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Old 01-28-2004, 06:14 PM   #1
Jamie Stokes
Dojo: Kenkyu Kai
Location: Australia
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Awareness

Greetings All,
Some years ago on the Dojo floor, myself and another student were practicing eight directions cutting with Bokken.

We had finished a set, I had my back to the other student, when I experienced the "feeling" of a threat, or intent.

Later that night, the other student confessed at that moment he had thought about striking with the bokken.

So the questions I have are these:

1- has anyone else experienced such feelings or awareness of intent?

2- how would you, if you could, train in this awarenss?

warmest regards,
Jamie
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Old 01-28-2004, 06:49 PM   #2
SeiserL
 
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IMHO, most of us who have trained for a while have expereinced the awareness of intent as a feeling. Congratulations.

I was at a training years ago that had us blindfolded and simply point in the direction we felt the attack coming. Was fun and got some right. he instructor said to cut off the usual sense of sight and hearing and feel the intent. With pratice, he claimed, we could develop this awareness.

IMHO, awareness, like anything else, can be developed through practice.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-28-2004, 07:45 PM   #3
PeterR
 
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Many years ago in the dark of winter, in a land of much snow and bitter cold, I was walking home after a long day of scholastic grind [read end of the school day in Labrador] I was ambushed by some slightly younger kids armed with snowballs.

For some reason I turned around and without thinking caught one of the snowballs with one of my hands. I fired it back (it was still intact) and it burst on the forehead of one of them.

It was priceless. They just stood there with mouths open. I turned around and continued walking. Only when I got home did I collapse in a fit of "damm that was cool". That was the only time that group of kids tried to do me. I like to think it was my awsome Ki (at the time I never heard of Ki) but maybe they just never came back to the area.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-28-2004, 11:06 PM   #4
Jeanne Shepard
 
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"Use the Force, Luke!"

LOL Jeanne
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Old 01-29-2004, 12:24 AM   #5
Colin Moynier
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I can't remember anytimes where I got that kind of feeling while training, but a lot of times I just get out of the way of something bad without thinking, most recently taking a step back right before a sea gull took a dump right where I was standing.
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Old 01-29-2004, 12:25 AM   #6
Colin Moynier
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Hope that wasn't too off topic.
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Old 01-29-2004, 02:00 AM   #7
MaryKaye
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Last night we did an exercise for this:

Nage stands in the middle of the room with a bokken, with one uke in front of him and another behind, also with bokken. They are all spaced far enough that they cannot reach each other with a blow.

Front uke strikes shomenuchi (straight downward strike). As soon as he sees this, back uke is also to strike shomenuchi.

Nage's task--and it seems pretty impossible to me--is to strike forward, pivot and strike backwards quickly enough that he beats the back uke's strike. (I.e., a watcher will see his blade go down before the back uke's does.)

Sensei set himself up for a tough time by picking probably the next best people-reader in the dojo as his back uke, and managed several ties but no wins. The rest of us basically couldn't do it unless back uke slipped up, except that one student managed, once, to strike before *both* ukes. Sensei said that he'd actually read the intent to attack correctly, though the student didn't seem convinced of this (and broke off the strike because he thought he'd jumped the gun).

If you can do this, I think you've got the situational awareness thing down, as well as a mighty fast bokken strike.

I've heard of dojo where they practice blindfold, and that would probably do it too. Something I'd like to try if I get a chance.

Mary Kaye
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Old 01-29-2004, 11:05 AM   #8
DarkShodan
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I have trained a litte in King Fu and done some Chi Gung training. IT's helped focus my Ki a lot more. Anyway, I can definitely feel my partners 'intent' in Aikido class. Of course it depends on how clear my mind is at the time. We have done the blindfolds in class as well, that's kinda fun. One thing you can do is practice focusing your own 'intent' on someone. It may help to feel others 'intent'. Of few of the serious Kung Fu guys work in the same building as me. When I see them walking down the hall I really focus on them. I imagine running up behind them and clocking them in the head. They will usually trun around and see who is behind them. It's pretty cool, and fun.

Victims, aren't we all.
-- Eric Draven
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Old 01-29-2004, 05:05 PM   #9
Amassus
 
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It appears to me that to feel someone's intent, while practicing, the people attacking must feel that intent themselves. How could you feel the intent if its not sincerely there?

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 01-29-2004, 06:22 PM   #10
Jamie Stokes
Dojo: Kenkyu Kai
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Lightbulb

Hello All,

and thank you for responding.

As for "feeling the others intent" it does help if nage does commit to a strike/ movement. When it is just a physical movement or they hold back, it is a diferent feeling to a commited intent. (Thanks Dean.)

