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Old 07-05-2000, 12:32 PM   #1
Erik
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In my case it's virtually all I do. At my home dojo I'd guesstimate that we do it something like 90% of the time, probably more. Conversely, when I'm on the road I run into it almost 0% of the time.

So I'm curious just how much time do you all spend doing it?
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Old 07-06-2000, 04:32 PM   #2
akiy
 
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Frankly? Not enough.

We do what you would call "jiyu waza" probably about 5% of the time during our regular classes here, if even that much.

I think you'll be happy to hear, though, that whenever I get thrust into teaching a class on empty-handed stuff, I always end the class with some jiyuwaza.

-- Jun

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Old 07-06-2000, 04:41 PM   #3
dbgard
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Talking free style for the right brain (or left if you're split-brained)

yes, we must do a bit of jiyu waza during class I feel. This gives us a sense of artistic expression as well as a closer-to-true-attack situation. Also we could do some quasi-jiyu-waza in which Sensei calls a particular attack and nage chooses which response should be made. Just a thought...

Drew "the best looking aikidoka in the West" (except anyone who is bigger than me and can kick my ass) Gardner

hara-kiri for the fear-mongers,
sushi-waza for the peace-makers.

--The great dream shared among my friends--

--Please see [u]Aikido and the Harmony of Nature[u] [i]illustration:[i] p. 125. Mitsugi-san, I taught you aikido in my former life, and no
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Old 07-06-2000, 05:38 PM   #4
Erik
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Re: free style for the right brain (or left if you're split-brained)

Quote:
dbgard wrote:
This gives us a sense of artistic expression
You made my day with this phrase and you used expression in the same sentence.

For a so-called martial art, we sure don't use the word art much.
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Old 07-06-2000, 05:43 PM   #5
akiy
 
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Sure we do. The first defition of "Art" (as a noun) in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is "1: skill acquired by experience, study, or observation <the art of making friends>." Only when we get down to the fourth defition of the word "art" does the word "creative" come into play.

Is writing an art? Does it have to be creative for it to be an art? I don't think so.

I know what you mean, though. A lot of the aikido out there seems too "cookie-cutter" to me. There really aren't that many people doing anything creative in the art.

-- Jun

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Old 07-06-2000, 06:33 PM   #6
Erik
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Quote:
akiy wrote:
Sure we do. The first defition of "Art" (as a noun) in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is "1: skill acquired by experience, study, or observation <the art of making friends>." Only when we get down to the fourth defition of the word "art" does the word "creative" come into play.

Is writing an art? Does it have to be creative for it to be an art? I don't think so.

I know what you mean, though. A lot of the aikido out there seems too "cookie-cutter" to me. There really aren't that many people doing anything creative in the art.

-- Jun
Ok, Mr. Semantics.

Writing is an excellent example and you just triggered a bunch of ideas of which I'm going to share a couple. Aren't you all lucky?

In my perfect world, Aikido would be exactly like writing. You spend some time learning to print (drawing on lines) until you get solid with it and then you move into cursive which is much more creative. The problem as I see it is that cursive is almost never taught or practiced.

We print, print, print, print and then we print some more. Where do we learn the cursive? Hell there are styles that do jiyu waza in print form.

Worse, cursive in the body is very hard to implement after years of printing in my experience. Now if you focus on elements of posture, center and the like it seems to happen ok but only if you see and do cursive. If all you ever do is print even if from good form you lose/miss that creative element. And to me, that creative element is the interesting part.

I wonder if some people are threatened by creativity or maybe they were just never exposed to it? If someone told me I'd want to develop web pages on the front end, I'd have laughed at them 5 years ago but now here I am.

We just seem to never teach people to be creative. If the semantics there are bad then maybe it should read we don't help them explore being creative in this art form.



[Edited by Erik on July 6, 2000 at 11:17pm]
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Old 07-06-2000, 07:38 PM   #7
Chuck Clark
 
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A very large part of our practice in Jiyushinkai (after learning our seiteigata or standardized syllabus for learning kihon which is similar to playing scales and chord progressions, etc. in music) is our randori practice which stimulates intuitive, creative thinking and decision making skills. Very similar to playing jazz.




Chuck Clark
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Old 07-06-2000, 11:23 PM   #8
akiy
 
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I'll add that being "constrained" (my own quotes for emphasis) into set forms can actually bring about quite a lot of creativity.

