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Old 02-20-2017, 10:40 AM   #51
Erick Mead
 
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Christian Moses wrote: View Post
...we've expanded the concept of the kua to the shoulders as well although I get that the kua is in the hips/legs) it's REALLY important. It's basic. Having been a new person at this, and working with new people, it's REALLY hard and you just can't do any of the other *basics* without some competency controlling the kua's rotation. I would say that discussing the kua (and shoulder ‘kua') is probably 50-75% of what we talk about most classes right now. If you don't even have a word for it, why does every conversation come back to, "we already do that/ we have always done that."
I for one have never been of that opinion. I am of the opinion that much has been transmitted that is of use toward these ends, AND that many if not most were using it poorly or improperly and getting results that you would expect for that reason. The kernel has always been there... the germination, sprouting, flowering and fruit -- not always so much. I also feel that the failure to relate what is going on in western terms was not an idle oversight in producing this lapse of substance. The performance of hollowed forms have merely allowed it to be overlooked.

Taking the aiki taiso: funakogi, tenkan, saya undo, zengo and happo undo, udefuri, shomenuchi undo, -- every one of these -- done properly -- is an exercise in opening and closing the kua and several work the "shoulder" kua as you phrase it , some call it the upper cross particularly when both are opening or closing together.

Tekubi furi is working something else altogether, of equal importance, dealing with reflexive arcs and priming the voluntary motor cortex to better prompt, send and respond to these structural sense organs. I find that this aspect is well preserved in Iwama's solo weapons work, actually. It is very important in sensing through weapons contact. It is integral to aiki-age and aiki-sage. This thing, (sonar proprioception is the most accurate term I have found), also lets one sense where the unbalanced stress (tech.= "moment") in the opponent's structure lies. It's not that your ears sense it, but the physical sense through the structure of the limbs is more like hearing the size of a dark room that than ordinary touch or pressure sense. Don't laugh. Hearing is done, literally, with jiggling bones. Kokyu tanden ho exercises train this, and one can know that the unbalanced point has moved from wrist to elbow to shoulder to the upper spine and then down to the tandem. Uke can validate this incrementally if you ask him.

Quote:
You can't already be doing it, and have it be something different.
What may be different are the systems of understanding attacking the same set of problems. This is a feature, not a bug, especially in areas that are complex and difficult to capture in quantified terms. Variety of perspectives is added value even when you come to conclusion that one perspective is more productive on your aspect of the problem set; it may not be the only useful aspect of the problems. Let me introduce you to Chamberlin's method of multiple working hypotheses:
Quote:
The method of multiple working hypotheses involves the development, prior to our research, of several hypotheses that might explain the phenomenon we want to study. Many of these hypotheses will be contradictory, so that some, if not all, will prove to be false. However, the development of multiple hypotheses prior to the research lets us avoid the trap of the ruling hypothesis and thus makes it more likely that our research will lead to meaningful results. We open-mindedly envision all the possible explanations of the phenomenon to be studied, including the possibility that none of explanations are correct ("none of the above") and the possibility that some new explanation may emerge.

The method of multiple working hypotheses has several other beneficial effects on one's research. Careful study often shows that a phenomenon is the result of several causes, not just one, and the method of multiple working hypotheses obviously makes it more likely that we will see the interaction of the several causes. The method also promotes much greater thoroughness than research directed toward one hypothesis, leading to lines of inquiry that we might otherwise overlook, and thus to evidence and insights that single-minded research might never have encountered. Thirdly, the method makes us much more likely to see the imperfections in our knowledge and thus to avoid the pitfall of accepting weak or flawed evidence for one hypothesis when another provides a more elegant solution.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 02-20-2017 at 10:44 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-20-2017, 02:27 PM   #52
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Alec Corper wrote: View Post
I am in Spain often in Gandía, maybe we can meet up and play?
regards
Alec
I live in a town 1000 km far away from Gandia.

Thanks for your anwsers regarding how do you evaluate how aiki training benefits your aikido,
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Old 02-21-2017, 07:05 AM   #53
jonreading
 
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Re: A defense of Aiki

Several items have come up in conversation...

Not all training is equal. I am aware that y'all have worked out with George Sensei, and Ikeda sensei and some other instructors who are starting to work with IP. They are all looking more closely at how they teach and how they can do a better job of teaching. And I am supportive of that. There are better an worse training methods. Think golf training is the same for all players on the tour? How about football? How about the other football? Why is education at Harvard better than education at Georgia Perimeter College? Math is just math, right? Of course it's not.

We have some critical questions in front of us:
1. What is internal power and how does it relate to aikido?
2. How are we incorporating internal power training in our aikido training?
3. How can we critically evaluate if the training is successful?
4. How can we create a feedback system for altering training methodology?

We first look critically at what is internal power. Part of what we are trying to say is that I think we don't know as much as we think we know about internal power or it's impact in our training. Sure, we've maybe heard words or concepts or been told to do something that is promised to be internal power (or aiki), but ultimately we are searching to understand the thing itself, not just be told what it is. This was the reasoning why I choose to point to a research project as my first topic in my post.

