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Old 08-08-2014, 01:57 PM   #176
jonreading
 
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

First, I agree with Keith. I've known Erick for a while and I think he is crazy. . Seriously, we have talked and I applaud that he actively seeks to put an answer to what he teaches. To that argument, I think there is such a time when you need to demonstrate and transmit what you do. While its seems somewhat brazen to make the accusation, we essentially pay instructors to teach seminars because we know they can demonstrate (and transmit) what they know. We seek the knowledge we want to emulate and that crafts what our aikido will look like. Yes, there are demonstrable metrics of success in aikido - regardless of your "goals." Yes, some ways are better than others. We pick dojos, partners, seminars and organizations that best suit our goals and expectations in aikido.

Second, this is not a Dan thread. Dan teaches one of several different methodologies of internal power. Tangentially, I believe internal power is critical to aiki, which is critical to aikido. Having been the idiot and the end of Dan's hands on more than one occasion... He is not a parlor trick. Honestly, he actually has enough internal power to lift you off your feet. No reflexes, no cooperation. He can simply move his entire body against any point of contact. I know several people who are doing this training and it is impressive and far less complicated than you would expect. I believe there are several other internal power people available for training, not to mention several Chinese arts that work on the same thing. Be clear whether the problem is internal power, or an individual. Personally, I think most of us see that kind of demonstrations and go, "huh, that doesn't look like what I do at all." Aikido tend to answer this question with: "We do that," "we can be different," or WTF?"

Clearly, the value of education is important. We publish magazines on which schools offer the best education. Why should it matter? Math is a fact, right? Why not go to State university instead of Harvard? Why not let an English teacher teach science? Because the curriculum is only part of the learning experience. Heck, we can't even agree on the curriculum, let alone who teaches it best. Not to mention that some of us have expectations about what we want to learn, regardless of its "correctness." What's worse, we'll spend time and effort worrying about what someone else is doing...

To Mary's point, I would argue Aikido is not necessarily about finding commonality, although I suppose not with George Sensei at least. As it turns out, I am flying George Sensei down South in December (shameless plug) because I feel he is one of the best instructors in the US. He is not teaching what I do, but I am sure as hell trying to do what he teaches.

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Old 08-08-2014, 10:40 PM   #177
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

Quote:
Mert Gambito wrote: View Post
To each his/her own in terms of doing what's necessary to understand and utilize IP. It's certainly worth the collective effort.
Hallelujah. Amen.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:15 PM   #178
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

Quote:
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Surely with all the thought you've put into this and the confidence of your conclusions you've figured out how to actually do something with it, right?
One or two things... You? Plus the crazy... like Jon said. Never underestimate the crazy...

More to the point -- what IS the point ? Not real martial effectiveness -- not in the reality of modern conflict -- not by any stretch. 7.62 and 9's cap the best and most exquisite traditional martial artist I have ever seen -- or ever will see. Marquis of Queensberry died -- a really, really long time ago. We have to be about something else. I don't fight for prizes -- other than my head.

It used to be said that the beginning of wisdom was to call things by their right name. So what is the point of this -- if not to learn more about -- and more concretely, how the body works and to command the body --and the mind -- better -- for its own sake?

If so, then what is your point? To do something you don't have any way to objectively describe and just grunt collective appreciation of whatever it is you have managed to do but can't be bothered to put a right name to? Truly, I think better of you than that. Would that be respectful or disrespectful of the art, since I assume you have the capacity to do better in understanding, and yet just don't want to ?

I can't comprehend trying to train that way. I've seen too many good ways train to turn my nose up at any. I can't imagine doing it, and haven't yet. Nothing I've worked out is dependent on nor favors any training method. It's about the body and how it works -- or fails -- as the case may be. Method is not my game. I truly think aiki is at root anti-method -- and I suspect you would agree.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 08-09-2014, 01:58 AM   #179
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
It used to be said that the beginning of wisdom was to call things by their right name.
Yes.
Crazy thing is: They've got names allready. A quite rich vocabulary exists. For centuries. It's all there. And it is as precise as languages can be.

But: It expresses a (seemingliy) different paradigm not only of understanding the world and how it came into being but also of living within the world. So names like "pulling silk", "opening the body", "extending qi", "guiding qi", ... are not understood right away.
I'm investigating into this language for some time now. And it strike me literally every day anew, how clear, precice and workable this language is.

