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Old 08-14-2009, 11:19 AM   #1
rob_liberti
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Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

So I was wondering if people had any interest in discussing how they approach focusing on working on aiki in aikido class. I was thinking that the ki society type folks might have some valuable contributions about how they tend to break class up into ki development and then application of those skills into waza.

With aiki development, the application/utility of that kind of that kind of skill set basically just results in waza. But how would/could it work against people who attack with aiki (structure and intent)?

How could class best approach helping people with the "do" aspects? Misogi exercises that work well with the aiki development solo exercises maybe???

Any ideas?
Rob

old mcdojo had a form, aiki aiki do...
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:05 PM   #2
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Good topic Rob. I don't have time right now on my lunch break to discuss, but I have thought about this as well. We do work Aiki in our waza practice depending on who is teaching and their level of skill.

However, I think there is a balance given the fact that you have a large group of foks that are coming from various levels of skill and understanding.

So it is always a challenge, I think, on what you spend time on doing and with whom.

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Old 08-15-2009, 01:41 PM   #3
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

My (unoriginal) thoughts.

1. Slow down. Comprehend how people move at full speed and with strong intent and how to re-create that when moving slowly (so that you don't cheat).

2. Work on correct movement (SLOWLY), first solo, then with a partner. Rinse and repeat. Not correct technique.. correct movement.

3. Explain what each persons real intent should be, what their real target is, which muscles should be and should not be firing. (hint: it's usually not on the effect, but on all the things that will ultimately lead up to the effect).Important, but also useless without knowing how to move correctly first.

4. Comprehend when you or your partner are cheating to simulate the desired results (effect) and learn to stop doing that.

5. Test one another constantly and unexpectedly.

Some overlap and repetition there.

Reagards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:12 PM   #4
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Tarik,
I don't think your version of intent or aiki are the same as Rob's.
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:38 PM   #5
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

This brings up a good point. What is the definition of Aiki we are using.

I think my definition of Aiki is closer to what Tarik Ghbeish is describing, but I don't think it's what Rob is talking about.

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Old 08-15-2009, 09:39 PM   #6
rob_liberti
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Sorry for any confusion. I meant the aiki of DR. The stuff O-sensei learned and was using. I do not mean "aiki" to be the external attempt at faking DR aiki, or to mean what most people consider the "do" aspect. I tried to clarify that by discussing aiki in terms of having built "structure and intent" and further discussing how it would be used with/against another person.

Regardless, call it whatever you want. Anyone up for discussing the best way to approach optimum training to incorporate that kind of training with aikido class? For instance, if the ki society have a typical break up of ki drills followed by some exercises to work on them - is it reasonable to steal/borrow/leverage that good work towards incorporating body-mind skills/awareness into some paired practice? Imaizumi has a very structured approach IIRC that I wouldn't mind leveraging. Maybe the Moriyama folks would be willing to chime in also?

Taking it further, is there a good way to steal/borrow/leverage some of the good work that people like Chris Hein, Roy Dean, and William Hazen do with pressure testing aikido against more realistic attacks?

Is there a good way to steal/borrow/leverage some of the good work that people like Sean Ravens have done to incorporate misogi exercises into the class? (I strongly suspect that practice would work well with the solo work we do to develop structure and intent.)

Can some of the principles of movement that the Saotome sensei folks have be leveraged and modified to work in an aiki powered defender versus anti-aiki attacker?

Anything about the Chiba sensei approach that can be leveraged? He built a decently sized organization with a lot of dedicated people. What was the secret there?

About Dazzler's dojo? Wasn't that a Tamura sensei lineage dojo in England? A while back, I got the impression that it was achieving some amazing growth, IIRC. Are there things about that we can learn from?

I really don't want to throw out any of the good ideas and innovations; I just want to shorten the learning curve and be training at a much deeper level much more rapidly. As I see it, there is always much more to learn regardless of level at which you are learning.

Mike Sigman seems to be alluding to other important and worthy aspects of aiki development. I haven't quite gotten a handle on what those aspects would be or why I would be interested in them, but I remain hopeful he might elaborate, and share some insights as to approach such things.

Rob

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Old 08-15-2009, 09:57 PM   #7
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

I think what you're looking for Rob is the holy grail of Aikido/Aiki arts. How do we take all the good stuff all of these people are doing and put it together.

That is a pretty good question if you ask me!

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Old 08-15-2009, 10:09 PM   #8
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Yeah - I'm an integrator... And I'm planning on sharing all I can integrate. Isn't that the entire point of aikiweb?

