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Old 08-15-2014, 07:24 AM   #26
Chris Li
 
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
The practical application of aikido for life comes from training and reading. Reading 10%...training 90%.
The art reveals itself through physical contact and movement.
Morihei Ueshiba (and most other Japanese martial artists) emphasized Bunbu Ryodo, but I don't recall too much mention of percentages

Be that as it may, most Japanese martial traditions are built on a foundation of physical training - but rely on study of the Kuden or something similiar to really unlock things. One of the problems in conventional Aikido is that virtually nobody really paid or pays much attention to the Kuden that Ueshiba left "hidden in plain sight".

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-15-2014, 11:41 AM   #27
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

A couple of things of interest...

I have become more critical over the years of the catch phrases like, "shut up and train," "I'm always training, "I do aikido all the time," "I use aikido in everything I do..."

I am not sure we don't tell ourselves these things to feel better about our level of commitment to training and the progress we make in our training efforts. I think the rise in intangible "benefits" of training is correlated with the proficiency in physical skill. We balance our overall feeling of progress to remain interested and involved in our training. It's important to find the inspiration to persevere in our training. Our dojo jokes about how many times we have experienced significant paradigm shifts in our training that have caused us to start over. It's nice to have other avenues of success to comfort us in times of frustration.

But, I think there is some evidence to suggest the intangible pursuits have taken a greater role in dominating our success stories than originally intended. And, our focus on success has moved us away from tangible (physical) aspects that were critical in earlier training.

For example, what would this thread be if the question instead was focused on physical training everyday?

At one point in time, what we call aikido was trained in a place called, "Hell Dojo." We say that the elements that comprised earlier aikido greats are no longer available.

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Old 08-16-2014, 04:34 AM   #28
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Quote:
Tiffany Bowden wrote: View Post
I consider Aikido to be a way of life, ...
Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
The practical application of aikido for life ...
Quote:
"I use aikido in everything I do..."
I have to admit that everytime I read a sentence like that I wonder: What does that mean?
And reading is meant literally here: I have never ever hear this someone really say in over twenty years. None of my teacher or sempai has ever made a statement like that. This is an attitude I only know from reading in forums on the internet.

Do you ponder some philosophical oder spiritual issues during practice? Do your teacher lecture during practice? In which way do you learn during practice what it means, aikidō as a way of life, or about the practical applications in life or using aikidō in everything you do? In which way is that taught to you on the mat or how do learn about that on the tatami?

And when you study the texts about the specific philosophical and spiritual background and content of aikidō, in which way do you translate and integrate this daoist, buddhist, shintōist thoughts into your daily life? Who helps you to understand this specific thinking into your everyday life?

And in which way do you connect your bodily practice to your spiritual practice? Within a daoist frame this is relativly "easy", I think. But as far as I understand, this is not the framework most of the people use or live in?

So in which specific way does staying calm and centered during a conflict connect to keiko?

And - the other way round:
Don't you do any communicational training, that helps you in situatations like this? Don't you practice some meditation that helps you to stay calm in situations like this? Don't you have some mental Training, Training for the mind, that help you stay centered and relaxed in Situations like this?
Do you really have only aikidō as your one and only thing in your toolbox for living life?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
And, our focus on success has moved us away from tangible (physical) aspects that were critical in earlier training.
To be honest: During keiko this "tangible (physical) aspects" is what we deal with.
Although our practice is very soft, it is about exploring our own body and relating it to the body of an attacker. How am I able to stay connected and how am I able to move aite?
Although we don't use the word or that mindset, "success" ist to be able to stay connected and to move a person which I couldn't move before.
Really: It's that simple. That is what I know as the concept of what keiko is for over twenty years now. And with a lot of different teachers. That's all.

So when you are no longer concerned with learning to move a partner you can't move yet: What then is practiced during keiko? And how does keiko look like then?

