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Old 02-24-2017, 08:43 AM   #76
jonreading
 
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Re: A defense of Aiki

Quote:
Jeremy Hulley wrote: View Post
In ten years of aikido training I was never told once explicitly about opening kua, how to lift the arms, or explicit direction on use of intent. I.m willing to admit I might have missed it but I'm pretty sure it was not there.
I agree. The thought of raising a sword in front of people who really focus on shoulder work is rather daunting. That said, I can't count the number of times I was told I wasn't correctly raising the sword... without really any clarification on how to correctly raise the sword. I think the idea of proper shoulder movement is not explicitly taught in aikido, and if you are lucky enough to think you got what you needed, then good on you. I didn't and many people who I have worked with didn't.

I'd also venture a couple of comments... none of this stuff belongs to anyone. Aiki is old and no one has invented anything that hasn't already been done. While there may be contemporary individuals who express opinions, don't confuse that with your own education or the material itself. Some ideas have better supporting documentation and research.

We'll talk about torsion in the long bones like a spool winding muscle chains around the bone. Chain the body together and rotation can be affected by a long chain of tissue. Up and down are critical components to creating rotation for us. Dueling opposing spirals, technically. As a painful analogy, ever go water skiing? Remember that feeling you get as the boat accelerates away from you and there is slack in the ski rope? Remember that feeling as all of that acceleration pulls the rope taught and you with it? Remember what it's like to get dragged through the water without skis or swim trunks? Length+acceleration= bad news. This is something like the feeling you get when you can feel someone connect a long tissue chain and use that chain to pull on her body to create rotation.

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Old 02-24-2017, 12:39 PM   #77
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
I see your club shares space with a Judo club. Do you play full randori with them?
Yes, I absolutely love playing judo. I gave up randori for an entire year in order to "burn in" the internal mindset, but the difference it made was substantial! The funny thing is that in my time off, I lost some muscle mass (I also stopped weight lifting), but somehow turned into a "strong" guy. I'm not invincible of course, but compared to my pre-internals self, I am much more stable standing. The newaza has improved even more than the tachiwaza.

Whole body power vs isolated muscles will take you a LONG way (and I am just touching the surface of the aiki body). I'm still fighting old habits, but aiki is slowly but surely becoming my "default state".

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Old 02-24-2017, 01:12 PM   #78
GovernorSilver
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Re: A defense of Aiki

Quote:
Jeremy Hulley wrote: View Post
In ten years of aikido training I was never told once explicitly about opening kua, how to lift the arms, or explicit direction on use of intent. I.m willing to admit I might have missed it but I'm pretty sure it was not there.
The guy who teaches Mon. nights at the dojo has a habit of saying "kua" - to try to help us understand the open/close of those particular creases in whatever movement he's teaching that night - because well with his hakama on we can't really see his kua. I asked him later on and he said he'd taken the qigong class offered at the dojo.

Hakama does hide a lot of movement, which makes learning the subtle usages of the hips, kua, weight shifts, etc. more challenging to a noob like me.
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Old 02-24-2017, 02:55 PM   #79
Cady Goldfield
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Re: A defense of Aiki

Paolo,
You will learn more by being able to feel the instructor's hip movements, etc., than by trying to watch them. If what he is doing is internal, any overt movement will not be instructive. See if he'll let you put your hands on his hip joints, lower back, and hara.
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Old 02-24-2017, 03:06 PM   #80
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
Paolo,
You will learn more by being able to feel the instructor's hip movements, etc., than by trying to watch them. If what he is doing is internal, any overt movement will not be instructive. See if he'll let you put your hands on his hip joints, lower back, and hara.
Just to avoid confusion, the dojo I train at is a "regular" Aikido dojo. It's not Sangenkai or anything - no promises of internal power or whatever.

The "kua sensei" is not the type to leave us hanging by teaching only visually. Very much hands-on, on multiple levels. When I'm really struggling, he'll cut in and replace my partner and play both uke/nage roles if needed. I also try to partner up with him at least once on other nights/days when somebody else is taking a turn at playing "sensei".

