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Old 04-29-2006, 09:20 PM   #51
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
The point is that Aikido, Taiji, and other arts aren't considered complete without these kinds of skills...
I'd like to read up on these skills some more. Where does O'Sensei specifically mention the kind of skills you are referring to that render aikido incomplete without them?
Well, I'm not sure what your question is. Are you asking "where does O-Sensei mention these skills and that Aikido is incomplete without them" or are you asking "Where does O-Sensei mention these skills"? Please note what I said in the original quote.

If you look in Ueshiba's douka, his spoken and written word, and watch the standard ki demonstrations that he did (not to mention Tohei and others do), it's pretty obvious these things are part of "Ai-Ki-do".

In a martial context, medical context, and as part of the widespread Yin-Yang cosmology, "ki" or "qi" means the same thing in both China and Japan, in all the different martial arts. When Ueshiba wrote the standard references about Man, the Ki of Heaven, the Ki of Earth, the Divine Will, etc., as being the jewels of Aikido, he was referring to the same skills that we're talking about in Tohei's "Ki Society", the "jo trick", "aiki", etc. Without thinking, a lot of people, even old Asia hands, will sometimes begin (because of lack of knowledge, to put it bluntly) sort of think that the "ki" in Aikido is somehow referring to something else or some irrelevant-to-the-core-matters concept. No... this is what's being talked about: the body skills we're discussing in this thread.

Regards,


Mike
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Old 04-29-2006, 09:49 PM   #52
Talon
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Its really a very interesting thread. I went for a drink with my sensei today and discussed this very thread with him, (he is not a big computer/internet user). He mentioned to me that there are many different definitions of "ki" and what it means to different people. Although he is not big on practicing things like the unbendable arm, joe trick etc, he is big on proper angles, timing, moving with youre center and taking the uke's center. To him "ki" simply refers to proper timing, movement, angles, and projection. Once you master these things he says, techniques will feel effortless. Also he mentioned that by practicing proper body mechanics, timing, proper angles and forward projection we are in fact practicing what he considers "ki" skills.

He is very open to me exploring and practicing "Ki" excercises such as the unbendable arm in the dojo and on my own. He is a very open minded person and I really respect that. What do you guys think of all of this?
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Old 04-29-2006, 10:43 PM   #53
statisticool
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
If you look in Ueshiba's douka, his spoken and written word, and watch the standard ki demonstrations that he did (not to mention Tohei and others do), it's pretty obvious these things are part of "Ai-Ki-do".
I'm pointing out that I don't remember reading 'ground vector path' in O'Sensei's writings, or him specifically saying he uses the word ki to really mean a vector, but it is possible I may not be remembering correctly.

Some time ago Jim S. showed me some 'ground vector' stuff in Corvallis for about an hour. I must be honest and say it felt like anything else I've ever felt in taijiquan- basically pushing with the whole body movement instead of using just an arm, stuff known and practiced since long ago, so I guess I don't really see the point of updating ki/qi to more scientific sounding terms, but it is most likely too deep for me to understand fully.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 04-30-2006, 05:50 AM   #54
Brad Darr
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Mike,
Thanks for the cool diagrams I think that Ikeda sensei is doing just as is pictured in the second diagram, but the weird thing is that you can't feel what he's doing it only feels like downward weight, I mean you can't try to push to his center because it doesn't appear to be where it should be. He does change for a differing grab most notably he can project the "weight" that was down out the back of his wrist in a direction to the side, which is really cool to feel. The reason I use Ikeda sensei as is because for years I am a few friends have tried to come up with a decent description of what he was doing and I think you have put it into a nice physical model that is easily understood, thanks again. Also you are in Durango have you ever gotten up to Boulder to see Ikeda sensei? If you haven't its well worth the trip. Imaizumi sensei gave a seminar a few years ago for Arizona Aikido in Phoenix and I remember it being very straightforward and he liked to explain techniques in a concise way almost like a science class, but much more exciting. When I get back to the US I may swing by Durango sometime to visit. My home town is Flagstaff. Thanks again and keep the info coming.

Brad

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Old 04-30-2006, 07:48 AM   #55
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
Some time ago Jim S. showed me some 'ground vector' stuff in Corvallis for about an hour. I must be honest and say it felt like anything else I've ever felt in taijiquan- basically pushing with the whole body movement instead of using just an arm, stuff known and practiced since long ago, so I guess I don't really see the point of updating ki/qi to more scientific sounding terms, but it is most likely too deep for me to understand fully.
Well, that's a good start. But you're right... if that's all there was to it, it wouldn't be worth a lot of fuss.