I remember being in a creative writing class a few years back. We had an in-class assignment in which we drew two words out of a hat and had to write a poem about the first using the second. I drew "freedom" and "leather jacket."

I sat and thought about it for a few minutes and couldn't come up with anything. So I constrained myself to the syllabic constraints of a Japanese haiku and came up with something like:
  • My leather jacket
    On the bank next to your shirt
    As we skinny dip.
Although it wasn't a "proper" haiku since it didn't involve the seasons, I thought it was interesting that I came up with that almost instantly after giving myself a constraint.

In aikido (bringing this back on-topic) I feel the same thing can happen. At least in our dojo, we work with "ikkyo" or "hijinage" to try to develop what works for us.

You know my teacher pretty well, Erik, and I know yours in a similar fashion. You focus more on creativity and we focus more on physical effectiveness. Perhaps, out of your pursuit of creativity comes effectiveness and out of our pursuit of effectiveness comes creativity? It's hard to say but it sounds pretty neat, in any case...

-- Jun

PS: Yes, Chuck -- what you guys do is really creative, too. It's different from what Erik does, but definitely fostering what you said. It felt kind of like a mixture of jazz and chess to me...

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Old 07-07-2000, 12:09 AM   #9
Erik
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If ever the twain should meet

Quote:
akiy wrote:
I'll add that being "constrained" (my own quotes for emphasis) into set forms can actually bring about quite a lot of creativity.

I remember being in a creative writing class a few years back. We had an in-class assignment in which we drew two words out of a hat and had to write a poem about the first using the second. I drew "freedom" and "leather jacket."

I sat and thought about it for a few minutes and couldn't come up with anything. So I constrained myself to the syllabic constraints of a Japanese haiku and came up with something like:
  • My leather jacket
    On the bank next to your shirt
    As we skinny dip.
Although it wasn't a "proper" haiku since it didn't involve the seasons, I thought it was interesting that I came up with that almost instantly after giving myself a constraint.

In aikido (bringing this back on-topic) I feel the same thing can happen. At least in our dojo, we work with "ikkyo" or "hijinage" to try to develop what works for us.

You know my teacher pretty well, Erik, and I know yours in a similar fashion. You focus more on creativity and we focus more on physical effectiveness. Perhaps, out of your pursuit of creativity comes effectiveness and out of our pursuit of effectiveness comes creativity? It's hard to say but it sounds pretty neat, in any case...

-- Jun

PS: Yes, Chuck -- what you guys do is really creative, too. It's different from what Erik does, but definitely fostering what you said. It felt kind of like a mixture of jazz and chess to me...
I have to pretty much agree with what you said. The interesting difference in your constraint is that the result wasn't constrained. Your tools were limited but the result wasn't. Going back to the print example the result is fixed and the path to the result is pretty much fixed. Whereas with cursive....

Yea, it's an interesting thing. Some of us are actually pretty martial (my instructor uses atemi, I use it, a couple of others use it) so we're really not that removed in a lot of ways. Interesting aside but I wound up wrestling with my instructor tonight which isn't that uncommon.

I've felt some of your folks flow rather nicely. Wildly dissimilar in the process but the result might be pretty close. Interesting indeed.

I'll shut the post down with something I heard involving a big gun instructor and a student you wouldn't have heard of. The student asked the instructor, "we spend all this time practicing to do Aikido so when do we get to do Aikido?" I gather it wasn't a stellar answer.
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Old 07-07-2000, 12:25 AM   #10
Erik
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Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote:
A very large part of our practice in Jiyushinkai (after learning our seiteigata or standardized syllabus for learning kihon which is similar to playing scales and chord progressions, etc. in music) is our randori practice which stimulates intuitive, creative thinking and decision making skills. Very similar to playing jazz.
Sounds very interesting. Jazz on the mat. I could probably get into that.

Your post just reminded me of a terminology issue. I see jiyu waza as a free form practice and randori as a multiple attacker event. I tend to forget that some view randori as free form practice. I don't know if that is how you see it but you reminded me of that distinction. So thank you for that.
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Old 07-07-2000, 12:54 AM   #11
Chuck Clark
 
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Randori literally means to take form out of the chaos of rebellion.

Our randori has the option for either person to end up with the sente (initiative).

In our system, jiyu waza is a free form practice of taking techniques with uke not having the option to make counters. It may consist of multiple uke or taninsudori.