Second, we look at models of movement that contain internal power and how we implement them into our aikido. Chris talked a bit about kua rotation. Chinese terminology aside, this is pretty important in the IP world and indicative of a general lack of knowledge about how the pelvic ring, hips, and "rotation" are badly related in our aikido training. I spoke about Heaven-Earth-Man earlier and that is similarly both integral to internal power movement and also very badly miscommunicated in aikido instruction (that is, if it is even communicated beyond the concept of a metaphor). How do you move with Heaven-Earth-Man in your aikido? If a partner is required to experience your movement, then you can't because the model is not Heaven-Earth-Man-Man. In this sense, I am not trying to point a finger, or blame, or shame anyone about not possessing working knowledge about our aikido training and the flaws in it that do not transmit IP. More, it's about moving progressively towards the understanding that many people claim to know what's going on, right up until you touch them. Following that encounter, it's about the personal decision whether what you touched is worth pursuing.

Andy talked a little bit about some of the metrics we use to see if we are progressing. IP training has measurable results across several areas. I am glad to hear about exercises in training. I hope that each exercise has a clear purpose and that purpose s evaluated beyond the idea that, "that's a warm-up." One of the first things we learned was the genius beyond many of O Sensei's "warm-ups" that became "warm-ups" because the young students were bored and didn't appreciate the value of what O Sensei (or some of the early deshi) was showing. Why do we still call them warms ups? Why does someone pay money to use time in class to "warm-up"? Because O Sensei was not warming up - he was teaching aiki. How many instructors are critical of "warming up"? How many instructors let junior people lead class in "warm up"? We do not warm up. Solo exercises are the foundation of our training. What you call "warm-ups" are what we do for 70+% of our training time. Body-changing work that leads to better body movement that can be critically observed and measured.

Lastly, I think that we are all touching the budo elephant. The poor thing has been touched by so many of us... systems are hard to change. Cultural learning is hard to understand for non-native practitioners. Aikido is a giant telephone game spanning many years and largely based upon the preserving of what someone remembered. Internal power training is old - it is about bypassing a single point of documented performance (O Sensei) and looking at the material that O Sensei used to understand aiki in order to become the documented performance. How much learning starts with "my sensei said that his sensei felt O Sensei..." Why not just look at the texts, and materials O Sensei read and wrote and said? It sounds like a rant, but a sticking point in aikido is a strong reliance on what someone said and the system we have now. I understand that we all have some loyalty to aikido, our instructors, and our instructor's instructors. But, I think we need to also understand that most of us are not getting what we need from our instructors - they are on the same journey we are, just a little farther along. This is not to knock our instructors, to admit that they are frauds, or cast stones in any way. Rather, its maybe a chastising for us to remember that sensei is human, and not perfect, and doing the best she can.

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Old 02-21-2017, 11:13 AM   #54
Mark Raugas
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Re: A defense of Aiki

The first question is an important one and full of its own complexity:

Is there only one kind of internal power? What types of internal power can be cultivated?
Are they all equally relevant to what Ellis calls arms length grappling?
If you find internal power and integrate it with your practice, are you doing it in an optimal manner?
If you power your taijutsu with internal power from another source, is it still Aikido?

I used to practice a form of modern jujutsu that was a combination of Karate, Judo, and Aikido reworked with content from Kodokai seminars Yonezawa held in the 1970s. Unfortunately, my teacher in his naivite focused on hard bone crunching locks and not anything more subtle until much later in his career when he invited a qigong teacher to or dojo. I remember the qigong person, who had tremendous stability, say if we could learn to work with qi we would vastly improve. He was fine with the external nature of our locking and throwing, it was a bit beneath him but would be improved if we practiced neigong. It would have been a good thing if he had kept his class going there. I think we would all have benefited.

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?
When I throw someone, is it Xingyi or Bagua or Taiji?

Sometimes it is clear, sometimes it is less so.

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.

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
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Old 02-21-2017, 11:42 AM   #55
Alec Corper
 
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Re: A defense of Aiki

:
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? To me not at all

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? Do what he did

Can this be done by most people in the context of Aikido or is understanding Daito-ryu necessary? No and no

If you practice other approaches and they influence your Aikido, is that acceptable? Why not, that's what Ueshiba did.

At what point are you no longer doing Aikido? What is 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? Depends on above

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

Mark Raugas
innerdharma.org

Thanks Mark, I share your feelings and the longer I practice aikido the more it embraces everything on the martial arts continuum, the more shared principles of body training and application, the less differences I see. This is not to say that all arts are equal but that they share deep common roots, however lost or occluded by poor transmission or simply time. Since I am only a hobbyist, and not a zealot, neither saint nor soldier, one step at a time is all I hope for.

Last edited by Alec Corper : 02-21-2017 at 11:45 AM.

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 02-21-2017, 12:12 PM   #56
GovernorSilver
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Several items have come up in conversation...

Not all training is equal. I am aware that y'all have worked out with George Sensei, and Ikeda sensei and some other instructors who are starting to work with IP. They are all looking more closely at how they teach and how they can do a better job of teaching.
I just attended a seminar with those two specific gentlemen. I hope they will indeed continue refining the teaching approach.

Ikeda-sensei by the last day of the 3-day seminar was frustrated that attendees who had trained with him in past years were still not able to replicate his skills, or at least come closer. He started to rant "This is not the circus! I am not an entertainer to show magic tricks! This is martial arts!".

It's easy to blame the students but I think everyone could have benefited from, at the very least, a quick review of whatever solo exercises he taught to develop this stuff, instead of just assuming that everyone had been practicing the solo exercises for 1 or 2 years continuously already.

To be fair, as a first time attendee of an Ikeda-sensei seminar, I thought it was worth every minute and every penny I spent. I learned a lot more than I expected as a lowly white belt. Ikeda-sensei was really focused on getting people to use intent-driven force vectors ("lines") to subtly unbalance a moderately resisting (fully resisting would be sparring) uke. Ledyard-sensei did a great job of teaching along the theme set by Ikeda-sensei for the day. Some people didn't quite get it, wanting me to do a full waza or whatever, when the real focus was on the kuzushi but that's normal for a packed seminar.