Last edited by GovernorSilver : 02-24-2017 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 02-24-2017, 04:25 PM   #81
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Paolo Valladolid wrote: View Post
Just to avoid confusion, the dojo I train at is a "regular" Aikido dojo. It's not Sangenkai or anything - no promises of internal power or whatever.

The "kua sensei" is not the type to leave us hanging by teaching only visually. Very much hands-on, on multiple levels. When I'm really struggling, he'll cut in and replace my partner and play both uke/nage roles if needed. I also try to partner up with him at least once on other nights/days when somebody else is taking a turn at playing "sensei".
Ah. Got it!
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Old 02-24-2017, 06:26 PM   #82
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Mark Raugas wrote: View Post
The broader community is very lucky there are people willing to share their body methods (shen fa) with others, outside of a closed group (particular Aikido organization or ryu).

I wince a bit when I hear Daito ryu traditionalists talk about the propriety of Aiki, when Ueshiba and Takeda taught so many many people. Even though I am friends with one or two of them and think some of them are good martial artists, there are others, however, who put the name of their art and lineage as something to distract from their own level of skill.

I think all of this falls back on what each individual can actually do. This is why inter group sparring and pushing can be very useful. Is that Aikido?

For me, when I do something that looks like ikkyo, is it Aikido, Xingyi, or kodachi from Jikishinkage ryu performed without a weapon in my hand? If Takeda studied Jikishinkage ryu for a while, is that closer than Bagua, which he likely never encountered?

Does it matter, if someone cannot stop me?

I guess a question to add to your list is whether given the benefits of internal power and stability to taijutsu, is important to seek Ueshiba's specific methodologies or alternatives?

Is it important to be able to do what he did how he did it or just be able to do what he did?

Can this be done by most people in the context of Aikido or is understanding Daito-ryu necessary?

If you practice other approaches and they influence your Aikido, is that acceptable?

At what point are you no longer doing Aikido?

I am writing this as someone who did what is probably fairly low-level Aikido for a time and then did internal martial arts for some time. I don't think I do Aikido any longer. If I do something that looks like irimi nage, is it just Bagua or is it good Aikido now that I know internal ideas, or is it bad Aikido because the form doesn't look quite right?

Anyway, I have enjoyed reading everyone's posts and though I would contribute some random thoughts.

Mark Raugas
innerdharma.org
Hello Mark,

The questions you ask make a lot of sense, as do the comments of Jon Reading and Alec Corper.

I write, not as anyone who claims any knowledge of internal power—though I have a pretty good idea of what it is, but as someone who has studied the discourses of Morihei Ueshiba in his own language and cultural context.

I think this is important, for much of what has been stated about Ueshiba lacks any knowledge or even awareness of this cultural context. His language presents its own difficulties, but I have come to recognize the importance of this cultural context the hard way: not from books, but from years of living here and working in a large government institution, where, to adapt the title Ellis chose for his book, the sight of the hidden cultural context is plainer in some respects than it would be to those who have not done this.

However, the problem here is that what we actually know of Ueshiba and the life he led has come to us through several filters. In this respect—though I would not want to push the similarities any further, Ueshiba is like Christ and what we know of him comes through the lenses of two large organizations: the Omoto religion and the Aikikai: the Japanese foundation that his son and business disciples created immediately after the war.

I have emphasized this point before and I emphasize it again. Namely, that the fact of World War II and the interference of the Japanese authorities in the development of the art had – for good or ill – a profound effect on aikido and its development. It also had a profound effect on what we actually know about Morihei Ueshiba, who, basically, was a ‘prewar’ figure and lived out his later years as a recognized sage, but one who was not meant to have any real input on how his art developed after World War.