The daoist texts, referring especially to those dealing with internal alchemy, the classics of taiji, the teachings of koryū, the words of Ueshiba osensei:
The are calling things by their right name.
Whoever has ears ought to hear ...

To relabel things by giving them a new name which originate from one's own familiar paradigm will curtail them, reduce them to only the parts of their meaning that fits into one's own paradigm. By doing one will only deal with that, what one allready knows. And will miss the encounter with the new, unfamiliar, strange. Which - in every language - is what bears the potential to change oneself.

So, to explain the world or our body in mechanical terms does not mean, to speak "objective truth". Such a thing doesn't exists. It only means to explain things within a certain paradigm. And thus within the limitations of this certain paradigm.
(Btw. In most contemporary definitions truth is even defined as that what works. That's what differentiates "true" and "not true". Distinctions exist for all I know in how "works" is defined.)

Quote:
So what is the point of this -- if not to learn more about -- and more concretely, how the body works and to command the body --and the mind -- better -- for its own sake?
I understand that you have gone your way to learn and understand. And I understand that it works for you very well. And thats fine with me as long as you don't claim understanding the world - or our body - in mechanical terms would mean to speak "objective truth.

But I am curious why didn't you try to go the way towards the old texts, toward the different paradigm, toward the strange names and so on?
When I first encountered the terms qi and yin an yang and others I started to read about daoism, tried to find out what did "they" mean with this words and concepts. I tried to learn as much as I could about "them" and their worldview. By now, two decades later, I think I understand some of the names a little bit ...
At least I can use those names, or calling those names, to make them work, to make my body (and soul) do certain things. And - what is an interesting corrective in my eyes - I can teach them. I can explain, and show them and make student reproduce them. It works. Calling things by their right names, originally given to them hundrets of years ago.

I practice with some experienced and well educated body workers. When it comes to discussions about connecting those old terms to a scientific worldview, we don'we have interesting debates about the function of fascia in our body and we talk about the dynamic organisation of our body as a tensegrity construction.
Do you have this also in your explanatory models?
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Old 08-09-2014, 02:57 AM   #180
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
To relabel things by giving them a new name which originate from one's own familiar paradigm will curtail them, reduce them to only the parts of their meaning that fits into one's own paradigm. By doing one will only deal with that, what one allready knows. And will miss the encounter with the new, unfamiliar, strange. Which - in every language - is what bears the potential to change oneself.
Brilliant!
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Old 08-09-2014, 08:16 AM   #181
Keith Larman
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

Quote:
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I practice with some experienced and well educated body workers. When it comes to discussions about connecting those old terms to a scientific worldview, we don'we have interesting debates about the function of fascia in our body and we talk about the dynamic organisation of our body as a tensegrity construction.
Do you have this also in your explanatory models?
Actually I'm not sure I understand that question...

The reason you do those things is to deepen understanding by fleshing out meaning, expanding on meaning, and possibly integrating a more nuanced understanding and theory by bringing in newer ideas and understandings that help explicate and expand. Because while the old language may contain a lot of good stuff and even contain a lot more than we give it credit for, it doesn't follow that it is therefore the only explanation, a complete explanation, or the *best* explanation. I don't throw away the old vocabulary at all -- I used a few words last night teaching a class as a matter of fact. With students I've worked with a long time who I've already spent the time trying to get them to understand what they mean. The words become shorthand for a larger, deeper understanding. A placeholder. My goal is not to replace the placeholder, but to further expand and understand the "whatever" those words reference. And that's why you go in to other directions, look at other things, and why you enjoy those conversations with the body work people. And with those doing Pilates. And those doing so-called "functional" fitness work. The ideas. The connections. The expansion of understanding of the concepts the words point at.

Yes, I agree that many of the old explanations often contain a virtual gold mine of information. My profession is in an age-old craft and I'm constantly struck by the depth and breadth of traditional methods and understandings. And while the notion that the ideal temperature for quenching a heated Japanese sword of certain styles when the color "looks like the night-time moon on a clear night in August" does tell you quite a bit, today we have these devices we can point at a orangish glowing hot object, measure the temperature to a remarkably precise temperature, and then are able to quantify what that is, study what the changing crystalline structures in the steel are doing at that temperature, and then possibly have a better way to describe what was happening way back when and understand *why* that color shift was so important. You see, it's an issue of blackbody radiation that marks the phase shift in crystalline structures from pearlite to austentite. At that point when quenched the less insulated edge steel undergoes a diffusionless transformation in to martensitic steel while the more insulated back steel cools more slowly allowing a transformation back to pearlitic steel, or basically softer but resilient steel structures found at room temperatures.