In short, I learned a lot. Hopefully the sensei took this as a learning experience as well.
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Old 02-21-2017, 04:17 PM   #57
Erick Mead
 
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Aikido is a giant telephone game spanning many years and largely based upon the preserving of what someone remembered.
Telephone game. heh. This will date me:
Quote:
Lastly, I think that we are all touching the budo elephant. The poor thing has been touched by so many of us... .
The budo elephant must be among the most egregiously molested beasts in the history of metaphor ....


Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-21-2017, 07:45 PM   #58
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: A defense of Aiki

To my knowledge Ikeda Sensei has never taught any solo training.

Jeremy Hulley
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Old 02-22-2017, 05:31 AM   #59
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: A defense of Aiki

Quote:
Andy Kazama wrote: View Post
and large increases in stability tested by push-testing and more dynamic situations (e.g., judo, push-hands, grappling).
I see your club shares space with a Judo club. Do you play full randori with them?
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Old 02-22-2017, 11:05 AM   #60
jonreading
 
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Re: A defense of Aiki

It's interesting how much larger the conversation can grow when you start to see how aiki interacts with the other internal arts. There is a feeling of freedom when you don't have to defend a system, but can simply look at the movement and the training. It also allows you to step away from a system and look at things from a high-level viewpoint.

For me, I think we are pursuing the roots of what influenced O Sensei. If we can build an aiki body, then we can next look at how that aiki body influences movement. Once we get there, we can critically evaluate our aikido movement and address inconsistencies in movement with my IP training. I enjoy the similarities in movement with the other arts because that allows me to leverage what they are doing in my own training - and there are different ways of training.

Non-sequitur - I am not aware of Ikeda sensei teaching solo exercises, but I agree that he has identified a gap in what he is trying to show and the ability of his students to understand what he is doing. There are several of his guys on Aikiweb and they may better know what sensei is doing in CO.

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Old 02-22-2017, 12:33 PM   #61
GovernorSilver
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Re: A defense of Aiki

I heard that Ikeda-sensei taught solo training in the past.

One exercise that was described to me sounded like a sitting version of the popular standing pole exercise.

This looks like another - unfortunately, in this clip he does not mention that he is actually reverse-breathing on the inhale - hopefully it was mentioned at some point in time before or after this clip. When you hold out your arms like that and pull in your tummy on the inhale, you can feel the pull on your arms, through the muscle-tendon channels that run through your shoulders:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hB-knlRDZ8

I have also been told that he has spoken about pushing against a wall or other immovable object and "sending" into it; and that he works a lot on "rotating his insides" (most likely tanden/dantien).

That is how he appears to pull his uke off-balance without visible movement of the hips. His reverse-breath engages the tanden, which in turn exerts a pull through the muscle-tendon channels, and thus... "partner goes". Ok maybe there's more force-vectors at work than just pulling through the muscle-tendon channels. But I found the force vector stuff doesn't work without proper connection within the body.

Last edited by GovernorSilver : 02-22-2017 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 02-22-2017, 01:58 PM   #62
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: A defense of Aiki

Quote:
Paolo Valladolid wrote: View Post
I heard that Ikeda-sensei taught solo training in the past.

One exercise that was described to me sounded like a sitting version of the popular standing pole exercise.

This looks like another - unfortunately, in this clip he does not mention that he is actually reverse-breathing on the inhale - hopefully it was mentioned at some point in time before or after this clip. When you hold out your arms like that and pull in your tummy on the inhale, you can feel the pull on your arms, through the muscle-tendon channels that run through your shoulders:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hB-knlRDZ8

I have also been told that he has spoken about pushing against a wall or other immovable object and "sending" into it; and that he works a lot on "rotating his insides" (most likely tanden/dantien).

That is how he appears to pull his uke off-balance without visible movement of the hips. His reverse-breath engages the tanden, which in turn exerts a pull through the muscle-tendon channels, and thus... "partner goes". Ok maybe there's more force-vectors at work than just pulling through the muscle-tendon channels. But I found the force vector stuff doesn't work without proper connection within the body.
That's great to hear, thanks, I have not seen him much in the past decade or so. I'm glad to hear that he may be incorporating some solo training.
I do remember him talking about "rotating insides" but no real instruction or training on how to even being trying to do it.

I really like Ikeda and what he's tried and trying to do.

Jeremy Hulley
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Old 02-23-2017, 05:54 AM   #63
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Jeremy Hulley wrote: View Post
To my knowledge Ikeda Sensei has never taught any solo training.
I only practiced with Ikeda sensei one time. That was was about six years ago.
When I told him that it would take some time untill I would be able to attend one of his seminars again and asked him how I could learn and practice the stuff he covered during the Seminar inbetween, he gave me three solo exercises that would start this development. It was about moving and rotating dantian.

I hadn't met Dan Harden then, so these exercises of Ikeda sensei where the first solo exercises I ever practiced to develop IS.

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 02-23-2017 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 02-23-2017, 07:43 AM   #64
Erick Mead
 
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Mark Raugas wrote: View Post
Mark Raugas
innerdharma.org
Apropos of nothing in particular to your questions, but your website...

"In Nerd Harm A" .org
Is this the first in series of seminars ?
Is it advancing ideas of harm toward nerds, or perhaps promoting nerdish responses to threats of harm?

