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Old 09-08-2014, 02:58 PM   #51
kewms
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Not at all... if you apply a rotation or torque to a non-rigid structure you organize it as a field and reduce it to two essential mechanical variables ... one of radius and the other of either stress or angular velocity - which is a function of radius. Even gasses and fluids.
Consider a spherical aikidoka, completely filled with ki?

I think you need quite a few more variables than that to describe the deformation of a non-rigid body under the influence of a non-uniform applied force. When you start to consider real humans, who have tissues of varying degrees of rigidity (bone, muscle, fascia) which are individually and collectively subjected to non-uniform forces, then the number of variables escalates quite quickly.

Katherine
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Old 09-08-2014, 03:21 PM   #52
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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Erick, I was replying to Katherine's assertion...

In this instance, we're talking specifically about human bodies. Are you agreeing with Katherine, or disagreeing with both of us?
A bit of both, but disagreeing with both in the main, I believe. As an arbitrary collection of particles, the vector state of all particles at any given time is rightly incalculable. But no one does that. They are treated systemically, if there is any property or condition that causes them to act as a system.

Bulk properties are systematic conditions -- things like pressure, temperature and volume of a gas or fluid, are systemic properties, and which vary by simple laws despite the immense dynamic complexity of their constituents. Even that bulk dynamic complexity can be simplified mechanically -- induced rotation can systemically organize the mechanics of even fluids or gasses, causing the vector states to obey field laws defined by the geometry of the system and gradients of relative energy. There is no reason to think that the human body is different in this regard, and much reason and experience leading one to conclude that it is.

The human body responds critically to certain types of coordinated stresses in typical and repeatable ways, and so it may be treated systematically on those points. I have been teasing out the factors that go into -- what I hope will be -- the simple laws of those relationships that describe its operation under those systemic conditions. Not supercomputers -- but more straightforwardly applicable relationships or parameters -- like gases vary in volume or pressure in proportion to temperature -- and temperature varies inversely to volume. And the exceptions -- of which there will surely be some important ones.

Human bodies do certain things involuntarily with certain kinds of twist, rotation and/or oscillations,and the opposite with the inverse forms. With that will come insight, I hope -- for many people -- into several training methods that seem to exploit those things and make them more available and effective in consistency and learning.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-08-2014, 03:32 PM   #53
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Consider a spherical aikidoka, completely filled with ki?
You forgot vacuum -- A spherical aikidoka in a vacuum.

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I think you need quite a few more variables than that to describe the deformation of a non-rigid body under the influence of a non-uniform applied force. When you start to consider real humans, who have tissues of varying degrees of rigidity (bone, muscle, fascia) which are individually and collectively subjected to non-uniform forces, then the number of variables escalates quite quickly.
First of all, stop looking for variables and start looking for the constants that make systemic conditions. An applied force can be non-uniform and still be systemic.

Secondly, even the variables are not random -- not if you organize the body as a field. A field is a state where the variables become correlated to each other in definable ways -- then there are general laws of relationship across the field that can be applied based on the field properties, and not isolated constituent behavior. Then the discontinuities in the system are fighting the gradient of geometry and energy in the whole mechanical field. That is certainly the way the IP/IS crowd speaks of what they perceive ... And say what you like about the concept of Ki in Eastern thought -- but it is almost universally spoken of in terms of field-like properties. Since I don't dismiss either of these lines of thought, I find that informative and suggestive.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:52 AM   #54
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

thought i would throw in my view of aiki, since i believed everyone else idea of aiki is wrong, except for mine.

aiki is one of the many applications of internal power where one manages, through nullification or augmentation, energies/forces applied and/or in physical contact to oneself.

application - there are many from internal power, analogy to combustion engine and its applications.
manage - using the whole body structure - bones, muscle, body fluid, air (lung), fascia, and so on. manage also implied control mechanism which through training of will power/intent.
nullification - dissipate energies/forces. analogy to ground lightning.
augmentation - adding one own energies/forces to the applied energies/forces and channel the direction of the combine energies/forces to wherever one intended (see manage)

is that high level enough so it won't get bog down to what you mean by "the" and "of" and "to"?

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:54 AM   #55
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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You forgot vacuum -- A spherical aikidoka in a vacuum.

First of all, stop looking for variables and start looking for the constants that make systemic conditions. An applied force can be non-uniform and still be systemic.