Or I can say it's when the steel resembles the moon in August or February. And that worked well for a long time too. Yup. But if you understand modern metallurgy, knowing the modern metallurgy as well gives one hell of a larger context from within which to understand why it might look like that moon in August in Japan...

Me, I like to understand things more. Is it necessary to know all that stuff? Obviously not, folk made swords quite well for centuries. Me, I think understanding why the phase shift of the hot steel at AC3 causes a coloration "wave" to flow through the blade as the steel's structures phase shift releasing energy causing a sudden change and emission of light of a certain wavelength is a bit more fleshed out than just saying "it looks like the moon". And being able to explain what's happening without having to reference the moon color in Japan in August might be a wee bit more widely useful nowadays. And all the connections that forms can help someone understand why the blade may look like that August moon a lot faster. And why it matters. And what's going on.

I am fine with those who think the old words are sufficient. Good for you. They're not good enough for me, however, not because I think you need to understand more to be able to do it, but because I'm a guy who reads constantly, wonders constantly, and has been doing this long enough where I love to fiddle, explore, and try new things out. And if I can flesh out more than a sometimes extremely subjective feel for what color the moon is in to a more precise understanding of not only where that temperature lies, but also understand why it varies depending on steel type, and what it signifies is actually happening "under the hood" in the structural nature of the steel, and what's going on with the carbon and why that can be a good thing... I'm a happy guy. It also explains why they would warn not to go above that heat for any length of time. You know why, right? Because the moon any brighter wouldn't be an august moon any longer... That's why, right? No, it's because different alloy compositions combined with the time spent at temp, time spent possibly above temp, etc. all cause subtle changes to the steel. And it explains why some schools had larger grain and surface effects, what benefits that gave, what disadvantages it raised. And why then over time they learned to thicken the spine on this style, but could keep it thinner on that other one. And why the edge angle was less acute on the more brittle steel of this style. And on and on and on.

Whatever gets you from point A to B.

Last edited by Keith Larman : 08-09-2014 at 08:22 AM.

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Old 08-09-2014, 08:35 AM   #182
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

And all that said, I still do this stuff in the photo on a regular basis. Whole body training on a very hot day. 8 feet long, 1.5 inch schedule 40 PVC. Just pole shaking. Lately I've managed to get connected up but I can feel the dantien (ooooh, there's one of those words) moving around out of control. Now that I can feel "it" getting pulled around I've been better able to work on getting it more under control. My daughter was watching me recently and opined that my belly looked like a soccer ball inside a clothes dryer... Which corresponds quite well with how it felt... I'm trying to get that soccer ball to not get bounced around so much and connect up better. You know, dantien... Or soccer ball in a dryer. Whatever works for you.

But I'm pretty sure I'm not a dryer and I know I don't have a soccer ball in my gut...
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Old 08-09-2014, 12:47 PM   #183
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?


Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
You know, dantien... Or soccer ball in a dryer. Whatever works for you.
Yes! If it works for you: Wonderfull! Fine with me. Really.

It's just:
There are three dantien in the body. The are identically named because of there identical function. So "soccer ball in a dryer" cuts off the linguistic connection to between those three areas in the body. While arts like qi gong particularly try to get them connected in their practice.
Also the "soccer ball in a dryer" doesn't indicate the linguistic connection of the dantien to the practice of neidan. Which is the background of Ueshiba talking of the cross of yin/yang-kan/li.

Well, my lower dantian is a ball of a white shining weave. Thats the image, that works for me.
But just like your soccer ball it is personal, it is only my name for that thing.

Quote:
Me, I like to understand things more.
Yes. Me too! That is why I am studying the theoreticals aspects of aikidō, aiki and the related stuff so much.
Being a theologian I've worked all the time in the context of the healthcare system: Hospital, psychiatric hospital, facilities for the disabled ... So although I myself have no medical education, I had to learn a lot about how our body works extra occupational (? learning while doing a job).
Plus: I have a lot of qualified person to talk to in my aikidō context.
I is my experience that for a lot of, if not the most phenomena that are taught in the internal arts there are no scientific explanations by now.

