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Old 12-21-2002, 02:34 AM   #1
DaveO
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Jun 2002
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Getting it?

Hello, friends.
Jun wrote a question on another thread asking about 'learning to learn' and it prompted me to write about something that's been bothering me for a while. I read the threads on this and other boards, and one question keeps coming back at me: Why do I, a rank newbie to Aikido with less than a year in, appear to 'get it', when others don't seem to?
On the surface, it's a non-question. Some people pick things up faster than others. But: I started training in April. Two classes a week, an hour of practice at ukemi and hitori-waza on my mats at home daily. Not a lot, in my books. But: When we do Ki exercises, I do the 3rd level exercises, not the first. I have little difficulty doing them as well. I was talking with one of the boxers from the studio that just started in our building (they share our changeroom), demonstrated Unbendable Arm and walked away with him hanging off my arm - carried him all over the floor without effort, and he was a big boy.
A few weeks ago, shortly before my 5th kyu test, we were in Randori and something happened - it was like a dam bursting; that's the only analogy I can use to describe it. Before, I was always game enough getting up for Randori, it's my favourite part of the day. I'm OK at it, I'd be able to get out of the way, or get in a good-enough technique if the opportunity presented itself (i.e. if one of the ukes gave me his arm, etc.) But this time, I stepped out, bowed, and when I straightened up, I just felt different than usual - I was literally vibrating with readiness - the last time I'd felt like that was nine years ago in the Medak Pocket. Instead of setting up for their attacks, I came in fast, engaging them before they could prepare their own attacks. I went from one side to the other, moving instinctively. I didn't think about it, didn't look for techniques, they just happened. Ikkyo-tenkan flowed into kaitenage. A kote-oroshi on one blocked another, allowing me to feint into a sankyo projection on a third. No-one got close, and while I was certainly wrung out by the end (it seemed to go on forever), I wasn't nearly as tired as usual. It was like I'd suddenly added a year to my training. My techniques are still shaky when performing them to levels, and I don't know many, but learning them is suddenly coming easy - in such a small dojo, I regularly work with Sensei on her techniques as uke (her 'training dummy' lol) and perform many of the same techniques.
Why?
I have some background - I used to take Karate, Jiu-Jitsu and Judo (in inverse order), and spent the better part of my adult life training for combat as an Infantryman. But - why does that help me in Aikido?
Attitude may be one reason - I've never made any secret of the fact that my main interest in Aikido is not for its spiritual strengths, but its tactical advantage - it can be a powerful tool in the right circumstances. I have not, however, closed myself to Aikido's spiritual nature - that side has opened up vast areas for me to think about.
Confidence may be another reason; I've learned in my life to trust my own abilities; and to guard against overconfidence - no matter how difficult, challenging or potentially painful (Nikkyo variations by a favourite, semi-psychotic but lots of fun visiting Nidan come to mind...) the task, I'll step out without any hesitation.
Fighting experience certainly helps - Randori and certain techniques can be bloody disorienting, but not nearly so as a firefight...I have no trouble keeping my head.
Personal attention is another possibility - with only seven menbers in the Dojo, everyone has plenty of one-on-one time with Sensei Jill.
But that still doesn't answer my question; why does it seem to come so easy for me?
While re-reading this letter, I find I sound like a real ego-tripper, but trust me, I'm not - that's why I'm writing this. I love Aikido, it seems to suit me; I swallowed it hook, line and sinker, but my seemingly rapid rate of learning has me seriously confused. Why do I, of all people, seem to 'get it'? How did I manage to toss one of our more senior students into a zempo with a flick of my wrist during randori?
Why am I the one suddenly trusted to train newcomers when Jill's not available? I'm just a 5th kyu.
Anyone?

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 12-21-2002, 05:51 AM   #2
mike lee
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
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beware of trumpet blowers

If you really got it, you wouldn't need to ask "why."
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Old 12-21-2002, 08:45 AM   #3
SeiserL
 
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IMHO, there is a major difference between our mental maps and the reality of the territory. When the map doesn't match the territory, we don't get it. When the map matches the terriroty, we get it. Some people natural have maps from their history that better match Aikido. Others of us have to consciously become better map makers to incoporate a new model and new information.

Until again,

Lynn

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 12-21-2002, 09:03 AM   #4
bob_stra
Location: Australia
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Re: Getting it?