Thanks


Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-23-2017, 09:49 AM   #65
Erick Mead
 
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Paolo Valladolid wrote: View Post
I have also been told that he has spoken about pushing against a wall or other immovable object and "sending" into it; and that he works a lot on "rotating his insides" (most likely tanden/dantien).

That is how he appears to pull his uke off-balance without visible movement of the hips. His reverse-breath engages the tanden, which in turn exerts a pull through the muscle-tendon channels, and thus... "partner goes". Ok maybe there's more force-vectors at work than just pulling through the muscle-tendon channels. But I found the force vector stuff doesn't work without proper connection within the body.
There is it the point of debate, isn't it? What is the nature of the connnection.

The problem comes, in my opinion, in the absorption and use of loose concepts in our vocabulary. This leads to slightly misdirected ideas about the necessities of training, but these slight errors in the beginning become larger as we try to extend them in principle. This criticism is not merely the native Asian terms and concepts as adapted into Western use. It is a problem even in western technical terms when they are "popularized".

There is this study recently that I recommend as a jumping off point in looking at the roots (quite literally) of our structural uses of bodily force against others. However, the reporting on it has some key lapses in what they report -- which illustrates this point.

This article, reports the findings, generally. But it critically simplifies a point about connection to the earth allowing greater expression of "force." This simplification is a key point for misunderstanding the nature of connection we are interested in: This article and the study more specifically shows that it is the torque against the ground that allows the application of greater force against the target.

Why does this oversight matter ? Force dissipates with distance, but applied torque, for the same input force INCREASES as the length of the moment arm lengthens (lever principle). Aiki does not, however, use the lever principle, though jujutsu certainly does. The reason the lever works is because torque is a field, a stress existing throughout any structure to which is its applied. If you lay out a sheet on the floor, stand in the middle and twist your weighted foot, the spiral field of stress manifests in the pattern by which it is structurally relieved-- ridges of the sheet rise to relieve the resulting hoop stress (circular compression) at right angles to the radial tension that makes the whole sheet contract toward the center. These both happen everywhere throughout the extent of its whole structure.

Leverage is a simplified form of torque. Leverage is applied in only one plane of action. But any discontinuity (such as a loaded fulcrum) concentrates the internal torque stress field. It concentrates at that discontinuity, or cusp. In other words, on one side the lever falls under load and on the other side the lever rises bearing load. Equal and opposite, positive and negative on either side of the cusp of the fulcrum. At the cusp, though, the internal stress is not "zero," but in fact at its maximum.

In bodily torsion, however, the torque field extends in 3 dimensions. As with the sheet, there are two different simultaneous stress fields present -- one in tension and one in compression at every part of the structure being torqued, and at right angles to each other. But in 3 dimensions they are spirals at right angles to one another. Neither can directly cancel the stress/action of the other -- but --- action on one spiral creates action on the other, and each can be used to compensate or dissipate the other.

When you speak of kua, you are speaking of an applied torsion, torquing one way to "close" (crease the groin) and the other way to "open" (uncrease the groin). The shoulders "creasing" or "uncreasing" similarly propagate the same torsional power though the arms. Of course, when a torque is applied internally to my body, and I connect to another body, the other body also participates in my torsional stress field (and I in his, if he has one, unless I am careful).

If I engage him initially "opening," and then "close," his body is initially "set" in the mode for bearing the load of my "opening" torsion. As my now "closing" torsion propagates into his inverse-primed structure, it undergoes a "cusp" reversal of his internal stress. In other words, internally speaking, his stresses do not go from positive though zero to negative -- but convert from positive to negative at the same absolute magnitude.

His body "set" is now not only doing MORE of what my stress reversal has begun, but the "cusp" transition is a rising barrier to any simplistic reversal of this situation. If my action is progressively entering, the cusp for him to get over gets higher and higher as the radius of my applied stress action decreases. Resistance becomes progressively impossible. To get back to any posture useful for resistance he has to basically collapse his structure first, which simply gives my action free rein in kuzushi.

If his action is crushing me down (compression -- as in most striking), it is nonetheless involved in a torque against the ground as the study indicates. I can relieve that stress by stretching my own coordinate tension spiral at right angles (vice resisting by pushing back more from the ground which merely increases my compressive stress). This is displayed in the asagao dissipation of pushing/striking -- which is the reverse action of the above: instead of going from "opening" to "closing" it goes from "closing" to "opening." Aiki-otoshi also uses the latter mode.

Tenchi uses BOTH simultaneously -- one side opening, the other side closing. These two spiral modes, extension/contraction, are shown in the A-Un statuary postures (ten-chi), and which are notable symbols of these principles in the history of these methods.

In both of these modes one can engage strikes in a "scissoring" or "shearing blades" connection to an oncoming strike. The action of the strike creates its own inverting stress disruption when my mirror connection joins in a progressive shear with the partner's limb, and shortly his body.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-23-2017, 10:57 AM   #66
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Re: A defense of Aiki

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
There is it the point of debate, isn't it? What is the nature of the connnection.

The problem comes, in my opinion, in the absorption and use of loose concepts in our vocabulary. This leads to slightly misdirected ideas about the necessities of training, but these slight errors in the beginning become larger as we try to extend them in principle. This criticism is not merely the native Asian terms and concepts as adapted into Western use. It is a problem even in western technical terms when they are "popularized".

There is this study recently that I recommend as a jumping off point in looking at the roots (quite literally) of our structural uses of bodily force against others. However, the reporting on it has some key lapses in what they report -- which illustrates this point.