It's not that I don't like to understand things more. But unlike your metallic example there are a lot of things we practice every day. But that can't be really translated to scientific language and understanding.

PS: My question was addressed to Erick. But thank you for your inspiring answer!
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Old 08-09-2014, 01:52 PM   #184
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Yes.
Crazy thing is: They've got names allready. A quite rich vocabulary exists. For centuries. It's all there. And it is as precise as languages can be.
But: It expresses a (seemingliy) different paradigm not only of understanding the world and how it came into being but also of living within the world. So names like "pulling silk", "opening the body", "extending qi", "guiding qi", ... are not understood right away.
I'm investigating into this language for some time now. And it strike me literally every day anew, how clear, precice and workable this language is.
...
But I am curious why didn't you try to go the way towards the old texts, toward the different paradigm, toward the strange names and so on?
Which approach to physical description has advanced human knowledge the furthest? By all accounts, the "traditional" approaches have come close to losing the transmission of key concepts and knowledge -- repeatedly - and in many arts. I don't deny their utility when understood their own terms -- but there are serious risks to consistent transmission.

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Calling things by their right names, originally given to them hundrets of years ago.
I wouldn't invest in phlogiston futures, if I were you...

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
I practice with some experienced and well educated body workers. When it comes to discussions about connecting those old terms to a scientific worldview, we don'we have interesting debates about the function of fascia in our body and we talk about the dynamic organisation of our body as a tensegrity construction.
Do you have this also in your explanatory models?
Tensegrity is a clear aspect of human physiology. How that fact can be used - beyond its innate connectivity and resulting resonance aspects -- is less clear. Fascia have profound significance as do certain biomechanical inptus Hormonal cascades (oxytocin, histamine) -- modulate smooth muscle contraction creating stabilizing and unifying effects-- and these do reach some of Ueshiba's concerns with "Love-Budo" and the spirit of loving protection, as the mind has demonstrable affects on the body in these ways. Vibrations (furitama - tekubi furi) also cause such smooth muscle fascia effects (e.g. -- clenched hands often seen from raking or wood-splitting) and may tie the tensegrity sensitivity of the body as a static whole to the fascia action in manipulating structure. This area is very suggestive -- but not nearly as well understood or clearly shown as working the reflexive actions in the body.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 08-09-2014, 03:09 PM   #185
Keith Larman
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
It's just:
There are three dantien in the body. The are identically named because of there identical function. So "soccer ball in a dryer" cuts off the linguistic connection to between those three areas in the body. While arts like qi gong particularly try to get them connected in their practice.
And therein lies the reason why I promised myself to stop having these conversations. Fully aware of that. The description was one my daughter gave which I found rather humorous but wasn't intended to go much further than that. But we all tend to impute the meaning we want to what we see, hear and read. Even those of us who think we have the correct insights. Myself included.

In the end it does not matter to me all that much. The good thing is that this did remind me why I truly dislike these conversations. Too many crossed wires even when done in person. So I'll go back to my reading which is, ironically enough, late period Wittgenstein. I have been rereading that all while trying to finish a biography of Dietrich Boenhoffer. Gonna have to balance that out with something a little less, um, Germanic...

Carry on.

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Old 08-09-2014, 04:35 PM   #186
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

The series of photos Chris refers to demonstrate the body's reflexive reaction to becoming unbalanced and in fear of being harmed. It is called The Righting Reflex.

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Old 08-09-2014, 05:15 PM   #187
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Not just theorizing ...being practiced for years and years..in different ways but valid all the same. We can train how we train and talk about it, here and other places. It is a discussion forum after all. A wonderful place to share ideas.
Actually, I was talking to Erick concerning his theories, so unless you've been practicing with him for years and years I'm not sure what your point is.

Sadly, not everything is valid, and not everything works - at all or as well.

Yes, everybody is free to train however they like, but that doesn't mean that all methods will lead to the same place - and there's nothing wrong with that. Not everybody wants to go to the same places.