Secondly, even the variables are not random -- not if you organize the body as a field. A field is a state where the variables become correlated to each other in definable ways -- then there are general laws of relationship across the field that can be applied based on the field properties, and not isolated constituent behavior. Then the discontinuities in the system are fighting the gradient of geometry and energy in the whole mechanical field. That is certainly the way the IP/IS crowd speaks of what they perceive ... And say what you like about the concept of Ki in Eastern thought -- but it is almost universally spoken of in terms of field-like properties. Since I don't dismiss either of these lines of thought, I find that informative and suggestive.
Dear Erick,
Gee whiz, I always thought a field was something cows , horses /sheep ran around or just spent time chewing the grass.You learn something new every day!!Cheers, Joe
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:12 AM   #56
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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This is going somewhere useful, conceptually. Involuntary action and structural protection.

But if it were just the structure everyone would have it -- and I don't believe that is the case. But if there is a structural response, one that is not consciously under direct control -- it will not seem like an "action" when it occurs. It will seem like "the wall," when in fact it wasn't the wall at all -- it is a visual field flinch reflex based on apparent closure rate actuated by the superior colliculus before the conscious visual cortex even gets the signal to process.

What is the structure or response preferentially protecting against? I offer two different ways of answering that question -- one founded on mechanical principle and one founded in empirical experience in aikido.

The first is that all structures are weakest in shear and especially torsional shear. Shear is a combination of tension and compression at right angles. Structures are weakest in shear because they must be equally strong both in tensile and compressive strength -- and most materials are weaker in one or the other. Torsional shear is worse yet because most materials and structures are strong in some axes and weaker in others -- and torsion spirals the tensile and compressive stresses of the shear through all 3 axes at once -- and concentrates at any discontinuity or weak spot where its effects are most notably felt or seen.

Certain spinal reflexes respond to these signals to avoid structural damage before voluntary motor perception or action can occur. The muscle spindles and Golgi tendon organs mediate these reflexes, and are sensitive to the amount and rate of load on the muscle or stretch on the tendon associated with a muscle bundle. This is the physiology behind pressure-point tuite and targeted in yonkyo.

Secondly. in Aikido, we see this vulnerability exploited displayed in sankyo and aiki-age (firing the extensor reflex arc), and in nikkyo, kotegaeshi, and aikisage (firing the flexor reflex arc) They are also sensitive to certain oscillation -- because at certain rates these present sensations of uncontrollable shear at joints (positive and negative phases so close they appear to be acting at the same time -- as far as the body can tell).

This occurs at the resonance frequency of the body 5Hz (furitama) and its first harmonic at 10Hz (tekubifuri). Resonance is particularly dangerous because undamped resonance will increase in amplitude until it destroys a structure-- like a glass shattering -- or the Tacoma Narrows bridge tearing itself to pieces in moderate wind. The body responds wiht the flexor or extensor arcs -- or both in succession depending on how the peak phases of the oscillating stretch hits the sensor bundles.

Slightly higher frequencies (starting at ~30Hz) cause the tonic vibration reflex response, though this is of less certain of application here. Sustained vibration at these frequencies causes involuntary contraction of the smooth muscle-like fascia surrounding the skeletal muscle fiber bundles -- like your hands that become clenched from the vibration of the tines when raking leaves.

If you and I are correct about the the involuntary nature of these structural protections, then "intent" is an inaccurate and misleading word -- though understandable.

If the perception and active control is happening below conscious perception and too fast for direct reaction (and it is, we seem to agree on this much) then the more accurate description is a feed-forward control. A feed-forward control is something readied or actuated BEFORE the action or event to which it is meant to address, but because the control is based on a known pattern of the action or event -- the control effects a change in the event or action when it does occur, even though the control preceded it in time.

To say that the structures are like tensegrity models is not wrong -- but it is incomplete. The architectural tensegrity structures are polyhedrally organized -- the body plainly isn't. This linked model, though, is a good guide to what is very probably correct as to the spine, It takes little imagination in those models to see that there are spiral load paths tracing along the "tendons" attached to the spinal processes. The limb muscles not only perform opposed levered joint action but also supinate and pronate the limb causing torsion of the limb. These reciprocal spiral paths through the sensor bundles are vulnerable to torques. The resonant oscillations attack all of them, sequentially.

Spirals of what is the issue. And "intent" toward them in what manner.

I say they are spirals of the shear of torsion -- fire in tension, water in compression (to use the traditional mode), exploiting reflex arcs, and a related physiological action based on critical oscillations. Both of these have field effects in any structure in continuity -- hence the importance of the quality of connection.