Nor did Ueshiba help himself. I have one of his visiting cards. He is the President of the Tokyo branch of the Jinrui Aizenkai, which was one of the postwar incarnations of the Omoto religion. Omoto, in the person of Onisaburo Deguchi, took it upon itself to reinterpret Japan’s ancient myths in such a way that (a) it incurred the severe displeasure of government authorities, such that it resulted in two suppressions, but (b) it attracted the attention of several political figures and military factions who wanted a ‘restoration:’ a return to Japanese greatness, as they understood it. A comparison with Aum Shinrikyo, the group that was responsible for the gassing incident on the Tokyo subway a few years ago, would be instructive, but probably not the most politically correct thing for me to undertake. Anyway, Ueshiba chose Omoto as the vehicle for articulating his message, but the fact of the war made it impossible for most of his disciples to understand it.

Since Japan was involved in a major war with China, it would not have done Ueshiba much good to emphasize the links with Chinese martial culture, even the ‘internal’ aspects of it. So he did not write anything, but gave lectures and discourses, using the Deguchi’s highly partisan interpretation of Japan’s ancient myths. If you read Deguchi’s vast literary output—including his still untranslated Reikai Monogatari, still in print in 81 volumes, and then look at Ueshiba’s discourses, you will see some very striking similarities: in some places the language is identical.

If you imagine Kisshomaru Ueshiba’s position around 1955, you can appreciate the dilemma he faced. On the one hand, there was his father, a ‘loner’ with a striking, but ambivalent, reputation, who had disappeared ‘underground’ since 1942 to a remote Omoto stronghold in rural Japan, but having left him severe instructions to keep the Tokyo dojo alive at all costs. On the other hand, there was the pressing need to maintain the family and also preserve the art he himself had learned. The name had been given by government authorities during World War II and Kisshomaru grew up at a time when he could see both sides: the prewar nationalism—also fully embraced by his father; and the need to do some postwar reconstruction, in order to preserve what he thought was worth preserving.

So, you have Kisshomaru’s literary output, of technical manuals, an ‘authorized’ biography, and his very careful development of an art that he had decided had to be for general public consumption. There could be no going back to the old prewar days.

What did Kisshomaru do about ‘aiki’? Well, when the discourses of his father were published they were edited by persons who have remained anonymous and ‘do’ was sometimes added to some of the ‘aiki’ references. I think this changes things quite a bit, for it claims ownership of a very general concept and applies it to an art, which may or may not, embody that general concept, either fully or partially.

So, you really have to go outside the two organizations if you want to escape the filters and this is quite difficult.

Finally, (1) Kisshomaru left untouched the archive of material still in Iwama. Thanks to a Danish friend I was able to visit Morihei Ueshiba’s library and see the books he read etc., when he lived there. They are still kept in his living quarters. A future project is to go through this material.

(2) Kisshomaru wrote his own autobiography, which in my opinion, gives him a major place in aikido outside the shadow of his father. It is unfortunate that this has not been translated, but I plan to give a detailed summary of contents in future TIE columns, assuming that I am still fit enough to continue writing them.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-24-2017 at 06:30 PM.

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Old 02-24-2017, 07:57 PM   #83
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Re: A defense of Aiki

Quote:
Jeremy Hulley wrote: View Post
In ten years of aikido training I was never told once explicitly about opening kua, how to lift the arms, or explicit direction on use of intent. I.m willing to admit I might have missed it but I'm pretty sure it was not there.
Too right, unfortunately. It has required far too much unpacking. The explanation has not been there. But the exercises unquestionably do train these things. Each opens and closes kua continually, torquing and untorquing each in succession. Tying the exercise to the application and understanding what is being done -- that has been missing.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-24-2017, 08:17 PM   #84
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Paolo Valladolid wrote: View Post
Interesting. Ledyard-sensei credits Harden, Howard Popkin, and his own sempai/sensei (Ikeda and Saotome) for what he can do.

Have you trained with him? I see you are both based in the Pacific NW.
Not exactly. NW Florida,. Or Lower Alabama. We answer to anything. Just don't call us late to dinner.