As for sharing ideas - in the past you've protested vociferously when people of a certain outlook share ideas, so I'm not sure what you mean here either. Sharing ideas is fine, but that doesn't mean that everybody must agree - a discussion forum is just that, for discussions. If people want to post their ideas and share them without critique then the Internet has other types of venues for that.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-10-2014, 07:06 AM   #188
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

I think calling things by the name they have in a special cultural context, does not mean that they do not exist somewhere else and can be described with other terms driving from other backgrounds.
In every part of the world people had to solve the same problems.
In medieval books about fencing, ( for example Talhofer, Liechtenauer) the instructions are similar to the use of the body in chinese arts. The coccyx is tucked under, the spine is straighten up, the body is connected an loaded like a bowstring.
In my opinion it seems very unlikely that only in china people found out how to use the potential of the human body and how the mechanics of the body work.

To bring it to perfection, and to combine it with fighting skills and spiritual development might be something that medieval knights belonging to a christian order also could have experienced.
The terms in which they described this, should differ from chinese language.

Last edited by MRoh : 08-10-2014 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 08-10-2014, 11:58 AM   #189
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

As an issue of ordering... I think we are starting to get into some transmission comments and away from the demonstration comments...

As a broad brush answer... Obviously, we are all still trying to figure out what's going on. For the most part, the current aikido people have trained within a tradition and curriculum for some number of years. Arguably, the system has not produced another O Sensei. Arguably, the system has not produced another Tohei, Shioda, etc. This may not be bad, but it is different. I find it interesting that some of our heavy weights are migrating away from "traditional" instruction and demonstration in an effort to illustrate and communicate what they are doing.

Is it really fair to commit to 30 years of instruction in order to practice aikido to a level of competence? We have some small number of individuals who understand and do aikido to an advanced level; do we want to constrain their instruction? Do you think they have 30 years to invest in your training to make sure you pick up what they are putting down? There's learning and there's training. I'm not sure if we aren't confusing "learning" aikido for "training" aikido. When I played baseball I learned how to throw, and run and field and hit. I then practiced those core skills for some number of years. Sure, I picked up tricks over the years, but guess what I always did?

At some point, we evaluate our training. Am I better than I was last year? 5 years ago? 10 years ago? Comparatively, we can evaluate our progress against our sister dojos? Why did friend A progress faster than I did - we've been training just as long? Why can Karate friend B eat my lunch? She's been training for less time than I have? In the beginning, we'll find excuses - better instruction, more time, easier drive, more money, different values. Eventually, you either see beyond that or you don't.

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Old 08-10-2014, 12:11 PM   #190
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

There is also the point that some people are looking for other than what they have because something is missing. An assumption is made that if it is missing from student A then Student B from another dojo must be missing it it too because it is Aikido after all.

As we see on this forum, Aikido means different things to different people. If ki is missing from your training and tradition it does not mean it is missing from say from say, Joe Curran's aikido. He does not seem to be looking for anything other than what he has. I bet he is as centered and as strong as a Mack Truck.

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Old 08-10-2014, 06:46 PM   #191
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

I believe we inherit the responsibility to seek the aikido we want to train. If your training is inconsistent with your understanding of aikido, then you have an obligation to resolve that inconsistency. Your physical skill is a representation of your understanding of Aikido. This is part of the "show me your wu shu", or as I learned it, "you can't hide who you are on the mat." Aikido can mean different things to different people. The problem is when what we think is not what we do.

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Old 08-11-2014, 02:26 AM   #192
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

Quote:
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... this did remind me why I truly dislike these conversations ...
Sorry for that. I didn't mean to evoke bad feelings. I just like a lot to discuss linguistic and related issues.
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Old 08-11-2014, 01:20 PM   #193
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

Quote:
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There's learning and there's training. I'm not sure if we aren't confusing "learning" aikido for "training" aikido.
Yes, there is learning AND there is training.

To have set oneself high standards requires continuous training. To maintain standards at a high level also requires very intensive training.
Many people draw a line under the chapter "training" to early and begin to teach.

To produce a Tohei ore a Shioda special circumstances are neccessary, they don't exist any longer.

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Do you think they have 30 years to invest in your training to make sure you pick up what they are putting down?
Yes, my teacher had, and I'm glad.
After more then 30 years of trainig in different martial arts I still enjoy "normal" training, although other things I practice are growing, I continue to "move" as long as I can, because my body is used to it and needs this feeling.