Where I believe I differ from what you seem to be doing is that I think this IS a two-way street -- both in exploiting the attacker's vulnerabilities and exploiting the defender's reflexive aspects counter-offensively also. I think that there are reflexive actions that have offensive value if used in a feed-forward fashion. There are some other neurological and physiological points that inform these perspectives as far as recommendations for training, and constructive critiques of certain modes of training, but that is enough for this response, since "succinct" already went by the boards...
To pick and choose my response to the bolded items...

Structure absolutely separates body comparison and not everyone does have it. Anyone who watched football this weekend probably experienced several opportunities to experience the [external] nature of a compromised structure. My brain is not dumb- it is usually not fooled by falsity. When my body is deciding whether or not it can accomplish a task (i.e. running through my partner), it is not going to be fooled by my partner saying, "I am a wall." My intent needs to match my structure or its false. Its not just visual - its sensory.

Aiki is bad news. Someone who moves with internal power and aiki is serious bad news. When you contact these people, you are instantly in jeopardy. Not your wrist, not your face; its not a bruise or a hard fall. Your entire body should feel compromised and unsafe. The waza we know is the nice response, not the primary response. That nikyo you feel is an acute representation of the entirety of your body jeopardy. Kansetsu waza in aiki are not as small as joint manipulation - they affect your entire body - that's why O Sensei dropped the variations of kansetsu waza and named principles of body control.

Aiki moves faster than the body can react. O Sensei mentioned the devastating true nature of aiki and purposefully slowed it down to give our partners time to participate. Intent is a significant tool that gives us (as partners) the opportunity to understand what will happen to our bodies unless we figure out something...and fast. It is part of our training to give our partners time to react. Messores Sensei talks about the timing of allowing your partner to participate in technique - If you don't want to let uke resist nikyo, do it faster (but corectly). Correct technique performed quicker than uke can respond is dangerous but it sure encourages compliance since uke's first response cannot be to resist.

Core concepts that transcend tensegrity are suspended (oppositional) tension, pressure and conformity that maintains structure. One thing moves, everything moves. We have a t-shirt.

Aiki is not waza. As long as "do to uke" is part of the conversation, it will be hard to contextualize aiki. Waza does not beget aiki; aiki begets waza. Mechanics are the stuff of jujutsu - you are not differentiating jujutsu from aikido by explaining mechanics of form, however sophisticated.

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Old 09-09-2014, 12:30 PM   #57
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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Structure absolutely separates body comparison and not everyone does have it. Anyone who watched football this weekend probably experienced several opportunities to experience the [external] nature of a compromised structure.
We are using the word "structure" differently -- but not - I think actually disagreeing. "Structure" as I am using it refers to the general arrangement of components of the body to each other and not how they are particularly arranged to deal with an external load. You seem to mean it in the latter sense.

I would refer to that as two different things: "structural action/response" for something requiring a change in arrangement in response to load, or "structural form" which is a principle where shape carries the load more than primary stresses in the material. For instance, a beam carries load primarily through bending stress in the material, and requires a certain amount of material to spread the load without exceeding the strength of the material. But reorient that beam as a column for the same load and the shape and orientation in respect of the load alone allows you to use orders of magnitude less of material than is needed in the beam.

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My brain is not dumb- it is usually not fooled by falsity.
Sure it is -- perceptual illusions abound. I can detail some that will kill you dead when flying if you assume what you subjectively feel is objectively true. YOU are not dumb, however -- and your mind can get around the problem of physical illusions created by your brain & body.

Quote:
When my body is deciding whether or not it can accomplish a task (i.e. running through my partner), it is not going to be fooled by my partner saying, "I am a wall." My intent needs to match my structure or its false. Its not just visual - its sensory.
Don't deny the sensory part. But illusion can be kinesthetic as much as visual. The perception is real. What it suggest of the objective reality is not, necessarily. I am not saying this is one of those -- I am just saying you can't -- as a matter of principle --just dismiss it out of hand when dealing with something subliminal in perception and action. Nor should we even so -- as deception is an inherent aspect of martial action. As Sun Tzu says: "All war is deception. ... Let your plans be dark and as impenetratable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt."

Quote:
Aiki is bad news. ... Your entire body should feel compromised and unsafe. ... That nikyo you feel is an acute representation of the entirety of your body jeopardy.
... and a ready guide to what it is that makes the whole body feel in immediate jeopardy. Nikkyo can be applied so as to pop all the joints loose -- this is a jujutsu waza. It can also be applied with a mere pulse or shudder -- and which is not at all inherently damaging -- but the body certainly acts catastrophically as if it were. I'd call that a manipulation based on a bodily illusion. The orientation of the waza tells you something about the mechanism(s) of that illusion. The shudder tells you something about the nature of that illusion. The physiology of response to certain forms of stresses tells you even more.