And I have trained with him, but that was before he was doing anything like what Ikeda has been doing for many many years. Ledyard had much of value even so. Hooker, in my experience was hands on, practical, and invested in delving into traditions to find the riches in them, but he did not express a need, at least in my periodic exposure to him, in relating a more western understanding of the art.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-24-2017, 08:59 PM   #85
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Paolo Valladolid wrote: View Post
" I guess "torque" is used by IP folks?
. In my experience little of profit happens in trying to get "inside" any insular system of terminology with other terms when practitioners value its benefits to what they do. Investment is defended and especially when it has value to the practitioner, and needless debates happen. Better is to try to relate systems practically speaking rather than in absolutist terms. I have no brief against those systems. My task is tying the mechanics and physiology to my training and to broadly grasped neutral concepts stated in those terms, because I believe it will ultimately be more accessible, despite a slight threshold in introducing oneself to those bodies of knowledge. Every system has a threshold barrier of some kind.

Quote:
Yes, this has been explained to me by Budd and Mike. It's hard to do them right on my own, so I rely on other training methods (zhan zhuang, reverse breathing, reverse breathing w/ dantian and muscle tendon connections, silk reeling, etc.) at home - well, to train 6H skills, which may or may not be related to IP, other than the common reference to Up and Down. So far I have found zhan zhuang is more productive when practiced with focus on Up and Down.
In the aiki taiso, IMO, focus should be on the in-yo core driven change of weight and torsional compression and extension particularly of the legs, allowing the conserved stress in the body reach the natural limit and rebound to the opposite action within the body. Then one begin s letting the core action drive the upper body action also. Ude furi driving the arms is a baseline on that. Funetori is particularly good for this. Saya undo is a close second.

In the upper body, attention to tegatana assures that the arms are conduits of correct power and not sources of it. Attention to the waki serves as a more obvious proxy of the open/closed action of the shoulder-girdle hinge (shoulder "kua" as some have referred to it). That is, as space in the waki increases as tegatana rotates to raise the elbow, the shoulder "closes". And as the waki space diminishes and the elbow comes closer to the ribs in tegatana, the shoulder is "opening."

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-24-2017, 09:46 PM   #86
GovernorSilver
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Re: A defense of Aiki

I'll have to ask Budd for help again with the aiki taiso stuff next time I see him. I'm not smart enough to get it right without hands-on help. He tried to teach me 6H-correct funagoki undo and I just didn't get it at the time - my fault, not his.

He also taught the five themes of Taikyoku Budo (originally Ellis Amdur's Taikyoku Aikido). Those are much easier to remember and practice as they are on Youtube and I can watch them over and over again. One of the themes is Ikkyo and it externally looks identical to "normal" Aikido ikkyo, so I can practice it the 6H way in class while following the sensei without anybody noticing or caring.

Last edited by GovernorSilver : 02-24-2017 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 02-24-2017, 09:51 PM   #87
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Re: A defense of Aiki

You asked for responses to your questions, rather than puns. I'd like to answer them all in puns, but really, I'm not that clever...

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Mark Raugas wrote: View Post
The first question is an important one and full of its own complexity:

Is there only one kind of internal power?
Everyone knows this.
There can be only one.

Quote:
What types of internal power can be cultivated?
That I can't say. Seems a question of application, and just intuitively I don't think there are meaningful limits on varieties of application.

Quote:
Are they all equally relevant to what Ellis calls arms length grappling?
Without question

Quote:
If you power your taijutsu with internal power from another source, is it still Aikido?
Yes. The jury seems unanimous on this.

Quote:
I wound up leaving that group later on and focused my time on Bagua, Xingyi, and Taiji. I now focus on them as separate arts taught in the same school, taught in a way that is compatible.

When I hit someone, is it Xingyi or Bagua?
The pointing finger is not the moon. There. That is my one an only obligatory mystical eastern training crypticism. But really, the body only works in certain ways. Training takes all paths back into the body trying to optimize things the body CAN do. Not all are optimizing the same things or to the same ends.