Quote:
Dave Organ (DaveO) wrote:
Anyone?
Do you want fries with that? ;-)

Seriously tho, I wrote an article for some friends a while back that might be of use.

http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=e...com%26rnum%3D1

Failing that, let me know if you want the *technical* version ;-)
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Old 12-21-2002, 09:22 AM   #5
DaveO
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
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Lynn and Bob:

Excellent info, thank you. It's exactly what I was looking for. Bob - I haven't had time to read the entire document yet, I've just skimmed it, but it contains a tremendous amount of information; thanx

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Old 12-21-2002, 09:38 AM   #6
bob_stra
Location: Australia
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Quote:
Dave Organ (DaveO) wrote:
It's exactly what I was looking for. Bob - I haven't had time to read the entire document yet, I've just skimmed it, but it contains a tremendous amount of information; thanx
You're quite welcome. It's kind of tangential to what your asking abt, but it should give you some food for thought.

Having said that, I'm not as capable as Lynn in discussing the mental aspects, other than to say -

(1) NLP in 21 days by (adler) might be a book of some interest to you

(2) http://www.enhanced-performance.com/.../articles.html has some good stuff

(3) "Athletes guide to mental training" by Nideffer discusses in detail the mental training requirements / methods for aikido in a non-technical way. Might be down your local library.
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Old 12-21-2002, 09:46 AM   #7
DaveO
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
Location: Alberta, Canada
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Thanks again. I consider myself a fairly good teacher; it seems to me that if I can understand this aspect of it a little better than I do now, it'll help me in teaching others.
Oh, and Mike: I may not 'get it' either as much as I think I do, or as much as your own awesome self, but at least I'm making the effort to learn. Thanks so much for your input.

Last edited by DaveO : 12-21-2002 at 09:48 AM.

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Old 12-21-2002, 06:05 PM   #8
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Dave,

Think I know where you are coming from. I think you are dealing with three aspects of "self"...mind, body, and spirit.

It is possible to totally "get it" with little or no Aikido training. There are many paths aikido is but one way to help align this aspects.

As an infantrymen you receive much training in developing your warrior spirit and mind (mental conditioning, as well as your physical self.)...I also recieved a great deal of spiritual training believe it or not from my experiences in the Infantry as well. While I certainly feel I "get" certain aspects of martial training and have no issues about my abilities as a martial artist... I do have much to learn.

What I find is the more I think I get it..the more I really realize that I don't understand!

So, even though you may not be experienced in Aikido, or know how to move the way they want you to move in aiki training...it is possible to "get it".

Hopefully you, as I have found, that Aikido is a wonderful method for refining yourself. I personally think it does more for me spiritually now than physical or mental...but several years ago, I thought the opposite...not that my training changed much, but my perspective.

So I guess just as I think I "get it" I then realize that I "got it" which means that I don't "get it" so I go back to train some more...."get it?"

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Old 12-21-2002, 11:22 PM   #9
DaveO
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
Location: Alberta, Canada
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Kevin wrote:
Quote:
Hopefully you, as I have found, that Aikido is a wonderful method for refining yourself. I personally think it does more for me spiritually now than physical or mental...but several years ago, I thought the opposite...not that my training changed much, but my perspective.
Hi, Kevin; good to hear from you again.

You know something, I think you hit the nail right on the head with your post; I originally began training - and continue to do so - for its tactical applications. However, I've began to embrace the spiritual side; neither voluntarily nor involuntarily, but more as a matter of course - i.e. it just happened, really. I still haven't got a clue what Ki is; doubt I ever will, but I think it's not the knowing, but the finding out that's important.

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 01-05-2003, 06:40 PM   #10
DaveO
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Jun 2002
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Hello, friends; thanks again for all your great replies.

I just picked up a great book called "Aikido: Exercises for Teaching and Training", by C.M. Shifflett. I'm probably the last person on this forum to know about it, since there are many I know here that seem to have been involved in the making of it. (Some nice quotes there, Jun!)

Anyway; there are a few excellent points in Appendix C 'On Learning' that really help clarify this point - she defines the differences between visual, auditory and tactile/kinesthetic learners. From the descriptions, it is clear I belong to the last group - people who gain their information best through proprioception; which if I understand correctly is an awareness of one's body position and movement.

Ms. Schifflett is a very good writer and teacher; pointing out something that - now that I know about it - should have been blindingly obvious.

I also have another thread going called 'teaching intent'; this point - and others she discusses - has opened up a whole range of possibilities for teaching that area as well.

(To sum up; great book, I highly recommend it.)

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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