I forgot to mention David Velasquez in that list of aikido pressure testers. There is also the aikido approach that Mark Murray came from in that list. Has someone already compared the Tomiki approach to the rest of the pressure testers and came away with a list of pros and cons and lessons learned?

But there are more awesome things. I love the way the folks in Aikido Kenkyukai get their new folks moving. Its fun and exhausting.

Maybe it would make sense to approach from a list of goals - but I wouldn't mind a shopping list of what is available and how it could work together to inspire a list of goals..

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 08-15-2009 at 10:15 PM.

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Old 08-15-2009, 10:26 PM   #9
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Meant David Valadez - sorry David.

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Old 08-15-2009, 11:03 PM   #10
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Rob, I need to find some time to get up to Mass and train with you guys. I think alot of this conversation is hard to have never having worked with you guys on the feel and non-verbal communication skills that comes with training together.

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Old 08-16-2009, 01:47 AM   #11
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
Yeah - I'm an integrator... And I'm planning on sharing all I can integrate. Isn't that the entire point of aikiweb?

Has someone already compared the Tomiki approach to the rest of the pressure testers and came away with a list of pros and cons and lessons learned?

Rob
I couldn't pretend to offer anything very insightful, but I was going to mention that some of the Tomiki Ryu exercises seem to work on what I perceive to be at least part of the "DR aiki" skills you're talking about. I really liked their warm-up katas. I forget the name of it, but in particular I was going to mention an exercise in which two people square off ai hanmi, palm to palm. One person "pushes" the other back, then the other does it. The lesson I recall taking from it was to establish that all-important ground connection and vertical posture...er...orientation. Whatever the case, I got the sense developing muscles wasn't supposed to be the point of it so maybe that's along the lines of what you're thinking.
Other than that I agree with Tarik that training slowly is an important part of the learning process. Going slow you have more time to perceive what's going on, potentially learning more about proper movement than simply going full speed.
The last couple times I trained I was reminded how often (and useful) sempai would correct kohai movements. I think having instant feedback is probably the quickest route to learning these things. To some extent you have to let a person make one mistake so he or she can focus on fixing another, but all in all, I'm finding that feedback to be the most useful.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 08-16-2009 at 01:52 AM.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:16 AM   #12
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
Yeah - I'm an integrator... And I'm planning on sharing all I can integrate. Isn't that the entire point of aikiweb?
... Maybe it would make sense to approach from a list of goals - but I wouldn't mind a shopping list of what is available and how it could work together to inspire a list of goals..
I think that is all useful. But to come back to the old forest/tree thing. Every tree is an individual, not the sum of elements that make up treeness, and not the finished integration of the supreme Franken-tree of cabbaged together bits of all the "good stuff." And it is all "good stuff."

It is the forest that sums the trees, not some ideal Platonic tree.

Point being, trees are not assembled, they grow. Everyone of them is unique. As such, it is error to judge in hierarchical terms the scrawny, salt-scarred scrub oak against the hundred foot canopy crowner. If one admires strength -- which is the "best?"

As a tropical storm forms off-shore, and two more behind it already formed, I'll tell you -- I've had to chainsaw and cart off several high-reaching and "mighty" oaks toppled over, but the hurricane does not kill the scrub oak rooted in nothing but loose sand. Its strength does not lie where it can be seen.

All those ideas are all well and good, but the key question is always, it seems to me: "What is YOUR idea?" Gathering all the rich bits of other, earlier growth is all great, but only if we realize it is just a compost heap, destined to rot, slightly later than those who brought it into being, of course. and ultimately to lose its distinctiveness -- providing the bed for germinating something new. So how does your acorn grow? What is growing out of you that is unique to you in this forest of martial art ?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:34 AM   #13
rob_liberti
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Good drummers tend to listen to every rhythm they can for a reason. -Rob

old mcdojo had a form, aiki aiki do...
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Old 08-16-2009, 09:30 AM   #14
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
Good drummers tend to listen to every rhythm they can for a reason. -Rob
... But some of them are more cautionary than others -- if you know why ...

"DAH-da-da-TUM... DAH-da-da-TUM... DAH-da-da-TUM"

"Here come the drums; here come the drums!"


Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 08-16-2009, 12:11 PM   #15
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
I think that is all useful. But to come back to the old forest/tree thing. Every tree is an individual, not the sum of elements that make up treeness, and not the finished integration of the supreme Franken-tree of cabbaged together bits of all the "good stuff." And it is all "good stuff."

It is the forest that sums the trees, not some ideal Platonic tree.

Point being, trees are not assembled, they grow. Everyone of them is unique. As such, it is error to judge in hierarchical terms the scrawny, salt-scarred scrub oak against the hundred foot canopy crowner. If one admires strength -- which is the "best?"