Quote:
When I throw someone, is it Xingyi or Bagua or Taiji?
I remember an admonition about how once you get kuzushi and hit someone, the result will depend on your body development. That development can happen in a variety of ways. It is your body.
Can't speak to Xingyi, but circle walking is alternately opening and closing the kua, as is most of the aiki taiso, as are many of the taiji training forms. Each is optimizing that aspect of what the body does , which is similar, to their approach to engaging an opponent, which, while not so alien as to be unrelatable, are by and large different from one another.

Quote:
At what point are you no longer doing Aikido?

I am writing this as someone who did what is probably fairly low-level Aikido for a time and then did internal martial arts for some time. I don't think I do Aikido any longer. If I do something that looks like irimi nage, is it just Bagua or is it good Aikido now that I know internal ideas, or is it bad Aikido because the form doesn't look quite right?
In our dojo, which Hooker started, we hand down a precious book he left us on the Rules of Aikido. It resides on the kamidana in every class. Turning to page 237 of the Rules of Aikido, I find the following quote:
Quote:
.

( Like the rest of the book, it is empty. And the book is invisible. We lose it ALL the time.)

There are no rules in Aikido. There is a reality of Aiki. There are principles by which aiki may be understood and or trained and which aikido properly exhibits that should make it recognizable. It has been obscured in many places for some time but this seems to be getting better, according to a number of different approaches to those principles.

But if you are doing that you are doing aikido -- also perhaps Bagua, Xingyi or Taiji.

There isn't a Venn diagram. Certainly not in the Rules of Aikido.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-24-2017, 09:57 PM   #88
Mark Raugas
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post

I write, not as anyone who claims any knowledge of internal power—though I have a pretty good idea of what it is, but as someone who has studied the discourses of Morihei Ueshiba in his own language and cultural context.

I think this is important, for much of what has been stated about Ueshiba lacks any knowledge or even awareness of this cultural context. His language presents its own difficulties, but I have come to recognize the importance of this cultural context the hard way: not from books, but from years of living here and working in a large government institution, where, to adapt the title Ellis chose for his book, the sight of the hidden cultural context is plainer in some respects than it would be to those who have not done this.

However, the problem here is that what we actually know of Ueshiba and the life he led has come to us through several filters

...

Finally, (1) Kisshomaru left untouched the archive of material still in Iwama. Thanks to a Danish friend I was able to visit Morihei Ueshiba's library and see the books he read etc., when he lived there. They are still kept in his living quarters. A future project is to go through this material.

(2) Kisshomaru wrote his own autobiography, which in my opinion, gives him a major place in aikido outside the shadow of his father. It is unfortunate that this has not been translated, but I plan to give a detailed summary of contents in future TIE columns, assuming that I am still fit enough to continue writing them.
Hi Peter,

Thank you. It is almost as if there is a change in semiotics from pre-war to post-war, from Ueshiba Morihei to Kisshomaru. By that I mean a translation into a different conceptual framework, that encodes ideas in a different manner, and may result in the same signifiers (signs) pointing to different signified, when looking from father to son, whereas in Ueshiba himself, changes in signifiers potentially from Daito-ryu terminology (possibly Shingon-based?) to Omoto-kyo?

Some interesting studies might be:

How do the philosophical concepts taught at the Aikikai in Tokyo align with those taught in Iwama and those taught in separate (pre-war?) Aikido organizations such as the Yoshinkan?

How do the concepts of Omoto-kyo framing Ueshiba's description of his practice correspond to statements made by other teachers of Daito-ryu?

At the same time, I think it is important to recognize that there can sometimes be a distinction between what one's mental framework is for their practice and what they are doing. Many ideas get lost in translation, and Chinese martial arts are an exemplar rather than an exception. One of the challenges I face when I hear the word internal used in reference to Japanese jujutsu or taijutsu is that the spread of so-called internal schools of Chinese martial arts seem to post-date the major influx of martial theory from China to Japan. Taijiquan and Xingyiquan may only date from the late 16th/early 17th century and Baguazhang was developed in the 19th century. They share common characteristics that seem to be compatible, and different from older martial arts that also provide a mechanism for reaching high levels of personal development (what can be contrasted by being called external martial arts, which need not be a pejorative term).