This article, reports the findings, generally. But it critically simplifies a point about connection to the earth allowing greater expression of "force." This simplification is a key point for misunderstanding the nature of connection we are interested in: This article and the study more specifically shows that it is the torque against the ground that allows the application of greater force against the target.

Why does this oversight matter ? Force dissipates with distance, but applied torque, for the same input force INCREASES as the length of the moment arm lengthens (lever principle). Aiki does not, however, use the lever principle, though jujutsu certainly does. The reason the lever works is because torque is a field, a stress existing throughout any structure to which is its applied. If you lay out a sheet on the floor, stand in the middle and twist your weighted foot, the spiral field of stress manifests in the pattern by which it is structurally relieved-- ridges of the sheet rise to relieve the resulting hoop stress (circular compression) at right angles to the radial tension that makes the whole sheet contract toward the center. These both happen everywhere throughout the extent of its whole structure.

Leverage is a simplified form of torque. Leverage is applied in only one plane of action. But any discontinuity (such as a loaded fulcrum) concentrates the internal torque stress field. It concentrates at that discontinuity, or cusp. In other words, on one side the lever falls under load and on the other side the lever rises bearing load. Equal and opposite, positive and negative on either side of the cusp of the fulcrum. At the cusp, though, the internal stress is not "zero," but in fact at its maximum.

In bodily torsion, however, the torque field extends in 3 dimensions. As with the sheet, there are two different simultaneous stress fields present -- one in tension and one in compression at every part of the structure being torqued, and at right angles to each other. But in 3 dimensions they are spirals at right angles to one another. Neither can directly cancel the stress/action of the other -- but --- action on one spiral creates action on the other, and each can be used to compensate or dissipate the other.

When you speak of kua, you are speaking of an applied torsion, torquing one way to "close" (crease the groin) and the other way to "open" (uncrease the groin). The shoulders "creasing" or "uncreasing" similarly propagate the same torsional power though the arms. Of course, when a torque is applied internally to my body, and I connect to another body, the other body also participates in my torsional stress field (and I in his, if he has one, unless I am careful).

If I engage him initially "opening," and then "close," his body is initially "set" in the mode for bearing the load of my "opening" torsion. As my now "closing" torsion propagates into his inverse-primed structure, it undergoes a "cusp" reversal of his internal stress. In other words, internally speaking, his stresses do not go from positive though zero to negative -- but convert from positive to negative at the same absolute magnitude.

His body "set" is now not only doing MORE of what my stress reversal has begun, but the "cusp" transition is a rising barrier to any simplistic reversal of this situation. If my action is progressively entering, the cusp for him to get over gets higher and higher as the radius of my applied stress action decreases. Resistance becomes progressively impossible. To get back to any posture useful for resistance he has to basically collapse his structure first, which simply gives my action free rein in kuzushi.

If his action is crushing me down (compression -- as in most striking), it is nonetheless involved in a torque against the ground as the study indicates. I can relieve that stress by stretching my own coordinate tension spiral at right angles (vice resisting by pushing back more from the ground which merely increases my compressive stress). This is displayed in the asagao dissipation of pushing/striking -- which is the reverse action of the above: instead of going from "opening" to "closing" it goes from "closing" to "opening." Aiki-otoshi also uses the latter mode.

Tenchi uses BOTH simultaneously -- one side opening, the other side closing. These two spiral modes, extension/contraction, are shown in the A-Un statuary postures (ten-chi), and which are notable symbols of these principles in the history of these methods.

In both of these modes one can engage strikes in a "scissoring" or "shearing blades" connection to an oncoming strike. The action of the strike creates its own inverting stress disruption when my mirror connection joins in a progressive shear with the partner's limb, and shortly his body.
Them's a lot of fancy words.

First, we don't worry about "grounding" - our orientation is more "movement in space." Heaven and Earth are more about opposing forces than the physical Earth; while we maybe can push on the Earth, it's pretty hard to push on Heaven. From my experience, grounding is used to describe a variety of actions, ranging from physically bracing against the ground to a metaphor describing a pelvic orientation to channel force. That's not to say the word has no value, but I think it's important to who's using it and wht she means when she uses it. The sensation I have when I push against someone with internal power is better described as immovable - trying to push a pyramid across a sticky floor, all the while never being able to settle into the push. I know a lot of people who talk about grounding and they are actually describing a structural orientation that depends on the ground. This causes problems once you don't have the ground (like groundwork) or need to move (because you have to disassemble the structure, then rebuild it). If I were to place a 160-pound stone pyramid on a yoga mat and ask you to push it, you could at least imagine part of the situation...

Second, we have several solo exercises that apply force into an object, usually a wall or a partner. It does recall pictures of Aiki people hitting trees, though... Using a force path to create the connections in the body - feeling the chains of interaction as the force goes through the body - is one way of learning the body connection pathways and training them. The exercises is not necessarily to "push" anything, but rather to feel the force.

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Old 02-23-2017, 11:03 AM   #67
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Re: A defense of Aiki

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
There is it the point of debate, isn't it? What is the nature of the connnection.

The problem comes, in my opinion, in the absorption and use of loose concepts in our vocabulary. This leads to slightly misdirected ideas about the necessities of training, but these slight errors in the beginning become larger as we try to extend them in principle. This criticism is not merely the native Asian terms and concepts as adapted into Western use. It is a problem even in western technical terms when they are "popularized".

There is this study recently that I recommend as a jumping off point in looking at the roots (quite literally) of our structural uses of bodily force against others. However, the reporting on it has some key lapses in what they report -- which illustrates this point.