Quote:
For example, what would this thread be if the question instead was focused on physical training everyday?
Um, well don't you do aikidō related physical training every day? (Or did you mean every moment of every day?) I thought most people would usually do so? Not in the dōjō maybe, but at home, in which way ever. Most advanced students and all teacher I know do.
I think there is a very lot of "homework" to do to prepare working with a partner.
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Old 08-16-2014, 07:50 AM   #29
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Don't you do any communicational training, that helps you in situatations like this? Don't you practice some meditation that helps you to stay calm in situations like this? Don't you have some mental Training, Training for the mind, that help you stay centered and relaxed in Situations like this?
Our Aikido is a mind/body practice. As such our training directly addresses each of the questions above in an integrated manner. We don't separate training the mind from training the body. Mind and body are one and are trained simultaneously.

Ron

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Old 08-16-2014, 01:34 PM   #30
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Interesting questions, Carsten. I don't think at all when I am training. I train. I am in the now. I do.

That is what I strive for in my life. To be in the now. To mind my own business and to do my best at what ever I am doing. When there is no separation from now and me then I am with what is and for me that is as close to being with a power greater than myself as I can get.

I don't see how that is a problem. If I wanted to do calisthenics or to play basketball I would do it the same way. That is how I apply aikido principles to my everyday life. When I am typing at the computer I am not thinking about what I am going to have for dinner. I just type.

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Old 08-17-2014, 03:14 PM   #31
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
I don't see how that is a problem. If I wanted to do calisthenics or to play basketball I would do it the same way. That is how I apply aikido principles to my everyday life.
I wouldn't consider that as a special "aikido-principle".
Every so called "life-coach" declares this ancient wisdom.
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Old 08-17-2014, 07:29 PM   #32
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Excerpts from Falling Hard: A Journey Into the World of Judo by Mark Law (2009), pp. 91-93:

In the minds of many who come to the sport, there persists a vague notion that judo is character-building. It is a nice-sounding idea, but what exactly does it mean?...

We can declaim that self-discipline, initiative, confidence, and courage are all fostered by judo, while we neglect to remind ourselves that these are also the very qualities required to be a successful bank robber....

The sport is fraught with skullduggery both on and off the mat. Maybe the answer is the same as the response to criticism of appalling behavior by those who are apparently religious: "Think how much worse they'd be if they didn't go to church!"...

Anyone who struggles to believe that judo builds character might find it easier to accept that judo certainly reveals it....

Some claim that judo can imbue its adherents with new qualities, but Geof Gleeson, a former British coach and one of the sport's philosophers, dismisses such claims as exaggerated. The confidence imbued by judo, he argues, is often mere brashness concealing timidity. A tendency to bully is exacerbated as often as it is suppressed. Judo, he argues, tends to emphasize what's there already.
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Old 08-17-2014, 10:21 PM   #33
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

From the About Aikido page posted on the web site of the Boulder Aikikai:

"Ueshiba also immersed himself in religious studies and developed an ideology devoted to universal socio-political harmony. Incorporating these principles into his martial art, Ueshiba developed many aspects of aikido in concert with his philosophical and religious ideology."

"Aikido is not primarily a system of combat, but rather a means of self-cultivation and improvement."

"According to the founder, the goal of aikido is not the defeat of others, but the defeat of the negative characteristics which inhabit one's own mind and inhibit its functioning."

"This is the essence of Budo. It is not the art of fighting, of narrow technique, but an art of personal refinement and of protecting the quality of life. Aikido is first and always Budo. Without the heart of a warrior and the deep desire to protect society, to protect all life, Aikido becomes an empty dance. Budo is its spirit."

"An Aikido dojo is not a gymnasium. It is the place where the way of the discipline is revealed. Physical technique is not the final objective, but a tool for personal refinement and spiritual growth. The correct attitude of respect, sincerity and modesty, and the proper atmosphere are essential to the learning process."