My teacher tells us to train as much as possible, and to develop our body and quality of movement as far as possible and not to move like a retirement pensioner, also if we could throw people with small and effective movements just standing there and sending uke flying.
To be able to do this (what is also fun) does not mean that one has to stop moving and developing his ability to move to a higher level, ore from a certain age, to keep his level.
Many people cease before they really become good for whatever reason, thats always sad to observe.
The main issue for me is to avoid stagnation.
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:35 PM   #194
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
As an issue of ordering... I think we are starting to get into some transmission comments and away from the demonstration comments...
In fairness, the whole IHTBF argument is from a position that transmission requires demonstration -- so I don't think they are really different discussions,... I think there is definite and valid point to that position -- I just don't think it is an all-consuming one... Mainly because I think that people also feel things that they do not understand, and things can happen to them that they are ill-equipped to "feel" in the conscious cause and effect sense.

It is in these areas -- areas in which aiki operates --that some objective applied physiology is -- IMO -- a non-negotiable. And the old systems agree with that approach. They approved of seeking this kind of knowledge. It is just that in most of areas of physiology and mechanics (not without some functionally significant exceptions -- acupuncture, perhaps) we have far outstripped any traditional knowledge of the body and its exploitable strengths and weaknesses. How can we not use that?

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
At some point, we evaluate our training. Am I better than I was last year? 5 years ago? 10 years ago?
Indisputably important.
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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Comparatively, we can evaluate our progress against our sister dojos?
there's the rub. Compare what, exactly? And on what measures, qualitatively ?

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"And in current rankings on the "IT" scale -- in the combined teams division:

-- Laughing Buddha dojo fell short of first place by a narrow margin to the incumbent champion Spastic Cranes -- the Buddhas losing 3 IHTBF's to the Cranes' dominant 5 IHTBF's

... and this despite prevailing in the preliminaries with a stunning 6 Intents upset to the Spastic Cranes uncharacteristically poor 3 Intents flop.

...And now in the acupuncture final -- still in progress -- Over to you, Bob ..."

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:02 AM   #195
jonreading
 
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

I would agree, demonstration is a part of transmission and they both are part of the education process. The problem is when you have demonstration inconsistent with transmission, i.e., "I can do it, but I don't know how or why so I can't transmit it." Ikeda sensei uses the analogy of good [baseball] players who do not make good coaches. I think "IHTBF" is actually a claim that demonstration is part of transmission. I was only distinguishing the separation in context of the thread not going down the path of transmission, but remaining focused on demonstration. Sorry for the confusion.

In my previous post I referred to expectation of learning. I am too lazy to post them, but there have been many threads over the years on Aikiweb concerning the application of aiki in a variety of different circumstances. We talk about using aikido in life and we'll relate a story of how we used aikido in golf, or swimming, or flower arranging or any number of things. I am not sure that I buy the argument we cannot find commonality in application and compare success in other arts. If you can tell me you used aikido in calligraphy, you can tell me how you used aiki throwing a punch with a karate girl.

I think the problem is sometimes the metric is less-than-impressive. For example, I may play judo against an very good player. I will lose, but maybe I last 5 seconds instead of 3. Good randori may last 10 seconds instead of 5. There are metrics of success and there are metrics of success we want to use.

Going back to some demo material, I like it when demos reach out to common ground when demonstrating aiki. We all punch, we all push and we don't need to be experts to appreciate how that feels.

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Old 08-13-2014, 02:46 AM   #196
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
We all punch, we all push and we don't need to be experts to appreciate how that feels.
Really?
Manyt people in Aikido don't know how to punch correctly, and possibly never felt a hard punch.
If you have not felt, you don't know the difference between a boxing puch, a karate punch, a systema punch, ore how it feels to be punched by someone applying aiki.

There are punches that knock you out, some punches projekt you against the next wall, and others let you collapse where you stand, ore give you the feeling something is expolding inside your body.

We trained a technique in goju-ryu-karate that is a loosely looking punch with the heel of the hand to the stomach, done with a slight rotation from the hip. If you project youer force in a wrong way, uke stumbles back some steps and most of the Impact is lost, but maybe people say whow, thats power.
But if you do it wright, with connection to the dantien, and let the force "drop" on uke, uke collapses where he stands. It doesn't look like it feels, but it's really difficult.
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Old 08-13-2014, 04:09 AM   #197
Chris Li
 
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
There is also the point that some people are looking for other than what they have because something is missing. An assumption is made that if it is missing from student A then Student B from another dojo must be missing it it too because it is Aikido after all.

