod from the pot with an upward force on one of its ends causes two things to happen, says Biggins. It makes the rod lift, but it also causes it to rotate. The end that is not picked up pushes downwards, and the pot provides a reaction force, he says. "The far end of the rod under those two motions actually goes down, and therefore pushes down. And that gives rise to this extra kick from the pot which drives the fountain.
In other words, once one end of a chain of rods begins a cascade dynamically, the chain of rods as a whole begins to lift and rotate at the other end in a complementary manner. Under gravity, the induced drop over the lip of the cup on one end, is compensated by the lift on the other end, and because the chain under tension is dynamically rigid, a rotation is caused by the immediately lifting segment PUSHING down on the vessel -- which reacts with an equal push UPWARD -- not only adding momentum but because of the rotation of the lifting portion of the segment -- the reaction is a counter-rotation on the resting end of the segment up and outward.

This is a coincidence of contradictory forces in a spiral dynamic (aiki) - the pull on the chain coming out of the bucket (tension), resulting rigidity and reaction forces giving added push (compression) on the chain out of the bucket, and giving it rotation in addition to the added momentum.

In the chain shown in the video demonstration we see the operations of aiki age in the chain rising from the cup, and the action of aiki sage in the descending elements of the chain. In free action these same principles may be deployed laterally and spirally using one's center of mass (dantien/hara ) to the same effect as the more simplistic up-down dynamic of the chain trick under gravity. These dynamics are, by turn, the stiffer, whole body dynamics dominated by torsional stresses, or respectively by the looser, pendulum action as with free chains -- and freely shifting between the two modes -- which are, mathematically speaking, directly related.

Speaking from personal experience I find the the former is favored at early stages of introduction by Yoskinkan, for example, later moving to combination with looser action. Iwama follows a similar way of progression, though in Saito's more programmatic and methodologically different way. ASU is a more eclectic bag with a eye for the expression of "principles" expressed in Saotome's views, in both tighter and more loose configuration of actions, in Aiki taiso, tai-jutsu and weapons work; Tohei's approach was fundamentally focused on the Aiki taiso, sometimes (it seems to me at least) to the near exclusion of studying application (at least in some quarters).

Aiki is the development of the body's ability to naturally -- and ultimately reflexively -- modulate its own rigidities and flexibilities of structure under dynamic conditions to form -- or to defeat the formation of -- these kinds of dynamics in connected structures (another person's body/weapon).

What was near to being lost was the "feel" of the Aiki in the body communicated in the inimitably intuitive Japanese mode of transmission. Some are finding western ways to emulate that -- and to good effect it seems. What we stand to gain in addition is a more Western and better developed objective understanding of the art, to make its transmission less dependent on correct enabling of physical intuitions across culturally-bound modes of transmission which tend -- at least IMO -- to work less well in our culture.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:33 PM   #27
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Unifying the theories

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Mario Tobias wrote: View Post
In my experience, ....

Actually there is the 3rd path which is first go through the long route and realize that there is a shorter route.
Yes, true, but if that was your experience, you are probably not qualified to teach the shorter route - and therein lies the problem as it is what we may prefer to teach. Bruce Lee tried to teach the essence of Wing Chun, but, my criticism is, Bruce Lee learned more than just the essence.

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Old 01-15-2014, 09:47 PM   #28
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Unifying the theories

Better at what indeed. I have been developing things in several directions for awhile now: Developing power, maintaining power through movement, matching it with speed, developing/maintaining a strong base (structure) while standing or moving, developing sensitivity and softness, and developing the ability to mess with uke's energy. Sometimes I wonder if it is even Aikido but I think it is because I can make it work to effect techniques. To do this you have to completely abandon the notion of kata, of course (but you first have to know the waza before you start to ignore them). Most of what I am trying is written somewhere or other on my website anyway, but few seem interested. I have determined my own circle - Aiki-no-Kenkyuukai - and I have just one member = Me. Ha ha.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 01-15-2014 at 09:51 PM.