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Old 08-17-2014, 10:36 PM   #34
Chris Li
 
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
From the About Aikido page posted on the web site of the Boulder Aikikai:

"Ueshiba also immersed himself in religious studies and developed an ideology devoted to universal socio-political harmony. Incorporating these principles into his martial art, Ueshiba developed many aspects of aikido in concert with his philosophical and religious ideology."

"Aikido is not primarily a system of combat, but rather a means of self-cultivation and improvement."

"According to the founder, the goal of aikido is not the defeat of others, but the defeat of the negative characteristics which inhabit one's own mind and inhibit its functioning."

"This is the essence of Budo. It is not the art of fighting, of narrow technique, but an art of personal refinement and of protecting the quality of life. Aikido is first and always Budo. Without the heart of a warrior and the deep desire to protect society, to protect all life, Aikido becomes an empty dance. Budo is its spirit."

"An Aikido dojo is not a gymnasium. It is the place where the way of the discipline is revealed. Physical technique is not the final objective, but a tool for personal refinement and spiritual growth. The correct attitude of respect, sincerity and modesty, and the proper atmosphere are essential to the learning process."
While that's true, it doesn't follow that any and all personal development scenarios are therefore Aikido. Islam, Christianity and Buddhism all purport to help people live better lives - but their methods are often quite different, as are the results.

Unfortunately, we seem to be reaching a point where any and all feel good moments are labeled as "Aiki".

Ueshiba was very specific in how such refinement occurs, and describes it in great detail in Takemusu Aiki. Other methods and results are perfectly fine, of course, but that doesn't mean that they are part and parcel of what Ueshiba was talking about.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-18-2014, 01:34 AM   #35
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
From the About Aikido page posted on the web site of the Boulder Aikikai:

"Ueshiba also immersed himself in religious studies and developed an ideology devoted to universal socio-political harmony. Incorporating these principles into his martial art, Ueshiba developed many aspects of aikido in concert with his philosophical and religious ideology."

"Aikido is not primarily a system of combat, but rather a means of self-cultivation and improvement."

"According to the founder, the goal of aikido is not the defeat of others, but the defeat of the negative characteristics which inhabit one's own mind and inhibit its functioning."

"This is the essence of Budo. It is not the art of fighting, of narrow technique, but an art of personal refinement and of protecting the quality of life. Aikido is first and always Budo. Without the heart of a warrior and the deep desire to protect society, to protect all life, Aikido becomes an empty dance. Budo is its spirit."

"An Aikido dojo is not a gymnasium. It is the place where the way of the discipline is revealed. Physical technique is not the final objective, but a tool for personal refinement and spiritual growth. The correct attitude of respect, sincerity and modesty, and the proper atmosphere are essential to the learning process."
Dear Ron,
From my experiences I would say that Aikido has failed to imbue some aikidoka with the positive assets you mention.Then again it may not be Aikido that has failed .Maybe the responsibility for failure to grasp the real message of aikido lies with the person?Cheers, Joe
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:55 AM   #36
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Dear Ron,
From my experiences I would say that Aikido has failed to imbue some aikidoka with the positive assets you mention.Then again it may not be Aikido that has failed .Maybe the responsibility for failure to grasp the real message of aikido lies with the person?Cheers, Joe
It's all there for the taking Joe; but deciding what to take and what to discard is left up to the student.

Ron

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Old 08-18-2014, 10:33 AM   #37
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Unfortunately, we seem to be reaching a point where any and all feel good moments are labeled as "Aiki".
Yes, seems to be true.
Even within my own aikidō-club we have this. "Everything is aikidō, as long as it creates good feeling, helps to communicate, makes life joyfull and brings people together": This is what at least one fellow teacher in our club explicitly teaches on the tatami. aikidō becomes a certain view of life - or way of life.
You can communicate in an aikidō-way. You can solve problems in an aikidō-way. You can do your work in an aikidō-way. Or even walk down the street in an aikidō-way. Everything can be aikidō.
And the way to perform the waza gets adjusted to that point of view. It is very interesting how the understanding of aikidō as a way of life, a way of feeling good within life and with other people changes the waza over time. aikidō merely becomes a kind of a "flow experience".