This article, reports the findings, generally. But it critically simplifies a point about connection to the earth allowing greater expression of "force." This simplification is a key point for misunderstanding the nature of connection we are interested in: This article and the study more specifically shows that it is the torque against the ground that allows the application of greater force against the target.

Why does this oversight matter ? Force dissipates with distance, but applied torque, for the same input force INCREASES as the length of the moment arm lengthens (lever principle). Aiki does not, however, use the lever principle, though jujutsu certainly does. The reason the lever works is because torque is a field, a stress existing throughout any structure to which is its applied. If you lay out a sheet on the floor, stand in the middle and twist your weighted foot, the spiral field of stress manifests in the pattern by which it is structurally relieved-- ridges of the sheet rise to relieve the resulting hoop stress (circular compression) at right angles to the radial tension that makes the whole sheet contract toward the center. These both happen everywhere throughout the extent of its whole structure.

Leverage is a simplified form of torque. Leverage is applied in only one plane of action. But any discontinuity (such as a loaded fulcrum) concentrates the internal torque stress field. It concentrates at that discontinuity, or cusp. In other words, on one side the lever falls under load and on the other side the lever rises bearing load. Equal and opposite, positive and negative on either side of the cusp of the fulcrum. At the cusp, though, the internal stress is not "zero," but in fact at its maximum.

In bodily torsion, however, the torque field extends in 3 dimensions. As with the sheet, there are two different simultaneous stress fields present -- one in tension and one in compression at every part of the structure being torqued, and at right angles to each other. But in 3 dimensions they are spirals at right angles to one another. Neither can directly cancel the stress/action of the other -- but --- action on one spiral creates action on the other, and each can be used to compensate or dissipate the other.

When you speak of kua, you are speaking of an applied torsion, torquing one way to "close" (crease the groin) and the other way to "open" (uncrease the groin). The shoulders "creasing" or "uncreasing" similarly propagate the same torsional power though the arms. Of course, when a torque is applied internally to my body, and I connect to another body, the other body also participates in my torsional stress field (and I in his, if he has one, unless I am careful).

If I engage him initially "opening," and then "close," his body is initially "set" in the mode for bearing the load of my "opening" torsion. As my now "closing" torsion propagates into his inverse-primed structure, it undergoes a "cusp" reversal of his internal stress. In other words, internally speaking, his stresses do not go from positive though zero to negative -- but convert from positive to negative at the same absolute magnitude.

His body "set" is now not only doing MORE of what my stress reversal has begun, but the "cusp" transition is a rising barrier to any simplistic reversal of this situation. If my action is progressively entering, the cusp for him to get over gets higher and higher as the radius of my applied stress action decreases. Resistance becomes progressively impossible. To get back to any posture useful for resistance he has to basically collapse his structure first, which simply gives my action free rein in kuzushi.

If his action is crushing me down (compression -- as in most striking), it is nonetheless involved in a torque against the ground as the study indicates. I can relieve that stress by stretching my own coordinate tension spiral at right angles (vice resisting by pushing back more from the ground which merely increases my compressive stress). This is displayed in the asagao dissipation of pushing/striking -- which is the reverse action of the above: instead of going from "opening" to "closing" it goes from "closing" to "opening." Aiki-otoshi also uses the latter mode.

Tenchi uses BOTH simultaneously -- one side opening, the other side closing. These two spiral modes, extension/contraction, are shown in the A-Un statuary postures (ten-chi), and which are notable symbols of these principles in the history of these methods.

In both of these modes one can engage strikes in a "scissoring" or "shearing blades" connection to an oncoming strike. The action of the strike creates its own inverting stress disruption when my mirror connection joins in a progressive shear with the partner's limb, and shortly his body.
Them's a lot of fancy words.

First, we don't worry about "grounding" - our orientation is more "movement in space." Heaven and Earth are more about opposing forces than the physical Earth; while we maybe can push on the Earth, it's pretty hard to push on Heaven. From my experience, grounding is used to describe a variety of actions, ranging from physically bracing against the ground to a metaphor describing a pelvic orientation to channel force. That's not to say the word has no value, but I think it's important to who's using it and what she means when she uses it. The sensation I have when I push against someone with internal power is better described as immovable - trying to push a pyramid across a sticky floor, all the while never being able to settle into the push. I know a lot of people who talk about grounding and they are actually describing a structural orientation that depends on the ground. This causes problems once you don't have the ground (like groundwork) or need to move (because you have to disassemble the structure, then rebuild it). If I were to place a 160-pound stone pyramid on a yoga mat and ask you to push it, you could at least imagine part of the situation...

Second, we have several solo exercises that apply force into an object, usually a wall or a partner. It does recall pictures of Aiki people hitting trees, though... Using a force path to create the connections in the body - feeling the chains of interaction as the force goes through the body - is one way of learning the body connection pathways and training them. The exercises is not necessarily to "push" anything, but rather to feel the force.

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Old 02-23-2017, 11:38 AM   #68
GovernorSilver
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Re: A defense of Aiki

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
There is it the point of debate, isn't it? What is the nature of the connnection.
I don't really see a debate, but discussions about this type of stuff does tend to be most productive when all involved are using an agreed-upon terminology, and have already worked with each other in person; or have worked with at least one person in common. My introduction to, uh, "internal whatever" was at a Mike Sigman workshop. Years later, I got a nice refresher from Budd Yuhasz. They use enough terminology in common that I can ask them stuff over email/social media and they're likely to understand what I'm talking about. I have not received any instruction from Dan Harden and so am less familiar with his terminology. Ledyard-sensei is the only person I met who is familiar with how Dan does things.