As we see on this forum, Aikido means different things to different people. If ki is missing from your training and tradition it does not mean it is missing from say from say, Joe Curran's aikido. He does not seem to be looking for anything other than what he has. I bet he is as centered and as strong as a Mack Truck.
It certainly isn't difficult to make the argument that there was a problem in the transmission from Morihei Ueshiba. Stan Pranin did it, and Ellis Amdur wrote an entire book that touched on the subject. Of course, that argument has also been hashed over on these forums repeatedly over the years.

It is understandable that, if true, this would be uncomfortable and difficult to accept to many with an investment in conventional Aikido that may span decades. One of the most common responses is to argue that the transmission may have stuttered in some lineages, but not others (usually one's own).

Is it true or not in the case of the people involved in this thread? I have no idea - I've felt a lot of people, but I've never felt a number of the people in this thread in person. I do know that some thousands of people have felt Dan and come away convinced, many of them posting their experiences on these very forums. Where are the testimonials for the others?

The arguments have been made, repeatedly over the years, my suggestion now is that people would be best served by going out and feeling all of the parties involved and deciding for themselves whether there's any meat on those bones.

Lastly, people may be interested in what happened when Meyer Goo, a former student of Morihei Ueshiba and Koichi Tohei did just that.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-13-2014, 06:58 AM   #198
jonreading
 
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

Quote:
Markus Rohde wrote: View Post
Really?
Manyt people in Aikido don't know how to punch correctly, and possibly never felt a hard punch.
If you have not felt, you don't know the difference between a boxing puch, a karate punch, a systema punch, ore how it feels to be punched by someone applying aiki.

There are punches that knock you out, some punches projekt you against the next wall, and others let you collapse where you stand, ore give you the feeling something is expolding inside your body.

We trained a technique in goju-ryu-karate that is a loosely looking punch with the heel of the hand to the stomach, done with a slight rotation from the hip. If you project youer force in a wrong way, uke stumbles back some steps and most of the Impact is lost, but maybe people say whow, thats power.
But if you do it wright, with connection to the dantien, and let the force "drop" on uke, uke collapses where he stands. It doesn't look like it feels, but it's really difficult.
I am not contending that all people do know how to punch, but rather that we can all appreciate the effect of a punch in our bodies. To my earlier point, I am contending that we are responsible for what we know and finding out what we don't know. Anyone who works with children know that outward expressions like biting, pinching, pushing and striking are basic responses of outward expression that are learned behaviors very early on. If someone is not interested in learning the basics of striking, or experiencing striking from a variety of arts, they are limiting their education (by design or not). If they are limiting their education, the question I would raise is, "does this limited education affect the accuracy of the instruction I will consume from this individual?" Maybe yes, maybe no - But it should throw up a giant "caveat emptor."

To be specific, there are some aikido people who will demonstrate punches in that exact fashion. They play pool with your body and call their shots, "this one will go into your knee. This one will go into your back hip. This one will make you die in 3 days." These individuals use punching as a great learning tool and they can get you to feel how the punch works. After all, punching is just touching, fast, and with power. So is pushing.

Aikido is unique in that we let a lot of things go on under that large umbrella. I think some of those shenanigans have not improved aikido. We, as a community, have been very tolerant of those shenanigans with (I think) the hope that eventually things will straighten out. We have adopted an a la carte mentality that gives us the freedom to choose those elements of aikido that resonate with us. But, I think we have neglected some core elements in that process. Or, at least removed those educations to a remedial level.

The fact that you have to even make a comment about the level of proficiency of striking in a martial art is just an example of where we may be remiss in our core education. As a point of argumentation, I find it difficult to accept the finer points of aiki from someone who has difficulty demonstrating the basic points of striking. All of this going back to differentiating a skill from a system.

If we were talking academics, and I were to say, "I don't like division. I want to learn math, but I am going to skip division because it's tough and boring." At some point, a teacher would approach me and say, "Jon, you need to learn division. It's part of math and you cannot excel at math without knowing division." But, if I were to publish two math tests on division, one in which the student completed the exam without assistance and one where the student copied the answer from the back of the book they would both be correct and they would both show the right answer. But, each student would have a different level of proficiency not reflected on the test.

Of course, this is from the culture who statistically finds actors dressed in lab coats to be more trustworthy than actors who are not when advertising medical products. Even though the actors are not doctors.

Last edited by jonreading : 08-13-2014 at 07:00 AM.