I think, there is a lack of experience of the sophisticated internal body work which is inherent in traditional Japanese budō. Most people seem to have never been exposed to that feeling, be it with a student of Ueshiba osensei or a koryū or even daitō ryū. So the deeper technical understanding of how to develop and to use one's body that can be found in the old streams simply got lost in their practice. They are not longer connected to the wisdom of creating aiki within onself as a way to use one's body.

But the forms, the kata, the outward body movements without that don't t transport any essence in itself. While they are open to any interpretation.
And because the pure forms don't tell you something about "aiki within me" they need to blend with the movement of the partner. That's all they can do.

It reminds me of practicing only the omote kata of a ryū ...

And the same is true, I think, regarding the spiritual teachings of aikidō. There simply is a lack of understanding of what Ueshiba osensei meant when using terms like "self-cultivation", "personal refinement and spiritual growth".
People pick up these terms without connecting them to the roots in Daoist internal alchemy, esoteric Mikkyō. Not even Shintō. And so the terms lose their actual content. They don't transmitt anymore what was to be contained in their understanding and practice.
An so the "peace" created by the specific arrangement of two specific hexagrams becomes the "peace" of the '68 generation ...

Finally, I think, a lot of people lack a source of orientation in this complex life and world. People have lost confidence in "Islam, Christianity and Buddhism" which you list and all those other meaningful systems that claim to provide a certain way of life. But that blank space has to be filled in.
And that is where aikidō comes into play.

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 08-18-2014 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 08-18-2014, 11:41 AM   #38
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Carsten-

My comments about moving away from tangible aspects of aiki training was directed more towards that migration to see our kata/waza as a thing that does something to somebody. Whereas the elements of the kata don't necessarily receive the scrutiny or instruction. Take, for example, the element of hanmi. Sure, we receive general instruction to stand. but do we really receive the necessary instruction to stand and present no openings?

My over-arching point was to be mindful about where and why we claim success in our training and to keep a critical eye on substituting physical progress with non-physical progress... while leaving some room to enjoy each type of success.

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Old 08-18-2014, 11:42 AM   #39
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

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Unfortunately, we seem to be reaching a point where any and all feel good moments are labeled as "Aiki".
+1

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Old 08-18-2014, 01:22 PM   #40
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Another daily application of aikido is daily ki exercises. I like to do mine outside in the morning or if I can't I will do them in the office or in the dojo when I get home.

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Old 08-18-2014, 01:30 PM   #41
Chris Li
 
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Another daily application of aikido is daily ki exercises. I like to do mine outside in the morning or if I can't I will do them in the office or in the dojo when I get home.
Sure, I work out in all sorts of odd places - but how is that an application of Aikido to daily life? The OP was:

Quote:
What do you do to take your lessons and utilize them in everyday life?
Best,

Chris

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Old 08-18-2014, 01:53 PM   #42
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Quote:
Tiffany Bowden wrote: View Post
I consider Aikido to be a way of life, not just a hobby.
What do you do to take your lessons and utilize them in everyday life?
I believe it is something that can be as practical as you want it to be.
If you look at Aikido as a practice that is designed to bring about a particular state of being (i.e. mind/body coordinated) then all that you learn will be brought to bear in your daily life.

If, OTOH, you see Aikido as a collection of techniques to learn and master then applying what you learn in daily life outside the dojo is going to require that you look for lots of trouble to get into.

Ron

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Old 08-18-2014, 03:04 PM   #43
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
If you look at Aikido as a practice that is designed to bring about a particular state of being (i.e. mind/body coordinated) then all that you learn will be brought to bear in your daily life.

If, OTOH, you see Aikido as a collection of techniques to learn and master then applying what you learn in daily life outside the dojo is going to require that you look for lots of trouble to get into.

Ron
I like to think that daily ki exercises keep me out of trouble by starting my day in a nice relaxed state with the endorphins flowing as opposed to being cranky and looking for trouble.