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Old 01-16-2014, 10:18 AM   #29
Cliff Judge
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Re: Unifying the theories - Aiki & Levitating Chains

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
That's the rub, isn't it. Outside of "do this-feel that" school of training (which I do not in any way criticize) there is almost no objective set of criteria to tell students what they are training for in their Aiki-taiso (they work to train this --done right); aikido waza (they work to train this- done right); weapons work ( they work to train this -- done right). To a practitioner who has "gotten it" in any degree at all, the "right" and "wrong" ways become progressively clearer to judge. But with little in the way of coherent objective explanation to aid the student in self-recognition of right or wrong manners of action, they are at sea, with no chart.

I do not think we are doomed to this though. My efforts at understanding aiki from a bio-mechanical perspective, have been fruitful, for me at least and for many of my students.
Erick, fruitful in what way? Do you mean you have been able to understand aiki from a biomechanics perspective?

What does that get you?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Speaking from personal experience I find the the former is favored at early stages of introduction by Yoskinkan, for example, later moving to combination with looser action. Iwama follows a similar way of progression, though in Saito's more programmatic and methodologically different way. ASU is a more eclectic bag with a eye for the expression of "principles" expressed in Saotome's views, in both tighter and more loose configuration of actions, in Aiki taiso, tai-jutsu and weapons work; Tohei's approach was fundamentally focused on the Aiki taiso, sometimes (it seems to me at least) to the near exclusion of studying application (at least in some quarters).

Aiki is the development of the body's ability to naturally -- and ultimately reflexively -- modulate its own rigidities and flexibilities of structure under dynamic conditions to form -- or to defeat the formation of -- these kinds of dynamics in connected structures (another person's body/weapon).

What was near to being lost was the "feel" of the Aiki in the body communicated in the inimitably intuitive Japanese mode of transmission. Some are finding western ways to emulate that -- and to good effect it seems. What we stand to gain in addition is a more Western and better developed objective understanding of the art, to make its transmission less dependent on correct enabling of physical intuitions across culturally-bound modes of transmission which tend -- at least IMO -- to work less well in our culture.
Personally, I cannot comprehend how anything like skill in martial arts, or even simply skill in movement or use of the body, can be attained without physical intuition. How does objective understanding help? It sounds as though you are suggesting that a student may be better able to manifest aiki if he watches some physics experiments on youtube.

To some extent, I think an objective understanding of a martial skill could aid in contriving a training regimen which is more effective, of fixes problems with, the attaining of skill by the practitioner. I think modern combatives research does this. Although modern combatives people certainly do not throw away traditional methods if they believe they work.

And at the end of the day, it never seems to matter if the student "understands" what they are doing. In fact, since it was a standard mode for koryu to absolutely WITHHOLD from a student knowledge that would lead to understanding of what they are doing until they achieved a certain level of physical intuition, I think you need to directly address that. How is it better for a student on the mat to have to mentally process everything before they do it? What happens when they think they understand something but are incorrect?
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Old 01-16-2014, 03:40 PM   #30
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Unifying the theories - Aiki & Levitating Chains

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Erick, fruitful in what way? Do you mean you have been able to understand aiki from a biomechanics perspective?

What does that get you?
A pretty good amount...

A nonsubjective, nonculture-bound set of terminology and concepts of universal application.

That's something .... For instance, the weapons interactions known as suri-age, suri-otoshi, kiri-age and kiri-otoshi -- which describe a fundamental aspect of interacting in aiki dynamically -- are simply different orientations in applying one singular thing -- a dynamic shear. Kokyu tanden ho is the application of applying stresses within the body to create static stress shears -- contradictory forces (tension/compression) with a juji/right-angle orientation -- and shifting their orientation and location in connected structures. It is somewhat more complesx than that -- because the paths of correct action for me, dynamic or more static are me following the zero shear lines -- and placing his action on maximal shear lines -- In-Yo, in other words.

Quote:
Personally, I cannot comprehend how anything like skill in martial arts, or even simply skill in movement or use of the body, can be attained without physical intuition.

How does objective understanding help? It sounds as though you are suggesting that a student may be better able to manifest aiki if he watches some physics experiments on youtube.
I think you can learn more from the video of the inanimate chain than from most videos of real people.