As for day to day type awareness, anyone ever looked across a room, through traffic, or public transport and "locked on" to someone who has been staring at us? I think that it is awareness still, but one that motivates our nervous system differently to a attack.

Thanks for the training ideas Lloyd and Mary. May not practice them for a while, but when I do I'll post on the forum. (give me 12-18 months)

Of course, I could train off mat with this kind of awareness, although I'll avoid flocks of seagulls ( + laughter) and try and pick something less messy. Like dodge ball, or something like that from the old school yard. Or hackey sack, for us bigger kids.

warmest

Jamie
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Old 01-30-2004, 09:51 AM   #11
Ted Marr
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Well, I had a huge long post on this earlier, but due to technical problems, it didn't want to post, so here's the condensed version;

The group I used to train with did a day of training this about twice a year, and it was really trippy. Key element was to start practice with ~20-30 minutes of 3rd eye meditation. It's more of a Hindu thing (indigo chakra), but I have no compunctions about mixing my mysticisms, especially when they seem to actually work.

Following the meditation we would generally do all sorts of exercises involving trying to dodge someone hitting you with a padded stick from behind you. The key to making it work seems to be to just try to clear your mind. Even when it doesn't work, because you doubt your instinct or just second guess and react too slowly, you can feel it coming just before they actually hit you.

In theory, it is based off of sensing the other person's intent, which is why we use padded weapons, so that we can really actually try to hit someone without the risk of doing serious injury, which would blunt our intent.
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Old 02-01-2004, 06:27 PM   #12
Ian Williams
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"an elegant weapon of a more civilised age"

must one be a mystic to practice these arts?

Tsutsumi Ryu Jujitsu
Adelaide, South Australia

Te audire no possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure
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Old 02-01-2004, 08:10 PM   #13
Jamie Stokes
Dojo: Kenkyu Kai
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Hello All,

Must one be a Mystic to practise these arts?

No. All those who are mystics, or so reckoned by others, are still flesh and blood creatures.

So if they can do it, chances are that I may too.

Looks like a fine topic for fresh thread though.

"An elegant weapon of a more civilised age"

Where did you get that from?

Interesting.

Jamie

PS> Ian, found a dojo yet?
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Old 02-02-2004, 08:34 AM   #14
Ted Marr
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Oh dear... It looks like my post was taken as evidence that I'm one of those Aiki-Fruities I've heard so much about. I want to clarify that I practice an Aikikai style, not some watered down Ki Society derivative where vegetarianism and patchoulli oil are de rigeur, and inflicting the slightest pain on your uke is considered terribly bad form. Also, this is something that is NOT part of my current practice. It's something I did a while back while in a different style. I would agree that it sounds like it's very very "mystical", but really, it isn't. The whole 3rd eye meditation and chakras stuff gives it that "feeling", but I'm sure someone who didn't believe a word of it could do just as well. As long as they were able to find something to focus their mind in a proper manner.
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Old 02-02-2004, 08:44 AM   #15
happysod
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Ted, I agree, heaven forbid anyone practices Ki aikido, disgusting little perverts that they are...
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Old 02-02-2004, 10:14 AM   #16
justinm
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I have exceptional awareness today. Last night I walked barefoot into my toolbox which I had left ready for more work today. I seem to have broken a toe on my right foot.

I now have an enhanced awareness of any obstacle near my right foot

Justin

(wondering how I'm going to get through the grading tonight in seiza)

Justin McCarthy
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Old 02-02-2004, 02:44 PM   #17
Ted Marr
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I knew I was going to draw some kind of fire for that comment. Note to self; do not post in haste.

Basically, I was just trying to say that I'm not one of those people who believes that all sorts of magical things are possible through the intervention of Ki.

As for the bit of text that causes you consternation, Ian, my reference was to some Ki Society -=*DERIVATIVE*=- (emphasis added)

My reason for this is grounded in the fact that the worst demonstration of Aikido I have yet to see was given by a group of people who splintered from the Ki Society because they felt that they were "too violent".

While I have no problem with what these people were choosing to do, it had no martial component at all, and it made me ashamed to say that I practiced a martial art which happened to share the same name with what they were doing.
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Old 02-02-2004, 05:05 PM   #18
willy_lee
Dojo: City Aikido
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blindfold training

Blindfold training is good for this kind of thing -- start close, start getting it, then increase the distance, add more attacks, more attackers -- it's really cool.