As a tropical storm forms off-shore, and two more behind it already formed, I'll tell you -- I've had to chainsaw and cart off several high-reaching and "mighty" oaks toppled over, but the hurricane does not kill the scrub oak rooted in nothing but loose sand. Its strength does not lie where it can be seen.

All those ideas are all well and good, but the key question is always, it seems to me: "What is YOUR idea?" Gathering all the rich bits of other, earlier growth is all great, but only if we realize it is just a compost heap, destined to rot, slightly later than those who brought it into being, of course. and ultimately to lose its distinctiveness -- providing the bed for germinating something new. So how does your acorn grow? What is growing out of you that is unique to you in this forest of martial art ?
Nice post!

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Old 08-16-2009, 02:38 PM   #16
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
Mike Sigman seems to be alluding to other important and worthy aspects of aiki development. I haven't quite gotten a handle on what those aspects would be or why I would be interested in them, but I remain hopeful he might elaborate, and share some insights as to approach such things.
Why not just continue to let Dan guide you? Ikeda, Akuzawa, Ushiro, I, and others will put information out there for other groups of people and that way, as a whole, there will be a nice assemblage of information to draw from.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-16-2009, 03:06 PM   #17
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

O'Sensei gave DR a Renaissance of sorts. He developed and taught Aikido. That is what Aikidoka should practice. He left out or morphed the ancient ways, and so should everyone who practices his martial art. Instead of looking backward with fuzzy vision, allow him to be a great man who changed the martial arts world for the betterment of us. Let his ancient foundations disappear, and learn what he created. Or, take Daito-ryu Aikijutsu class instead, remembering Ueshiba Morihei while forgetting O'Sensei.

Drew
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Old 08-16-2009, 04:11 PM   #18
tarik
 
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

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Tarik,
I don't think your version of intent or aiki are the same as Rob's.
Possibly. Probably even likely since we've never had hands on one another. However, I do read well and an awful lot of what he and others have written over time sounds an awful lot like what I'm trying to work out.. albeit sometimes from a different direction.

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
Sorry for any confusion. I meant the aiki of DR. The stuff O-sensei learned and was using. I do not mean "aiki" to be the external attempt at faking DR aiki, or to mean what most people consider the "do" aspect. I tried to clarify that by discussing aiki in terms of having built "structure and intent" and further discussing how it would be used with/against another person.
That sounds like my interest.. although I simply consider "do" the path we are taking rather than the application of technique ("jitsu").

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
Regardless, call it whatever you want. Anyone up for discussing the best way to approach optimum training to incorporate that kind of training with aikido class?
My primary thought is that any exercises, solo or paired, should be directly reflected in any techniques or pressure testing methods you apply. If they aren't, you aren't building application upon the same principles. There are lots of ways to do that.

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
do with pressure testing aikido against more realistic attacks?
Why shouldn't all attacks be realistic to begin with.. whether with mild pressure or increasing amounts of it?

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
I really don't want to throw out any of the good ideas and innovations; I just want to shorten the learning curve and be training at a much deeper level much more rapidly. As I see it, there is always much more to learn regardless of level at which you are learning.
As I see it, slowing down is the first step. Most people are all in a hurry to get up and "do technique" without beginning to really understand some principles of proper movement that make all techniques work.

You have to started any paired practice slowly and step it up in increments so as not to overwhelm the somatic nervous system re-programming you are attempting and cause more fundamental (in incorrect) responses to occur.

You cannot rely on how techniques are 'supposed' to look because they may not be based on those same principles unless you're training in a system that hasn't lost sight of those principles as the primary goal.

If you means in terms of class structure, I think that depends on the level of the students. The traditional aikido class structure is pretty well useless for real educational purposes, IMO. I think training should be pretty well customized to where each student currently is.. much like professional athletic coaching is geared.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

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Old 08-16-2009, 08:23 PM   #19
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Why not just continue to let Dan guide you? Ikeda, Akuzawa, Ushiro, I, and others will put information out there for other groups of people and that way, as a whole, there will be a nice assemblage of information to draw from.
Why JUST learn from one source? Did you? Hey look, whatever, it's all good.

To me, it seems like the only reasonable way to put aiki back in aikido is to start fairly fresh. There are some fresh ideas out there and it would be nice to draw from them if people are willing to share. Otherwise, I'm really not sure why we are on these forums in the first place.

Tarik,

I have no issues with the whole start slow idea. And I wasn't seaking directly about you in terms of how some people talk about "aiki" as what most consider "do". As far as realistic attacks, well there is a time and place for drills and exercises for sure - and I think there is nothing terribly wrong with graduating from symbolic attacks to more realistic ones. What have you learned from your insights to professional athletic training?