Can you help me out and state to which paragraph your response was directed?
This one?

Quote:
I have also been told that he has spoken about pushing against a wall or other immovable object and "sending" into it; and that he works a lot on "rotating his insides" (most likely tanden/dantien).
Or this one?

Quote:
That is how he appears to pull his uke off-balance without visible movement of the hips. His reverse-breath engages the tanden, which in turn exerts a pull through the muscle-tendon channels, and thus... "partner goes". Ok maybe there's more force-vectors at work than just pulling through the muscle-tendon channels. But I found the force vector stuff doesn't work without proper connection within the body.
I don't want to write a long post, only to be informed later I was addressing the wrong issue(s).

Last edited by GovernorSilver : 02-23-2017 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 02-23-2017, 12:47 PM   #69
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Re: A defense of Aiki

Since I mentioned Ledyard-sensei, well, he was pretty cool about being addressed as "George" too; I might as well describe the little lunchtime show-and-tell he gave me.

We were chatting about various things related to the seminar weekend, then at some point the conversation turned to the uke-nage connection when uke takes hold of nage's wrist. So he offered to show me what he thought should be a good uke-connection. He took hold of my wrist and said "Feel that coming up your arm?" I said "Holy shit!" Whatever he sent up my arm did not feel like electricity or heat. Then George would periodically ask "Ok, where am I now?", and I would tell him wherever I felt he was - the near shoulder, the far shoulder, the near hip, etc. Basically, George's idea of a good uke connection on a wrist grab is a clean path to the nage's center via the point of contact.

Next, George invited me to do the same to him. Well, first he had to fix my grip on his wrist. The palm heel needs to be in solid contact with his arm. Then he stated the usual admonition to relax the arm and the shoulder. Then he said, "Ok, go for my center". So I set up the Ground/Up force from my back foot to the hand holding his wrist, then imagined it continuing towards his center. He said "You're stuck at my shoulder." Apparently without realizing it I lost a "connection" within my own body - I let my shoulder - or was it my elbow? - whatever, something slip out of alignment. He helped me fix it, then I got a little closer but stuck in his chest or whatever - again, more coaching/fixing... finally he said "Good! You've reached my center! Now try my far shoulder..."

So the rest of the show-and-tell went like that, with George encouraging me to connect to various places and coaching me along. I've since tried to connect like that in regular Aikido class, but as Ikeda-sensei says "Connect yourself, partner goes!" - before I can to fun stuff to a partner like that, I need more work to connect myself. Then after that I probably need George again, or another comparatively skilled individual, for another literal hand-holding session.
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Old 02-23-2017, 12:53 PM   #70
Erick Mead
 
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Paolo Valladolid wrote: View Post
I don't really see a debate, but discussions about this type of stuff does tend to be most productive when all involved are using an agreed-upon terminology, and have already worked with each other in person; or have worked with at least one person in common. My introduction to, uh, "internal whatever" was at a Mike Sigman workshop. Years later, I got a nice refresher from Budd Yuhasz. They use enough terminology in common that I can ask them stuff over email/social media and they're likely to understand what I'm talking about.

Can you help me out and state to which paragraph your response was directed?
This one?

Quote:
I have also been told that he has spoken about pushing against a wall or other immovable object and "sending" into it; and that he works a lot on "rotating his insides" (most likely tanden/dantien).
Or this one?
Quote:
That is how he appears to pull his uke off-balance without visible movement of the hips. His reverse-breath engages the tanden, which in turn exerts a pull through the muscle-tendon channels, and thus... "partner goes". Ok maybe there's more force-vectors at work than just pulling through the muscle-tendon channels. But I found the force vector stuff doesn't work without proper connection within the body.
Both, actually. And FWIW, it was Ikeda's approach and observing his personal performance that sarted me down this road to deconstruct what that entailed ... lo, these many years ago.

On the first point, the type of isometrics he is talking about "sending" into the wall, is using that applied torque against the ground, (as the study describes) just as one would in a strike. But in this mode he is setting up the integrated structure of internal torque to deliver the atemi, but without the dynamic components. If done to a person, and then released dynamically, this results in the proverbial 'no-inch' punch.

IMO,there are reflexive elements involved in that particular demonstration that can frustrate efforts to do it with fully voluntary motor action. More, one enhances the body's reflexive arcs with this whole- body structural integration (see this, a common medical use of this principle ), When you find the way to trigger it (which IME is found in furitama and tekubi furi, FWIW) you can "surf" the dynamic result with voluntary motor action that keys to its critical "shape," as the breaking of a wave has a critical shape. The scare quotes signal my idiosyncratic descriptions.
Waza are properly sketches of the resulting dynamic "shapes" in question.

On the second point, the channels I take no issue with, and what is described in terms of force vectors I see in terms of stress fields from the ground-sourced torques one learns to hold in the integrated body. BUT their naturally conservative form is in almost continual oscillation as in the in-yo nature of walking (bagua), and static balance sway (zhan zhuang), alternately weighted and unweighted, torquing and untorquing at the same time. Training methods for this lie in existing aiki taiso: funetori, udefuri, saya undo, zengo undo, etc. As noted regarding cusp transitions in the previous post - if find how to tap into this oscillating body-integrating torque stress field, it does not go to zero, and if it does, the whole-body cohesion is lost.

Apart from my figurative "surfing" metaphors as to the relevance of waza when the critical things have already happened, I strive to keep terminology to neutral and valid anatomy and mechanics, as this vocabulary is available to and verifiable by anyone.