We in contrast have the founding stories of Yoshin-ryu being set in the early Tokugawa era (e.g., via Chen Genpin) and some cross-pollination in Jikishinkage-ryu, where there is in influx of ideas from Ogasawara Genshinsai, who spent 30 years in Beijing after changing political affiliations one too many times. We know that today Jiki looks very different from other lines of Shinkage-ryu. An open question is whether that time period caused the resulting differences. It is well known, of course, for its focus on breathing, posture, and power, and its relative scarcity of explicit tactics compared to other lines of Shinkage-ryu. Sadly, we also know Takeda Sokaku was rather experienced by the time he visited Sakakibara's Jikishinkage-ryu dojo. It is overly simplistic to assume Jikishinkage-ryu was a tremendous influence on the man; however, maybe he found something compatible or inspiring in its approach, based on his training.

Despite the questions regarding timing, either of martial theory or practice from China to Japan, or in Takeda's own martial development, if we look besides general anatomy and pre-modern types of movement (from hunting, agriculture, horsemanship, archery, spear, etc.) it seems like at least at the beginning of the Edo period, there is an opportunity for there to be some common ground in place that could follow similar, albeit culturally specific, developments in parallel. If we assume Chinese internal martial arts developed around the same time. Japanese martial artists in the Edo period did possess the necessary philosophical framework of Taoism needed to discover or develop somewhat analogous internal martial arts ideas.

Rather than being a product of an extremely martial environment (e.g., Aizu-han rustic wabi sabi), could Aiki instead be developed due to a prolonged period of peace, that allowed people extended periods of study, practice, and analysis?

Fast forward to today, in reading Sasamori Junzo in his book on Budo and Christianity, he speaks of using his dantien quite clearly in talking about Ona-ha Itto-ryu kenjutsu and kiri otoshi, which is supposed to drop an opponent where he stands. He references Itto-ryu taijutsu explicitly, which might lend some credence to Ellis' thesis that Daito-ryu aiki is somehow related to Itto-ryu teachings from Takeda's family. The fact that Takeda Soeman is said to have studied Shugendo (Onmyodo) is also interesting to me, regarding Taoism, is mentioned at some points by Daito-ryu practitioners, and I think might be related, or at least worthy of consideration.

What the above does not answer is why all Edo-period Japanese jujutsu did not similarly develop concepts of Aiki. Clearly, the people who encountered Takeda, and later Ueshiba, had access to local machi dojo for jujutsu and gekken/kendo (or kenjutsu). The number of people drawn to those teachers may have been influenced due to political reasons or the spread of Omoto-kyo (was it Deguchi who suggested the term Aiki-jujutsu to Takeda?) but the skill level of the two men is not in question.

Some of the questions in my first post are driven by the fact that maybe a thesis is that while a conservative subset of modern Aikido practice might be quite compatible with internal martial arts ideas, by the fact that the core subset of Daito-ryu practices are as well, a question remains as to whether it is more efficient to attempt to learn those practices directly (if they are accessible -- for a period of time it was not so easy to do so, possibly now things are more open and there are unique figures making versions of these teachings available more widely today) or whether homologues can stand in sufficiently well.

I think the answer may depend on what a person is trying to achieve, which drove me to ask whether it is sufficient to be able to do what Ueshiba or others did, some of what they did, and by the same means. There is also the question of what a decision procedure is, outside of a kata pedagogy and gokui/kuden methodology, for evaluating levels of skill in a practitioner.

In Taijiquan, there is the concept of push hands practice to evaluate levels of relative skill between practitioners (although that itself can devolve and become devoid of meaning in the wrong context) and a set of classics that one can consult to evaluate whether one is still doing Taijiquan. The first is a question of being good or not good (relative level of skill), whereas the latter is a question of doing Taiji or not doing Taiji. Even with those textual resources available, there is extreme variation in the outward form of different Taiji styles, and arguments about correctness and effectiveness across major groups, and differing accounts of Taiji history.