I completely agree, though -- physical intuition must be developed -- but with an objectively consistent conceptual language -- one can give correct -- and REPEATABLY consistent -- PHYSICAL imagery to assist the development of that physical intuition.

Physical intuition learning alone WILL suffice in a direct relationship of training -- I wholeheartedly agree, also. But experience proves beyond doubt that three generations on, the details of that kind of pure experiential intuition get obscured -- like the game of Telephone -- the message becomes muddy, indistinct and verges away from what was originally meant. The present movements on IP/IS are profound testament to that fact.

Rooted in a set of concepts with the conceptual rigor always gives an objective reference that is not dependent on consistency of message and transmission. Saito, Shioda, and Tohei for example and to their respective credit, each tried in their own ways to impose that that rigor in training methods for an intuitionally based transmission system -- but the diversity of even their respective first generation efforts at describing the concepts to frame their methods, easily illustrates the nature of the problem. Objective description framing physical intuition development is indisputable to consistent transmission.

Quote:
And at the end of the day, it never seems to matter if the student "understands" what they are doing. In fact, since it was a standard mode for koryu to absolutely WITHHOLD from a student knowledge that would lead to understanding of what they are doing until they achieved a certain level of physical intuition, I think you need to directly address that.
They are not and should not be separate but complementary. And we are not koryu. We are Westerners -- we share basic and even intricate knowledge widely -- more widely than most people have any practical use for . AND YET, as I recall we showed the rather superior martial character of our processes of democratizing knowledge to the Home Islands, quite some time ago. Judging by the Bullet train, Akashi Kaikyo bridge and the Osaka airport -- they certainly adopted those lessons in almost every other sphere of endeavor.

I -- literally -- keep a chain handy to show some of these concepts -- and did so long before I saw the levitating chain video. I illustrate aiki sage on the chain -- lifting the other end off the floor with proper action, and then I demonstrate the same thing on the student. I've seen lights snap on. On the other end of the spectrum, kokyu tanden ho is correctly described and illustrated as the same process as picking a chain up off the ground. In my partner, I am incrementally picking up each successive link of his body, until most of him is being supported by me and not by his own base, and what is left in contact with the ground is not sufficient to control what happens next.

Quote:
What happens when they think they understand something but are incorrect?
Usually, I try to correct it. You ?

Last edited by Erick Mead : 01-16-2014 at 03:45 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:37 AM   #31
Cliff Judge
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Re: Unifying the theories

Ah. So you are essentially trying to develop some imagery you can verbally communicate to students that might help them figure out their own ways to internalize the concepts as you understand them. Mainstream Aikido training involves sessions that are essentially seminars, with an instructor demonstrating to a large class and everybody working on things with each other. This would fit that better than a model that was developed for smaller groups and more intensive hands-on instruction from senior to junion.
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:24 PM   #32
danielajames
 
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Re: Unifying the theories

The kinetic (sometimes also kinematic chain) is such a valuable tool in many areas of human movement for power development ...why not aikido too?

Love the chain video!

Daniel James, Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:34 PM   #33
danielajames
 
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Re: Unifying the theories

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
From what I have seen over 30 years of training, many people reach a certain level - doing the techniques pretty well - and then they just stay there. And many slowly get worse over time due to not training hard or often enough. They teach but rarely train. It is very common. If they do well, they maintain what they have, though they may improve in other directions - like being a good teacher, or stretching, or whatever. If they didn't have high dan grade status (being in with the in crowd) to keep them up there they would have likely been ignored long ago. Students often can't spot this until they have been around awhile.

It is very hard to spot or admit in the self. Heck, might even be me!
There is a thing in sports science/ motor learning called blocked learning , that is doing things by repetition to get better. Others thing are random learning, stress training etc.... Different methods of learning have advantages and disadvantageous. Blocked learning develops skills to a point and quite rapidly too, continued blocked practice builds confidence however after a point the skills can actually go backward. Aikido training has many learning elements in its practice - which is great, but its easy to imagine that after 30 years it could all be just 'blocked learning' and so there little learning and even some decline.

Daniel James, Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
ph 0413 001 844, 1593 Logan Rd, Mt.Gravatt, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
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