As to training methodologies, the traditional aiki taiso are demonstrably valid for working on these mechanisms -- again, IF, and ONLY IF done right.

Not done right, they are basically a cargo cult in terms of achieving their desired result -- hence IMO, the very understandable though I think fundamentally misplaced antipathy to some of the traditional training. There is a baby in that there bathwater.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 02-23-2017 at 12:56 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:15 PM   #71
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Re: A defense of Aiki

Quote:
Paolo Valladolid wrote: View Post
We were chatting about various things related to the seminar weekend, then at some point the conversation turned to the uke-nage connection when uke takes hold of nage's wrist. So he offered to show me what he thought should be a good uke-connection. He took hold of my wrist and said "Feel that coming up your arm?" I said "Holy shit!" Whatever he sent up my arm did not feel like electricity or heat. Then George would periodically ask "Ok, where am I now?", and I would tell him wherever I felt he was - the near shoulder, the far shoulder, the near hip, etc. Basically, George's idea of a good uke connection on a wrist grab is a clean path to the nage's center via the point of contact.
This has been the basic thrust of our kokyu tanden ho exercises for many years, drawn from Hooker Sensei. Once you get it -- YOU can feel how far you are in, and tell your partner as you do it... Furitama (and tekubi furi) has a part to play in the "that" coming up your arm, though more subtle. Hooker was emphatic on furitama, at least with us, but leaving any explanations as an exercise for the class. Laying hands on him was like trying to move a human-sized medicine ball -- soft and pliable and yet unyielding to the core -- all at the same time.

As to variant training methods -- I will point out that Hooker was personally devoted to sanchin no kata training. Very much of what I observe above is present in sanchin and highly applicable to aiki, so I would not hesitate to recommend it, though he did not teach it, as such.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:18 PM   #72
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post

Taking the aiki taiso: funakogi, tenkan, saya undo, zengo and happo undo, udefuri, shomenuchi undo, -- every one of these -- done properly -- is an exercise in opening and closing the kua and several work the "shoulder" kua as you phrase it , some call it the upper cross particularly when both are opening or closing together.[/url]:
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.

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Old 02-23-2017, 02:23 PM   #73
GovernorSilver
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Re: A defense of Aiki

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Both, actually. And FWIW, it was Ikeda's approach and observing his personal performance that sarted me down this road to deconstruct what that entailed ... lo, these many years ago.

On the first point, the type of isometrics he is talking about "sending" into the wall, is using that applied torque against the ground, (as the study describes) just as one would in a strike. But in this mode he is setting up the integrated structure of internal torque to deliver the atemi, but without the dynamic components. If done to a person, and then released dynamically, this results in the proverbial 'no-inch' punch.
"Sending" was the term used by the ASU aikidoka I talked to after the seminar. They of course were also in attendance.

Oh they did mention a partner exercise that was taught by Ikeda years ago - both partners hold a jo and, um, "send" to each other.

Mike and Budd use 6H terminology to describe stuff. 6H theory would say Ikeda created Up/Ground Jin to the object and practiced sending intent beyond the point of contact. I refrained from using that because I am not that familiar with the language of the Internal Power/Harden community, other than "aiki". I guess "torque" is used by IP folks?

I learned to make Up jin by basic pushing - partner pushing on me. I then pushed on partner so he could also learn how to do it. All under the supervision of Mike/Budd. I have noticed a good number of aikidoka can do Up jin as well, especially those in a lineage that can be traced to Tohei-sensei - either via Ki Society or via Aikikai when he was the chief instructor.

Down jin is less intuitive. I believe Harden calls this Earth. Took me a while to get how to use it, even in one of the most obvious possible scenarios: the single-leg takedown. The partner is in takedown position, attempting to lift my leg. All I have to do is put Down jin on him and he can't lift the leg. Part of the problem was I was overthinking it, expecting some kind of physical action to happen inside my body. Nope - it's intent-driven.

Thanks for the links you posted. I'll check them out. I don't think the info would have helped the poor souls who were unable to process Ikeda's stuff in 3 days but I'm not an experienced teacher.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
As to training methodologies, the traditional aiki taiso are demonstrably valid for working on these mechanisms -- again, IF, and ONLY IF done right.
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.

Last edited by GovernorSilver : 02-23-2017 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 02-23-2017, 02:27 PM   #74
GovernorSilver
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Re: A defense of Aiki

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
This has been the basic thrust of our kokyu tanden ho exercises for many years, drawn from Hooker Sensei. Once you get it -- YOU can feel how far you are in, and tell your partner as you do it... Furitama (and tekubi furi) has a part to play in the "that" coming up your arm, though more subtle. Hooker was emphatic on furitama, at least with us, but leaving any explanations as an exercise for the class. Laying hands on him was like trying to move a human-sized medicine ball -- soft and pliable and yet unyielding to the core -- all at the same time.

As to variant training methods -- I will point out that Hooker was personally devoted to sanchin no kata training. Very much of what I observe above is present in sanchin and highly applicable to aiki, so I would not hesitate to recommend it, though he did not teach it, as such.
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.
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:35 PM   #75
Mark Raugas
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Re: A defense of Aiki

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Apropos of nothing in particular to your questions, but your website...

"In Nerd Harm A" .org
Is this the first in series of seminars ?
Is it advancing ideas of harm toward nerds, or perhaps promoting nerdish responses to threats of harm?

Thanks

Inner Dharma. LOL.
The domain name aikiinyoho.org should resolve the same site.
Happy for substantive responses to my post as well as puns.
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