A benefit with Aikido, in comparison, may be the existence of the written sources you describe, albeit yet not fully explored. I look forward to your additional writing on these topics!

Best,
Mark
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Old 02-24-2017, 09:57 PM   #89
GovernorSilver
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Not exactly. NW Florida,. Or Lower Alabama. We answer to anything. Just don't call us late to dinner.

And I have trained with him, but that was before he was doing anything like what Ikeda has been doing for many many years. Ledyard had much of value even so. Hooker, in my experience was hands on, practical, and invested in delving into traditions to find the riches in them, but he did not express a need, at least in my periodic exposure to him, in relating a more western understanding of the art.
Oh, sorry for the confusion.

If you ever do meet Ledyard again, could you ask him to do the uke connection thing to you? You know, the thing that I described earlier when he grabbed my wrist - some "thing" coming up my arm into my body without any visible movement in his - he was just standing there when he did it to me. I would be curious to see if what it feels like is indeed the same as what Hooker-sensei has done.

It's really just out of curiosity that I ask this. I don't think anybody at the dojo I train at can do that, but I love to train there anyway, because the Aikido there is a good match for me. Several individuals there have a good command of Up/Ground "jin"/force vector (it's the most accessible one) but I suspect that's just a product of solid Aikido training under the influence of Tohei and his "keep one point", "weight underside", etc. concepts. I suspect Ledyard was using the Up force vector as a component of what he did to me, but I wonder if there were others too. One of the Taikyoku themes involves a strike that utilizes both Up and Down simultaneously.

Last edited by GovernorSilver : 02-24-2017 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 02-24-2017, 10:19 PM   #90
Mark Raugas
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
There are no rules in Aikido. There is a reality of Aiki. There are principles by which aiki may be understood and or trained and which aikido properly exhibits that should make it recognizable. It has been obscured in many places for some time but this seems to be getting better, according to a number of different approaches to those principles.

But if you are doing that you are doing aikido -- also perhaps Bagua, Xingyi or Taiji.
I like that perspective.
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Old 02-25-2017, 04:00 AM   #91
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Andy Kazama wrote: View Post
Yes, I absolutely love playing judo. I gave up randori for an entire year in order to "burn in" the internal mindset, but the difference it made was substantial! The funny thing is that in my time off, I lost some muscle mass (I also stopped weight lifting), but somehow turned into a "strong" guy. I'm not invincible of course, but compared to my pre-internals self, I am much more stable standing. The newaza has improved even more than the tachiwaza.
Thanks.

Could you be a bit more specific about the amount of improvement? Something in the line of 'pre-internals I was performing at X kyu/dan level and now I perform at Y kyu/dan level' or 'I was being consistenly outclassed by X kyu/dan level partners and now they are the ones being ipponed by me' would be useful.

Also, what has been the judo people you train with reaction to your improvement, are they incorporating internal training to their regime after having felt your increase of body skill?
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:22 PM   #92
Currawong
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
So, you really have to go outside the two organizations if you want to escape the filters and this is quite difficult.

Finally, (1) Kisshomaru left untouched the archive of material still in Iwama. Thanks to a Danish friend I was able to visit Morihei Ueshiba's library and see the books he read etc., when he lived there. They are still kept in his living quarters. A future project is to go through this material.

(2) Kisshomaru wrote his own autobiography, which in my opinion, gives him a major place in aikido outside the shadow of his father. It is unfortunate that this has not been translated, but I plan to give a detailed summary of contents in future TIE columns, assuming that I am still fit enough to continue writing them.

Best wishes,
Hi Peter,

I'm curious as to what Doshu makes of all this, including the IP research.

Amos

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Old 02-28-2017, 11:44 PM   #93
Mark Raugas
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Amos Barnett wrote: View Post
I'm curious as to what Doshu makes of all this, including the IP research.
Maybe he would say it is not his Aikido... Wouldn't that be ironic?