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Old 08-18-2014, 03:07 PM   #44
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

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It's all there for the taking Joe; but deciding what to take and what to discard is left up to the student.

Ron
Precisely.
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Old 08-18-2014, 04:11 PM   #45
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

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I like to think that daily ki exercises keep me out of trouble by starting my day in a nice relaxed state with the endorphins flowing as opposed to being cranky and looking for trouble.
There is that...

Buddhists say that one of the advantages of meditation is that, if nothing else, while meditating you're not creating karma. I feel somewhat the same way about my aikido practice. As does my husband, based on his willingness to kick me out of the house if I haven't been to class recently.

Katherine
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:50 PM   #46
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Most things people have mentioned are also why I enjoy tennis, playing classical piano and sword polishing. Connection, flow states, meditative movement, learning to blend...

or, to sum up my position on this topic, something my father used to say. Whatever zaps your zipper. I honestly thing the reason it is so difficult to have conversations about Aikido is that it truly has become all things to all people. It is both Aikido's greatest strength as well as its greatest weakness IMHO.

I no longer even try to clarify... I just train with folk doing what I like. At some point a concept becomes so generalized and overused that it becomes essentially devoid of any meaning, a shell of its former self.

SMH... To quote the great thespian Snagglepuss, exit, stage right...

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Old 08-19-2014, 04:14 AM   #47
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Carsten - My comments about moving away from tangible aspects of aiki training was directed more towards ...
Ups, I thought, I would point in a similar direction?

Quote:
... see our kata/waza as a thing that does something to somebody.
The way I am taught and try to teach, first of all is about organizing and moving one's own body. Or more broadly said: It is about "oneself" altogether. All the bodywork, working with qi, in yo ho or whatever is about one's own body (structure, being centered, being connected, ...), one's own energy system (being open, permeable, leading qi / directing kimochi ...), one's own attitude (being awake, mentally relaxed, confident ...).
Doing something to somebody is only a natural result as soon as someone touches you. Or more broadly said: Working with onself, means working with the whole world, because "I am the universe". Consistently changing oneself, changes the world. Microcosm and Macrocosm are not to be divided.

Our understanding of kata is heavily influenced by certain koryū. So kata in our understanding does not mean to teach you how to fight, but how to use your body and "how to be" in general.
waza is different, it is what results form kata practice when you just let go and move natural. waza arises spontaneously and expresses, what has been "learned" through kata.

Quote:
... do we really receive the necessary instruction to stand and present no openings?
Yes. That's what teaching is about, I think?!

Quote:
My over-arching point was to be mindful about where and why we claim success in our training and to keep a critical eye on substituting physical progress with non-physical progress...
Here we've come full circle:
In the aikidō I practice there is no non-physical progress defined. So yes, everyone can say "I'm a happier person now, because I'm doing aikidō." Or "I'm able to communicate more relaxed now, because I'm doing aikidō." Or "I'm a 'better' Person now, because I'm doing aikidō." But that is up to you individual understanding, your personal view or phantasy.
But all this is not subject of teaching or pracice. On the tatami things like that are definetly not addressed. And they are not called "aikidō" in which way ever. Nor are they even related to the keiko in any way.

So, the only "succes" or "progresse" you can have in our way of practice, is a different feeling within your own body. And resulting from that, a different, maybe "better" way you can move your uke, your feedback.
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:10 AM   #48
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Ups, I thought, I would point in a similar direction?

The way I am taught and try to teach, first of all is about organizing and moving one's own body. Or more broadly said: It is about "oneself" altogether. All the bodywork, working with qi, in yo ho or whatever is about one's own body (structure, being centered, being connected, ...), one's own energy system (being open, permeable, leading qi / directing kimochi ...), one's own attitude (being awake, mentally relaxed, confident ...).
Doing something to somebody is only a natural result as soon as someone touches you. Or more broadly said: Working with onself, means working with the whole world, because "I am the universe". Consistently changing oneself, changes the world. Microcosm and Macrocosm are not to be divided.