Quote:
Aiki moves faster than the body can react. O Sensei mentioned the devastating true nature of aiki and purposefully slowed it down to give our partners time to participate.
No debate. On the other hand, as a teaching point -- fast is a wide-open invitation to substitute mere momentum, as is so frequently the case -- and is often wrong -- though seemingly effective. If it works slow, it will work fast -- if the opponent cannot adapt slow, he cannot adapt fast.

Quote:
Aiki is not waza. As long as "do to uke" is part of the conversation, it will be hard to contextualize aiki. Waza does not beget aiki; aiki begets waza. Mechanics are the stuff of jujutsu - you are not differentiating jujutsu from aikido by explaining mechanics of form, however sophisticated.
By "mechanics" I do not mean "push-pull" rube-goldberg chains of action/ reaction. I agree that is jutsu -- and not what we are trying to deal with.

I mean to understanding how the human machine (mechanism) works and how it fails to work. I mean closer to what you mean by "structure" -- in that how the body arranges itself -- and how we choose to arrange it ( or train it to arrange itself, to be more precise) -- are part of those questions.

That does not mean it is not something that is "done." Aiki is not a manner of being -- it is a manner of doing -- it may be that it is not primarily directed by the conscious mind -- and that lack of immediate awareness gives it martial value. That gap in awareness would make it seem subjectively a condition of being upon being achieved -- but that does not mean it is not objectively something that is done. It is not something that alters the material substance (like the various body-hardening methods do). It is analogized to those "body" methods in many discussions -- and far too loosely, IMO -- for it is something far different.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-09-2014, 02:26 PM   #58
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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Jon Reading wrote:
Aiki is not waza. As long as "do to uke" is part of the conversation, it will be hard to contextualize aiki. Waza does not beget aiki; aiki begets waza. Mechanics are the stuff of jujutsu - you are not differentiating jujutsu from aikido by explaining mechanics of form, however sophisticated.
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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
By "mechanics" I do not mean "push-pull" rube-goldberg chains of action/ reaction.

Aiki is not a manner of being -- it is a manner of doing -- it may be that it is not primarily directed by the conscious mind -- and that lack of immediate awareness gives it martial value. That gap in awareness would make it seem subjectively a condition of being upon being achieved -- but that does not mean it is not objectively something that is done. It is not something that alters the material substance (like the various body-hardening methods do). It is analogized to those "body" methods in many discussions -- and far too loosely, IMO -- for it is something far different.
Given the two opposing viewpoints, my vote goes with Jon here. You can train waza form now till the cows come home, but without the inner work (by whatever path), you will most likely never achieve that "condition of being".

I have encountered many very strong and powerful Aikido people in my years on the mat. And I've noticed that they fall into two categories. There are people who are able to overpower you through sheer strength, good timing and the promise of injury if you decide to fight the throw. They are very effective at what they do.

Others I have met are able to overpower you in a way that isn't wholly understandable physically. They are soft while being absolutely unyielding. Being thrown by someone like that is more like walking into the technique than having it applied as in the first case. In essence folks in the second category deprive you of the ability to remain on your feet or just don't leave you anywhere to stand. They are also very effective at what they do.

Ron

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Old 09-09-2014, 02:47 PM   #59
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

What is the rationale for distinguishing Aikido from jujutsu again?

It seems strange, because Takeda was a jujutsu guy, Ueshiba was a jujutsu guy, then when he decided to get out from under Takeda's shadow he started taking his art in a new direction. But when we say we want to restore the full internal power glory of Aikido that will make it a truly effective martial art, we seem to be yearning for the days when Ueshiba was doing jujutsu, not when he was yelling at his ukes for not taking falls for him.
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:42 PM   #60
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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Given the two opposing viewpoints, ...
... on that aspect I really don't think we are opposed-- just different perspectives.

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Others I have met are able to overpower you in a way that isn't wholly understandable physically. They are soft while being absolutely unyielding. Being thrown by someone like that is more like walking into the technique than having it applied as in the first case. In essence folks in the second category deprive you of the ability to remain on your feet or just don't leave you anywhere to stand. They are also very effective at what they do.
Take Zhan Zhuang as a training tool -- just stand there. In various postures -- but still. Just standing. Sounds silly-- but it's not.