Rob

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Old 08-16-2009, 08:42 PM   #20
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Tarik wrote:

Quote:
If you means in terms of class structure, I think that depends on the level of the students. The traditional aikido class structure is pretty well useless for real educational purposes, IMO. I think training should be pretty well customized to where each student currently is.. much like professional athletic coaching is geared.
I agree with this whole heartedly. Which is why I personally feel we spend way too much time on waza and not enough time on developing and conditioning.

I like the model of some of the non-aikido schools I go to that I consider good. They spend an hour doing conditioning and drills until you are smoked and dripping wet, then they spend 30 minutes or so practicing techique, then 30 minutes of free, non-compliant type training.

I do agree Tarik, that training should be prescriptive in nature and each student should be counseled individual by a qualified instructor/sensei and told what to work on in order to build up weaknesses and progress. Each student is different.

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Old 08-16-2009, 10:53 PM   #21
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Well when I'm dealing with intent, I don't want people smoked right away because I want their minds sharp. Not sure how to keep the mind sharp while smoking them (or myself for that matter). But that's my plan.

Rob

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Old 08-17-2009, 01:09 AM   #22
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Quote:
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To me, it seems like the only reasonable way to put aiki back in aikido is to start fairly fresh.
Without getting into the details, when I dramatically changed my approach to aikido, I literally resigned from my old dojo (after trying to rebuild there) and started completely fresh and not only haven't looked back, but have not, for the most part, even tried to do ANYTHING I'd practiced and taught there for fear that the habits would interfere with my learning process.

The bits from that old practice that I have reintroduced into my practice have pretty much only come because of guidance from my seniors and have all been changed from the inside out and are literally different.

I imagine at some point when the principles and understanding are cemented enough in my psyche I'll be able to add more and more of what was good back into my practice on my own, but I'm not in a rush to do that yet.

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
I have no issues with the whole start slow idea.
I don't mean start slow so much as I mean execute your practice while moving extremely slowly, but with an understanding of how people naturally move at real speeds.

There are LOTS of examples, but here's a quick and interesting one to start: http://www.music.sc.edu/ea/keyboard/.../1.2.PPFp.html

Work while moving slow enough that you have time to detect and correct your mistakes. As you improve, your speed will increase, but it will still feel to you like slow movement.

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
As far as realistic attacks, well there is a time and place for drills and exercises for sure - and I think there is nothing terribly wrong with graduating from symbolic attacks to more realistic ones. What have you learned from your insights to professional athletic training?
I am not a professional athlete, but professional athletes get very good very quickly and the best ones continue to improve for most of their career, even as they pass their prime. It's not just because of some inborn talent.

In my training, I am working with two regular students right now who's progress pushes me just slightly ahead of them all the time. I've noticed that when I insist that most of their practice is with me as uke, they progress much faster and more correctly for the paradigm we're working on then if I allow them much time working together. They simply don't have the tools to give one another the same feedback I can offer them (and that I need quite frankly).

They have to wade through a lot more experimentation to even get close which is what happens when you don't have seniors close to you anyway. That makes for very haphazard learning and how I perceive most of the training I've witnessed in Aikikai/CAA/ASU/USAF over the years, even with a senior teachers and shihan on the mat 'instructing' class.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 08-17-2009, 02:20 AM   #23
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Quote:
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Good drummers tend to listen to every rhythm they can for a reason. -Rob
and master drummers know that there is only one rhythm - the one playing in their head at any given moment as everything else is relegated to the void.

.

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:42 AM   #24
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

I noticed Imaizumi's name came up here. He does use the "ki training" methods that Tohei sensei developed, but actually speaks very little of it these days (as in for the last 7 years or so I think).

I remember someone asking him something like "Sensei, how can I use my ki to do ude-oroshi irimi on a resisting opponent, or should I use some strength". Imaizumi said "I don't understand what you mean. Just go down."

Mostly the ki training methods are an exercise in visualization and minimizing your reaction to certain stimuli. As in "chill out, don't freak out", and "be confident that you are in control".

"The martial arts progress from the complex to the simple."
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:43 AM   #25
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Re: Working on aiki in traditional aikido class

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
So I was wondering if people had any interest in discussing how they approach focusing on working on aiki in aikido class. I was thinking that the ki society type folks might have some valuable contributions about how they tend to break class up into ki development and then application of those skills into waza.

Rob
question: are you asking about working on aiki skills where folks' bodies already conditioned for aiki or are you asking about conditioning body for aiki works in an aikido class?

just want to clarify. either way, it's an interesting topic.
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