Our understanding of kata is heavily influenced by certain koryū. So kata in our understanding does not mean to teach you how to fight, but how to use your body and "how to be" in general.
waza is different, it is what results form kata practice when you just let go and move natural. waza arises spontaneously and expresses, what has been "learned" through kata.

Yes. That's what teaching is about, I think?!

Here we've come full circle:
In the aikidō I practice there is no non-physical progress defined. So yes, everyone can say "I'm a happier person now, because I'm doing aikidō." Or "I'm able to communicate more relaxed now, because I'm doing aikidō." Or "I'm a 'better' Person now, because I'm doing aikidō." But that is up to you individual understanding, your personal view or phantasy.
But all this is not subject of teaching or pracice. On the tatami things like that are definetly not addressed. And they are not called "aikidō" in which way ever. Nor are they even related to the keiko in any way.

So, the only "succes" or "progresse" you can have in our way of practice, is a different feeling within your own body. And resulting from that, a different, maybe "better" way you can move your uke, your feedback.
Well, yes, I think most of what we are saying is the same thing, I am just being a little more vocal about where I have felt some difference between what I do now, and what I was used to doing. We have been throwing around a concept in class concerning the use of our body and the effect of our body movement on others. We ask the analogous question, do you want to be the wave or the thing that creates the wave?

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Old 08-19-2014, 10:05 AM   #49
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

As I was riding my bike this morning I noticed I had some heartburn....I kept riding, doing my rounds at work hoping it would go away. I decided to go get a Tums for my tummy. Then I thought, "Let's see if Ki exercises help with heart burn."...I chuckled at myself because of this thread.

So, I did my ki exercises and guess what...the heart burn went away. Just sayin....

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Old 08-19-2014, 01:48 PM   #50
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Daily Applications of Aikido

This isn't so much a daily application perhaps, but I use ki-related practice to help me with my runs. Extension, balance, and breath all make a huge difference for how far I can go and how much pain I will receive: The echo of each foot strike through the body, the accumulation of tension, the way things like that can perturb the nice rhythm I develop.
I was part of a team running from Spokane to Sandpoint this last weekend, and my first leg was 6.5 miles in warm weather almost entirely up fairly steep hills. If I let my attitude turn negative it makes it more difficult, but it's hard to enjoy a struggle that you wish you had trained more for. Still, I breathed into my belly, felt around my body as best I could (listened and adjusted/rebalanced), softened my foot strikes, and focused on my breathing and water intake (it can be hard when you're "sucking wind" and trying to suck water up through a camel pack hose, too; It often leaves me even more breathless). There was a thunderhead passing over and I got some nice growls from the clouds and that sort of things always taps into something primal within me. I let out a grateful "kiai" and felt refreshed...relatively speaking. The joy of it was a second wind before I had to finish the last of this uphill run with the Doomsday Hill (Bloomsday, anyone?). I walked most of that hill, still trying to listen to my body and cultivating my ki; I tried to balance drive with relaxation and by paying attention to my body, I was able to run toward the top and then sprint across the transfer line.
It wasn't until my 3rd leg though (4 miles), that I was able to have a sense of transcending the toughness of the task. I had about two hours of sleep in the last 48; it was a constant uphill run again (the theme for my race legs this year, perfectly echoing for me this year so far), a bit more gradual than the first, but in hotter weather. I finished strong and felt absolutely awesome afterward. It was a matter of finding rhythm of body mind and breath, and striving for fullness in each aspect, balancing drive with relaxation. I had to be in the moment to listen to what it suggested I could do to feel better. For me, this is all Aikido...there was also the periodic tekubishindo and a lot of cutting actions involved. With each raising of the blade (to about chudan) I connected the movement to my opposite foot and imagined a string lifting it. It was a study of connection and drive and joy. Can't wait until next year.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 08-19-2014 at 01:54 PM.

Gambarimashyo!
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