Just standing is an amazingly complex bit of feed-forward control and barely noticeable stabilizing oscillations. One major point of Zhan Zhuang -- among other things -- is to become aware of how much really is occurring. Then you can begin to feed into it with patterns of action.. You may call it intent, if you like -- but the intent is always a premise to action -- so I prefer to look at the action, even when it is merely a stabilizing action. This intent or action premises on and amplifies what is already happening repeatedly in the body -- while just standing there.

What Jon and I are both trying to capture is the sense of WHAT one is capitalizing on and then HOW one should best capitalize on it. I am more focused on the former -- he is more focused on the latter. At least, so it appears to me.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:52 PM   #61
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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What is the rationale for distinguishing Aikido from jujutsu again?

It seems strange, because Takeda was a jujutsu guy, Ueshiba was a jujutsu guy, then when he decided to get out from under Takeda's shadow he started taking his art in a new direction. But when we say we want to restore the full internal power glory of Aikido that will make it a truly effective martial art, we seem to be yearning for the days when Ueshiba was doing jujutsu, not when he was yelling at his ukes for not taking falls for him.
I would phrase it a little differently. Is it possible to get to where O Sensei ended up without having the foundation that he built upon?

Katherine
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Old 09-10-2014, 02:59 AM   #62
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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I would phrase it a little differently. Is it possible to get to where O Sensei ended up without having the foundation that he built upon?

Katherine
Of course not. But you can only follow his journey so far, then you have to carve out your own and make sure it's as good as it can be. Searching is the key.

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Old 09-10-2014, 06:18 AM   #63
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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I would phrase it a little differently. Is it possible to get to where O Sensei ended up without having the foundation that he built upon?

Katherine
Is it possible to have a realistic understanding of "where Osensei ended up" at all?
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:05 AM   #64
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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Is it possible to have a realistic understanding of "where Osensei ended up" at all?
Keep him in mind, but 99% of the time we need only worry about where we are at.

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Old 09-10-2014, 09:21 AM   #65
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

Cliff-

I am not messing with the jujutsu aspect because the thread is more aiki, less jujutsu. That's all. It is worth discussing, just maybe not on this thread. My point for Erick was that explaining good jujutsu does not really address "aiki", it only points out good jujutsu; of which there are plenty of people training who call it aikido.

Quote:
As Sun Tzu says: "All war is deception. ... Let your plans be dark and as impenetratable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt."
So why, then, should any definition of aiki include a bi-directional communication-based relationship? Such as "connecting center"? It shouldn't. This is one of my main grievances with the "connected center" aikido stuff - whoever has the bigger center will always win. That's great, as long as you are the gal with the biggest center in the room.

As for the structure thing... Taken another way, it's to say that when our structure is superior to our partners, that is an advantage. When our structure can be evaluated by our partner, that is a disadvantage. When our structure can be overcome by our partner, that is a disadvantage. External structures can be evaluated and compromised. We can argue how easy that is (but probably another topic). The point is that our structure can do more for us if we use it differently. I want my partner to view my structure a s a giant immovable object that brings a rubix cube-like conundrum that requires her to figure out how to beat that object - more importantly devote effort and energy to figuring out what to do. All the while, I remain free to move and address her directly. And if I address her with an unstoppable force... I can actually create a shimmer of Chuck Norris...

Last edited by jonreading : 09-10-2014 at 09:28 AM.

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Old 09-10-2014, 10:49 AM   #66
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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Cliff-

I am not messing with the jujutsu aspect because the thread is more aiki, less jujutsu. That's all. It is worth discussing, just maybe not on this thread. My point for Erick was that explaining good jujutsu does not really address "aiki", it only points out good jujutsu; of which there are plenty of people training who call it aikido.

So why, then, should any definition of aiki include a bi-directional communication-based relationship? Such as "connecting center"? It shouldn't. This is one of my main grievances with the "connected center" aikido stuff - whoever has the bigger center will always win. That's great, as long as you are the gal with the biggest center in the room.