Chuck Clark
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Old 07-07-2000, 11:59 AM   #12
dbgard
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Thumbs up superficial aikidoka

Nearly every aikidoka I've come into contact with seems to be truly appreciating a spiritual, "world-harmony" aspect of the art. There have been several, unfortunately, who I've met who just kind of purge or upchuck all the goodness the Founder left for us in search of ego cultivation. One black belt I met (I won't name any real names) really made me sick to my stomach. "Whendim" "sensei" didn't like the fact that I wasn't afraid of him when he asked (demanded) that I help him with something. He said "Hey you! Whatever your name is, get over here." I thought his student might be having a heart attack or something, so naturally I came over there. I sort of "uke'd" for "Li'ldim" "sensei" because "his" student was about to have a black belt test. This egomaniacal sensei let me know I was "free to go" by saying "Thank you". I responded with "no problem" and began to walk away. I guess he was looking for "oh no, thank you sensei, it was an honour, can I kiss your butt now?" So he said once more, this time with extra authority.."Thank You", and I replied "no problem" in case he didn't here me the first time. 8P.

Aikidoka need to trust each other, but it is not a blind trust. We are human and need to keep each other in check, for in the immortal words sung by D. Gahan of Depeche Mode, we are each "like a pawn on the eternal board."

Love,
Drew

hara-kiri for the fear-mongers,
sushi-waza for the peace-makers.

--The great dream shared among my friends--

--Please see [u]Aikido and the Harmony of Nature[u] [i]illustration:[i] p. 125. Mitsugi-san, I taught you aikido in my former life, and no
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Old 07-08-2000, 11:05 AM   #13
Aiki1
 
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Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote:
Randori literally means to take form out of the chaos of rebellion.
Hi Chuck - I thought the literal translation was (more or less) "confused grabbing." Ran, meaning confusion, and dori, meaning to grab.

Larry Novick
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ACE Aikido
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Old 07-08-2000, 01:38 PM   #14
AikiTom
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Wink

Drew,
That wasn't ego on the part of the instructor - you miss the point through not understanding etiquette on the mat. It's not etiquette just to be cutesy; etiquette ritualizes discipline which IS necessary for safety - yours and others.
The response he was probably seeking was, "Yes, sir." With all due respect, you can't have the option of railing against ego and then choosing yourself to be a temper-tantrum-throwing ego-ist
I live near the Mississippi River. It's a very powerful body of water, with an extremely strong current. Within its banks it has the power to help move commerce from my area to yours. The banks (form) give it shape (discipline.) Without form it's called a flood (undisciplined), which is what your behavior was.
Be thankful the sensei was more disciplined than you - if he wasn't you would have reached your satori on your back looking up seeing stars. (Any self-respecting dojo would expel you for repetitions of that.)
Rebellion against everything for the sake of rebellion has no meaning - it's just self-gratification.
Peace!

May the force be with you!
AikiTom
"Be the change you want to see."
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Old 07-08-2000, 02:31 PM   #15
Aiki1
 
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I don't know, I would have to have been there to make a call on it. Maybe it was different. However, if someone in truth acted toward me they way Drew described, I would leave that dojo immediately and never look back. In fact I have done that in the past, although it didn't happen to be an Aikido dojo. I've seen some big ego stuff over the years in Aikido, and it wasn't pretty.

I personally don't believe in putting the teacher on a pedastal etc. I admit to be rather extreme - my students, and I've been teaching for almost 18 years, have never called me Sensei, and I don't want them to. My name is Larry. But that's just my personal style.

Of course if anybody needs a lesson in humility (I've had mine thanks), just go into a BJJ school and have a friendly go with a BJJ black belt....

Larry Novick
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ACE Aikido
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Old 07-08-2000, 02:36 PM   #16
AikiTom
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Quote:
Aiki1 wrote:
I don't know, I would have to have been there to make a call on it. Maybe it was different. However, if someone in truth acted toward me they way Drew described, I would leave that dojo immediately and never look back.
Yes, I agree with you Larry on that part (the instructor's behavior was wrong). I was reflecting just on the response I guess - a "Yes, sir" can be non-committal, more an acknowledgement of communication received, rather than being subservient.

May the force be with you!
AikiTom
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Old 07-08-2000, 02:46 PM   #17
Aiki1
 
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Ha - I've been trying to get people to call me Sir for years - instead of Hey You!


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