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Old 08-13-2014, 09:00 AM   #199
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

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After all, punching is just touching, fast, and with power. So is pushing.
There are different ways to generate power.
One problem is, that in aikido we have to rethink and forget our learnt behaviours.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:32 AM   #200
Keith Larman
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Re: Demonstrating aiki, demontrating aikido.Same thing ?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
It is understandable that, if true, this would be uncomfortable and difficult to accept to many with an investment in conventional Aikido that may span decades. One of the most common responses is to argue that the transmission may have stuttered in some lineages, but not others (usually one's own).
Well, I think there is another position here, one that is a bit more complex. I think there are many who feel that their particular "version" of Aikido represents an evolution that retained the parts that really mattered. In this case the discussion is further muddied by the belief that a particular group may in fact be doing things somewhat differently, but they feel what they are doing is both the essence of the original art but also going beyond it in to a new place, much like an evolution. So the position is "Of course we're not doing the same thing, we're doing what really matters!". And it is I think difficult to discuss because there is an assumed value judgement as to what were the critical things that make it what it was.

Of course this just circles back into the argument of incomplete transmission. But then again, we are also trying to read the mind of O-sensei to some extent to say what it was that he was really doing or what was "really" important to him.

Anyway, I've long made the argument that maybe the better position to take on these arguments is to ack that Aikido went in a lot of directions among the original deshi of O-sensei. Each of those developed their advocates and each of those groups represent a new line that took what they felt was important. Each of those groups also has tremendous value for what it is they teach evidenced by their large memberships and vociferous followers. Heck, I think this very branching and expansion of "what aikido is" is partly why it's so popular today. And why it is so difficult to talk about "what" it is. it is a lot of things today.

But maybe those of us going out and experimenting, cross-pollinating, and learning from everyone we can will maybe start to have a broader influence over time. I feel I'm still teaching the same art. But I also feel I have a 5-times larger toolbox to work from now. And a better understanding of what I'm trying to train *in their bodies* beyond just saying "extend ki" or something along those lines. I still say it, of course, but now I explain it better using the explanations I've always used. Just with additions here and there with additional perspectives to add in to help clarify. I've always stole what I could from other arts I've trained in and had the luck to be allowed to sit in on. And i hope those I train with will continue that as well.

I think the problem for many is that the idea that it is all of those often apparently contradictory things causes just too much cognitive dissonance for some. Some want it to be simpler. Some need it to be simpler because saying this is the *real* thing O-sensei was doing gives the "Good Housekeeping" stamp of approval to their practice. They want to believe O-sensei himself would approve of what they've done with "his" art because they're doing "what he really meant".

Of course the same observations apply to those working with Dan, or Ark, or Sigman, or Chin, or whomever. You fill in the blank with your favorite. Ellis did us all a favor by putting out a very well researched and compelling book on the topic although in the end you're still left with a lot of speculation and hypothesis. If you don't buy it, well, you don't.

Personally I've got zero issue with this stuff. I get out there with Dan and Toby in particular whenever I can even when I'm injured (which was probably not my best decisions with respect to my physical self, but hey, I learned stuff). I wish Howard Popkin would come out my way more often as well -- the guy is great, has the skills, has lots to teach, and is generous with it. And heck, I think Chuck and Aaron Clark are doing some of the best Aikido i've seen all while they're doing something else... But I also have no problem with most folk out their calling whatever they do Aikido. Let's be honest, Aikido has come to represent an art that is diverse and varied with versions that seem to be in direct conflict at times. So I see no need to reconcile them amongst themselves nor the need to critique any individual version apart from saying "Hmmm, that's not what I'd do."

In the end the arts and methods will speak for themselves. The methods that "work" (whatever that means) will find their way where they need to go. Other places they'll be locked out at the door because they're not right for that branch. Or they might die. Maybe it already has in Aikido. But maybe it is alive and well in various parts of the world. And I'm sure each person is doing their level best to keep what they feel is the real deal going. I think Dan's approach to teach what he does in a sort of "non-denominational" way is a god-send, at least for me. Teaching it as a body skill rather than as a fully realized form of budo. Those who want that body skill can learn it and use what they will. Those who feel they don't need it won't. That's cool. Over time it will speak for itself and maybe in 10 or 20 years we'll have this discussion again, albeit with me probably worrying about whether my new space-age levitating walker will allow me to do a little pole shaking in the back yard...

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