As for the structure thing... Taken another way, it's to say that when our structure is superior to our partners, that is an advantage. When our structure can be evaluated by our partner, that is a disadvantage. When our structure can be overcome by our partner, that is a disadvantage. External structures can be evaluated and compromised. We can argue how easy that is (but probably another topic). The point is that our structure can do more for us if we use it differently. I want my partner to view my structure a s a giant immovable object that brings a rubix cube-like conundrum that requires her to figure out how to beat that object - more importantly devote effort and energy to figuring out what to do. All the while, I remain free to move and address her directly. And if I address her with an unstoppable force... I can actually create a shimmer of Chuck Norris...
This is part of what bothers me about the IP movement, you guys are all so concerned about winning, and beating, and overcoming and all that. The reason why Aikido spread around the world in the first place was because it had this really intriguing alternative martial philosophy about not fighting, not opposing, looking at conflict in terms other than win/lose. And the whole "connecting to your partner's center" has always been a very specific part of that.

It might be that I train in Washington DC but we do not get anyone new in the door who is not interested in connecting two centers. I mean that's the appeal of Aikido. It's like after decades of dealing with people saying Aikido is stupid because you can't "win" with Aikido, in the 21st century all of these senior Aikido people are now trying to cast Aiki as "the internal power which allows you to win."

The thing is, this is basically jujutsu talk. You are worried about connecting to partner's center, and partner's center is larger than you? There is a whole classification of martial arts that have been teaching smaller people how to handle bigger people for centuries. It's been classified as jujutsu since the 1800s in Japan. Jujutsu is seizing people, taking them down, avoiding their attacks, etc. The deception you speak of in your quote, that's a concept that is seriously considered in all the old koryu systems, including the ones known today as jujutsu systems. if you are trying to "do something" to somebody, you are in jujutsu land.

So let me modify my original definition a bit. Aiki is an effect that can be created via various means, wherein you capture or absorb your partner's ki with your own. You generally do some jujutsu on the combined system - i.e. you exert your will to cause something to happen that is advantageous for you, disadvantageous for them, ideally ends the conflict immediately, and by the way, free will is an illusion so all you are really doing is letting the combined system of ki resolve itself as it must.

Studying how to create Aiki just in and of itself is not a martial art. It can be budo, if you treat it serious as death and let it transform you. But you must study jujutsu if you want to learn how to create Aiki that can be used for self defense or combat. That guy who teaches you the internal power stuff of the questionable lineage, I recently read someone quote even him as saying that.
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:23 AM   #67
jonreading
 
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
This is part of what bothers me about the IP movement, you guys are all so concerned about winning, and beating, and overcoming and all that. The reason why Aikido spread around the world in the first place was because it had this really intriguing alternative martial philosophy about not fighting, not opposing, looking at conflict in terms other than win/lose. And the whole "connecting to your partner's center" has always been a very specific part of that.

It might be that I train in Washington DC but we do not get anyone new in the door who is not interested in connecting two centers. I mean that's the appeal of Aikido. It's like after decades of dealing with people saying Aikido is stupid because you can't "win" with Aikido, in the 21st century all of these senior Aikido people are now trying to cast Aiki as "the internal power which allows you to win."

The thing is, this is basically jujutsu talk. You are worried about connecting to partner's center, and partner's center is larger than you? There is a whole classification of martial arts that have been teaching smaller people how to handle bigger people for centuries. It's been classified as jujutsu since the 1800s in Japan. Jujutsu is seizing people, taking them down, avoiding their attacks, etc. The deception you speak of in your quote, that's a concept that is seriously considered in all the old koryu systems, including the ones known today as jujutsu systems. if you are trying to "do something" to somebody, you are in jujutsu land.

So let me modify my original definition a bit. Aiki is an effect that can be created via various means, wherein you capture or absorb your partner's ki with your own. You generally do some jujutsu on the combined system - i.e. you exert your will to cause something to happen that is advantageous for you, disadvantageous for them, ideally ends the conflict immediately, and by the way, free will is an illusion so all you are really doing is letting the combined system of ki resolve itself as it must.

Studying how to create Aiki just in and of itself is not a martial art. It can be budo, if you treat it serious as death and let it transform you. But you must study jujutsu if you want to learn how to create Aiki that can be used for self defense or combat. That guy who teaches you the internal power stuff of the questionable lineage, I recently read someone quote even him as saying that.
Lots of things are appealing. It doesn't necessarily mean they are good for you. Nor does it mean they are bad. Aikido is about removing competition, but that is different than role play.

If two centers connect someone has to lead and someone has to follow - you cannot simply orbit in equality. If scripted winning and losing because nage is scripted to be the leader. While over-simplistic, modern aikido still does not evade the issue of winning or losing, it just scripts a winner and a loser. In script, a junior can be empowered to win over senior. A senior can facilitate losing to a junior. This is not martial and it does have appeal to some. I would not argue it is the appeal, but one of other appeals.