One of my teachers talked about how they used to do this -- some people were better than others. He personally felt that he always did better at it when he was hungover for some reason

=wl
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Old 02-02-2004, 10:25 PM   #19
Bronson
 
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Quote:
Ted Marr wrote:
...my reference was to some Ki Society -=*DERIVATIVE*=- (emphasis added)

My reason for this is grounded in the fact that the worst demonstration of Aikido I have yet to see was given by a group of people who splintered from the Ki Society because they felt that they were "too violent".
Hmmm, I wonder if it was my style, Seidokan. We are a Shin-shin toitsu derivative....but I don't think we split because SST was too violent

When people ask which style is most "effective" the majority of people respond with "it's not the style it's the practitioner". I think this has to swing both ways. You may find aikikai or yoshinkan stylists with much less effective "martial" technique than some Ki offshoot practitioners. Just depends what they want to focus on. We have a wide range of people in our dojo who practice for their own reasons. Relatively few of us are concerned with the martial aspect at all...but we are free to explore and train that way when we are working together.

Bronson

p.s. The spell check feature is

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 02-03-2004, 12:36 PM   #20
vanstretch
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i like to watch cats play. u can learn alot from em'.
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Old 02-03-2004, 01:42 PM   #21
Brett Lyons
Dojo: Pikes Peak Aikikai
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"an elegant weapon of a more civilised age"

Obi Wan Kanobi in reference to lightsabers.

must one be a mystic to practice these arts?

Hah. No, but practicing these arts will cause changes similar to the changes becoming a mystic would cause.

Ack! I've been cut down three times today already!
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Old 02-03-2004, 01:45 PM   #22
giriasis
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Quote:
"An elegant weapon of a more civilised age"

Where did you get that from?
Star Wars: A New Hope (Episode IV)

The full quote, from my geeky memory banks:

"It's your father's lightsaber...an elegant weapon of a more civilized age...before the Dark Times...before the Empire."

--Obi-wan Kenobi to Luke Skywalker


Do we have to be a mystic? Nope. Just a Jedi

Seriously though, I believe we all have certain intuition or gut instinct that we all could learn to remember to use, and I don't really see it as all that mysterious or mystical. I don't believe it involves levitating rocks. I just think we have to just keep practicing our aikido. That's it.

Last edited by giriasis : 02-03-2004 at 01:52 PM.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 02-03-2004, 02:27 PM   #23
John Boswell
 
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There is an MA in the world (non-aikido) that has an interesting 5th Dan test.

This info is from a website that I'm still looking for, but basiclly it goes like this:

When you are a 4th Dan and feel you are ready to test, you have to go before the "Soke" of the art and interview with him. HE is the only one that can test people 5th Dan and higher. The test is simple in theory - you (student) sit in seiza on the floor in front of the soke with your back to him. Soke holds a bokken overhead, concentrating on clearing his mind while the student is busy awaiting the strike. Once the student picks up on the strike coming in... you roll away from it. Roll to early, and you're full of BS and didn't actually pick up on the intent. Roll to late... you get nailed.

According to the story, back in the good old days, the test was with a live sword... and it was pass/fail... and you only got one chance.

yikes!

All that aside, you can read or feel intent. Its not easy and some do it easier than others. O'Sensei's talk of being one with the "void" or universe or whatever gives us a good perspective. Only when you ARE the void and have no attention on Self can you feel such intention very well.

uh..... ok. That's enough of all that!

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Old 02-04-2004, 08:32 PM   #24
willy_lee
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Quote:
John Boswell wrote:
There is an MA in the world (non-aikido) that has an interesting 5th Dan test.
You might be thinking of the Bujinkan; I believe Hatsumi sensei does this test.

I was reading another group's website and came across this description of a guro test (filipino martial arts) in a family system.
Quote:
Carl Atienza wrote:
Carl recalls his guro test:

"I was sixteen when I took my test to become a Guro. Unlike the other tests I didn't have to spar for hours or show my form. Those test were done and it is presumed that you did all the previous tests to take the Guro test. It was very short and the goal was very simple, don't get stabbed or cut anywhere on the torso or neck. This test was done at night in the moonlight. My father would come at me with a razor sharp six-inch blade and all I had to do was disarm him and simulate a controlled kill. But he didn't come at me like a street thug but with all the maneuvers and counters of a skilled Filipino blade fighter. To make it worse the blade was black and hard to see in the dark.

He did five runs that I was able to pass. The blade moved very fast and his check hand left welts on my arms. At the end of the test I had bruises on my arms and face and two stab wounds on my left hand but not a scratch on my body. I had passed. My teaching portion of my training was about to start and I would obtain more knowledge and refinement in Atienza Kali."
yikes indeed!

=wl
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Old 02-04-2004, 08:51 PM   #25
Ian Williams
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(apologies for the gratuitous Star Wars reference )

BTW: That's Sensei Obi-Wan to you
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