Last edited by Mark Raugas : 02-28-2017 at 11:54 PM. Reason: Want to clarify I am trying to be ironic.
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Old 03-03-2017, 09:31 AM   #94
Larry Feldman
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Re: A defense of Aiki

I understand the current Doshu gave a class/lecture on IP recently.....
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Old 03-03-2017, 10:28 AM   #95
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Re: A defense of Aiki

One of the first things that struck me in looking into IP was the number of people to talked about IP and the number of people who taught IP. Many people talked about IP, few people taught it. When I critically reviewed how I learned aikido and also how I taught aikido, I realized IP was not part of my culture of aikido. Sure, I "knew" about it, but I did nothing in class to gain the aiki body and I did nothing to teach how to get aiki. 30 minutes of "warm-ups" and then we got to practice aikido. This was almost as wrong as you can train...

So, we flipped things. Now, most of our class is "warm-ups", which we perform as solo or paired exercises. We also teach crticial markers of success. For example, all of our movement must be possessed of heaven-earth-man. Not that it is, but you get the idea. I have referenced two notions of feeling that many (if not all) of the deshi spoke about with regard to O Sensei- they always were instantly off-balance, and O Sesensi had "unusual" power. So, we look for these two elements in any aikido movement - they must always be present. As an interesting side note, these two elements also address almost any whotif we have in aikido that explains why your aikido doesn't work, or if uke is being to stubborn, or if we're rolling, or...

I think this is part of my criticism. If taken into any other academic pursuit, the argument we make to "learn" IP is ridiculous. What if I taught math by saying, "Do enough addition and eventually you will learn multiplication."? What if I taught science my saying, "dissect enough frogs and you'll learn biology."? An yet, "train long enough and you'll learn aiki," is an acceptable answer. Or, remember those two times sensei talked about some doka? That was IP 101.

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Old 03-03-2017, 11:02 AM   #96
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: A defense of Aiki

So what is your goal...how does aiki enhance your practice?

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Old 03-03-2017, 01:33 PM   #97
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Re: A defense of Aiki

... its puts aiki into my aikido... I know that sounds silly, but I think one of the things the IP community is saying is for being an art with aiki in the name, there is not a lot of training using aiki in aikido. For me, I think there are people who are: 1. performing moves that do not have aiki in them or 2. defining "aiki" to meet an ability to perform. In my case, I was in #1 and I made it my goal to figure out why I didn't have aiki in my movement and find out how I could change that.

I think the friction in what I am saying is that nobody wants to admit #1 or #2. So we'll say things like, "we do that in our aikido," or, "my sensei used to say XYZ, so I know about IP," or, "there is no such thing; O Sensei was only speaking metaphorically about this stuff," fill in the blank. I get it - It's also the Internet, so no one can puts hands on people and figure things out. But, I can point to specific training now to help me understand the body movement I am training, and how I know it's right (or wrong). And no, "aiki is in everything you do" is not a valid answer for pointing to how you train your body to use aiki.

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Old 03-03-2017, 01:54 PM   #98
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
So what is your goal...how does aiki enhance your practice?
I'm not sure how to respond.

I'm more stable, I generate more power with less effort, I feel better physically even though I'm not in as good a shape as I was a few years ago.

I want to be better at what I do, better at what I teach. I want stuff to work.

It's another layer to journey for me.

I now have a framework for being supported and relaxing at the same time.

I understand softness differently.

Jeremy Hulley
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Old 03-03-2017, 02:23 PM   #99
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: A defense of Aiki

I get that.

Why is it so hard for you to believe that everyone's aikido is not lacking aiki?

I have felt people who just do technique and do not have a feeling of connection or grounded-ness. Their technique feels irrelevant to me. And I don't mean that in a bad way...just that it seems like it is fake and won't work in self protection. It feels like it is for show instead of for feeling.

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Old 03-03-2017, 06:47 PM   #100
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
I get that.

Why is it so hard for you to believe that everyone's aikido is not lacking aiki?
Hey Mary,
That was not an attack.

Just doing my best to answer your previous question.

And I will own it. It is hard for me to believe.

Last edited by Jeremy Hulley : 03-03-2017 at 06:51 PM.

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