I have not personally experienced anyone (IP) with whom I work speak in terms of winning or losing outside of using that concept as a metric of performance. I have worked out with IP people who do not allow for a script, which puts significant pressure on my performance quality.

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Old 09-10-2014, 11:27 AM   #68
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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This is part of what bothers me about the IP movement, you guys are all so concerned about winning, and beating, and overcoming and all that. The reason why Aikido spread around the world in the first place was because it had this really intriguing alternative martial philosophy about not fighting, not opposing, looking at conflict in terms other than win/lose. And the whole "connecting to your partner's center" has always been a very specific part of that.
AND because O Sensei was a serious badass.

If he hadn't had serious martial chops, no one would remember him as anything but a crazy Japanese mystic.

Here lies the paradox. In order to choose a non-violent, "harmonious" resolution to a conflict, you have to be able to handle serious attacks from extremely violent people who are intent on imposing their will on you. The claim is that IP is an essential element in being able to actually do that.

Katherine
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:46 AM   #69
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Lots of things are appealing. It doesn't necessarily mean they are good for you. Nor does it mean they are bad. Aikido is about removing competition, but that is different than role play.

If two centers connect someone has to lead and someone has to follow - you cannot simply orbit in equality. If scripted winning and losing because nage is scripted to be the leader. While over-simplistic, modern aikido still does not evade the issue of winning or losing, it just scripts a winner and a loser. In script, a junior can be empowered to win over senior. A senior can facilitate losing to a junior. This is not martial and it does have appeal to some. I would not argue it is the appeal, but one of other appeals.

I have not personally experienced anyone (IP) with whom I work speak in terms of winning or losing outside of using that concept as a metric of performance. I have worked out with IP people who do not allow for a script, which puts significant pressure on my performance quality.
Uke/nage roles during training are very different than a "loser/winner" script and they were used for hundreds of years in Japan to transmit martial skills amongst professionals. I don't think Aikido needs to work on the same paradigm as the koryu schools. But if you don't divide responsibilities like that you are wrestling, which is, you know...jujutsu.
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:56 PM   #70
phitruong
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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This is part of what bothers me about the IP movement, you guys are all so concerned about winning, and beating, and overcoming and all that.
Actually, no. we aren't concerned about those stuffs. we are more focusing on world domination, and possibly fixing that pesky problem of world hunger once and for all.

methink, the IP marketing department hasn't been good at promoting its theme of "peace and harmony through superior fire power". ok, that's a bit of tongue in teeth kinda thing. of course the aikido marketing department is much better at advertising its peace and harmony concept. they have a lot more years to that. in most of human conflict, unless you are alien from mars then this doesn't count, there are only few possible outcomes: win, lose, or draw. and please let not deceive ourselves, that you like to lose. and then ask yourself, is the purpose of martial arts to lose? if the answer is yes, then why study martial arts unless it's an art of couch potato which would guarantee you the losing side, without sweating. maybe sweating if you pig out on some really spicy stuffs.

personally, i prefer the ability to decide whether i want to win, lose or draw. let me bold that "the ability to decide". if you don't have the ability, then all your waxing about peace and harmony is kinda meaningless to me, at very least, cause me some indigestion.

and for some reason, folks seem to equate IP to aiki. it's not. read my definition and my definition is always right. aiki is one, let me bold that "one", of the many applications of IP. it's an engine, no more no less. how you use the engine is up to you. it can be use to pump water or drive a battering ram through the wall. it can be use to lift a wheel chair off the bus or crush a car into a compact chunk. your choice. if you don't have the engine, you don't have that choice.

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Old 09-10-2014, 12:58 PM   #71
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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Uke/nage roles during training are very different than a "loser/winner" script and they were used for hundreds of years in Japan to transmit martial skills amongst professionals. I don't think Aikido needs to work on the same paradigm as the koryu schools. But if you don't divide responsibilities like that you are wrestling, which is, you know...jujutsu.
Correct. We have kata. Kata is intended to provide guidance for learning technique and defining roles. But kata does not address the degradation of uke and nage into winners and losers as we see it in the dojo. You're still not getting away from role play. This is where the koryu can preserve the integrity of the training while aikido starts to give out the white hats to nage and the black hats to uke...

So with kata, why do I need a partner to tell me what to do? I know the kata and have an understanding of my role. Why can't I just be the best uke possible and if my nage is doing bad kata, who cares? If I am not concerned with my partner its not a competition. This is an IP thing - it's not competition because your partner is affected by you, not the other way around.

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Old 09-10-2014, 01:00 PM   #72
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

Here's a couple of thoughts sparked by this thread.

Kisshomaru Ueshiba speaks pretty explicitly about blending with your opponent's ki in The Spirit of Aikido

In regards to the term "power" that some people object too: It can be expressed in softness, in projection, in absorption, in making the partner or oppenent move in ways where they don't feel as if there they are being moved. Force is not met head on with force...then there is a conflict that feels like power.

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Old 09-10-2014, 01:04 PM   #73
Keith Larman
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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This is part of what bothers me about the IP movement, you guys are all so concerned about winning, and beating, and overcoming and all that.
I'm sure there are those who do, but most I've met and trained with have no such illusions or concerns. Really the realization for most is that what we're discovering is finally being able to actually do those things we've always tried to do, just do them a bit more easily, a bit more powerfully, a bit more repeatedly, and on command. And in my case realizing it's not about the timing or physics or sleight of hand aspects that most try, but through an actual skill and ability developed with hard work to make these things happen. So is it about "winning"? No. It's finding that sometimes you actually can do the stuff you were trying to do. And more completely and efficiently.

If others don't agree that's really what it was about, that's fine. But saying the concern is with "winning" completely misses the point of why most serious folk train and I'm sure you're exactly the same way.

It's like those who like to say folks are "drinking the koolaid". Why? Because they found it works they're enthusiastic? Um... I get if they're deluded. Or if a whole lot of us are (always possible). But if you find something works, is repeatable, is teachable, is improvable (is that a word), isn't that what you naturally follow? And if you find that it allows you to do it better no matter what the other guys does, does that make it about winning or simply about doing it better?

I had a similar talk with my daughter and wife about my daughter's soccer practice. She's good at it. She's in club. She gets extra training. She did some olympic prep training last summer. She's on a good track and we're already getting interest from universities early. And my wife was upset about her team not playing well and wanting to "win". I pointed out that practice isn't about winning, but about getting better. And if you get better, well, the side-effect of that is likely winning more often. But the goal is still the same -- getting better. That's why you train -- to get better. To challenge yourself. To improve. To explore. So when you find something that seems to expand your toolbox or helps you understand the tools you already have in a more nuanced fashion, working on those things isn't about becoming a walking, talking killing machine (or soccer game winning maniac). It's about getting better.

So I think comments like that are really straw man arguments. I don't know many who are in the IP area who are there simply to "win". I'm sure some are, but most I know there are very serious, many with decades of experience, many with decades of experience across many arts. They aren't fools. And they aren't testosterone charged aggression seeking nitwits either.

The biggest problem facing these discussions is the sort of preconceptions people have of the motivations of others they've never met or trained with. And what we read in to what they say. It seems some find any exuberant discussion of an alternate approach to be "drinking the koolaid". Or when people find something that allows them to improve suddenly then others say "ah, you're only concerned with winning".

Generally no. On all ends of the spectrum. There are those who are perfectly happy doing what they do. There are those who have their own ideas of what Aiki is and it seems to me many of those are quite nebulous, varied, and often carry multiple meanings depending on context even for individual people. Me, I'm more in the IP crowd and think aiki is something rather specific and I now "see" it when I watch videos of Ueshiba and others. But of course those could be my "Rose Colored Glasses" as Bertrand Russell used to like to describe. Or to use a more down home saying, "when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail".

But I promised to wander off from these discussions. I'm not training enough. And typing here means I'm not outside shaking a pole are standing around in odd stances or playing with my rubber bands. Yeah, the koolaid is sweet, cold and delicious. Makes me sweat a lot too. But we're all drinking our own flavors. And maybe it would be good to get out and taste some other flavors... I try. And while sometimes I really dislike some, at least I now know that pineapple ain't my flavor...

So yeah, I'm not a fan of Erick's koolaid. But I don't begrudge him nor do I say he doesn't have some validity in what he's doing. I do think he's missed some stuff and has confused some things. But that's okay, the earth will continue to turn. And you guys can continue to practice what you do. I'll do the same.

Okay, I'm going out for beers. Who's coming?

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Old 09-10-2014, 01:22 PM   #74
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

How about stop talking about what is or is not and just do it.
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Old 09-10-2014, 01:27 PM   #75
phitruong
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Re: Refining my view of aiki

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
I'm not training enough. And typing here means I'm not outside shaking a pole are standing around in odd stances or playing with my rubber bands.
dude! that's so rude! you kept playing with your stick and rubber and enjoying it. not right, man!

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