Regards,

Mike

Last edited by Mike Sigman : 04-30-2006 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 04-30-2006, 07:51 AM   #56
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Brad Darr wrote:
Also you are in Durango have you ever gotten up to Boulder to see Ikeda sensei?
I used to live in Golden and trained at Ikeda's dojo when I got a chance (unfortunately, not too much since it's a little bit of a drive and I was doing other arts).
Quote:
When I get back to the US I may swing by Durango sometime to visit. My home town is Flagstaff. Thanks again and keep the info coming.
Let me know when you're coming and I'll alert the local Chamber of Commerce that our worries are over.

All the Best.

Mike
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Old 04-30-2006, 10:13 AM   #57
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
I must be honest and say it felt like anything else I've ever felt in taijiquan- basically pushing with the whole body movement instead of using just an arm, stuff known and practiced since long ago, so I guess I don't really see the point of updating ki/qi to more scientific sounding terms, but it is most likely too deep for me to understand fully.
BTW, Justin, did you read my first post in the "Been There, Done That Attitude" thread?

Regards,

Mike
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Old 04-30-2006, 11:13 AM   #58
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

I said it is most likely too deep for me to understand fully.

I'm sure it is very deep..

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 04-30-2006, 11:15 AM   #59
Mark Freeman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

On reading through this interesting thread one of Mike's sentences that jumps out at me is:
Quote:
The point is that Aikido, Taiji, and other arts aren't considered complete without these kinds of skills because their core concepts were designed to work with this form of strength.
I am quite surprised at some aikidoka either not practicing or having little awarenes of unbendable arm ( another description that doesn't really accurately describe what it is! ). For me having been brought up on practicing and testing this exercise since day one, I wonder how do you do aikido without it? It is not a party trick, it is a fundamental basic mind body state central to aikido.
My guess is that those that have practiced 'enough' probably 'have it' anyway.

For those of us who do practice this particular exercise we know that 'un bendable' arm is not an arm that can't be bent!!, it is a mind body state that allows the transfer of forces to be optimised, from the hand/arm to/from the centre/onepoint. It is difficult to gain understanding from a written explanation of this.
Mike did a good job in post # 32, but to understand it you have to practice it, to practice it you have to have the teacher to point you in the right direction and correct you when you inevitably start 'modifying' what he/she has just shown you. Being shown something once and then going off to practice on your own allows any 'missunderstandings' to be habituated, and therefore difficult to change.

just a few thoughts,

regards,

Mark

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Old 04-30-2006, 11:32 AM   #60
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
So really sounds like Yoga can do the same thing for you right?
Koichi Tohei's theory of mind and body coordination is based on the yoga teachings of Tempu Nakamura. However Mike is correct, in that this is not the yoga you'll see at your local community center.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
To me just sounds like proper body mechanics etc. correct?
What are proper body mechanics? How can you objectively verify that? K. Tohei uses ki testing to verify if the practitioner is keeping mind and body coordination. The Ki Society is the only group that originated this type of testing.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
...If I understood this COMPLETELY though to a fairly degree of proficiency though, i'd be a damn good fighter though right? Logic would seem to follow?
By developing mind and body coordination you would be using your body at it's most efficient level. By calming your mind you would be able to avoid "performance anxiety" that occurs in a real life confrontation. Training in a dojo is different than confronting cold steel. That is the time you need to have complete control over yourself.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Therefore, if Saotome sensei understood and could demonstrate this better than I, then even at his age he could probably defeat me correct?

Or do the other factors such as speed, agility, body weight..all play a factor in this? OR do they represent the "imperfection/error" in someones skill? Does this make sense???

I mean if I was a perfectly efficient model, then all these things would be irrelevant correct?
In a real life confrontation, everything counts. Not only the physical and mental condition of the fighters, but perhaps the environment or the position of the sun in relation to them could be crucial.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
I think that why we do martial arts over say yoga is that martial arts teaches us how to "gap" these inefficiencies. If we did not have them...then we could become martial artist simply through studying yoga right?

Let me know if I am a complete idiot here!
The promise of traditional Japanese arts is to teach it's practitioners how to have a calm mind in a relaxed body. But the expression of each art is different. Most yoga is done though static postures. The martial arts by it's nature, is done though movement. Yoga is usually practice by an individual. Most styles of martial arts are done by two or more individuals. Each art has it's own principles and techniques. It is up to the practitioner to make the art come alive.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 04-30-2006, 05:42 PM   #61
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Ted Ehara wrote:

Quote:
By developing mind and body coordination you would be using your body at it's most efficient level. By calming your mind you would be able to avoid "performance anxiety" that occurs in a real life confrontation. Training in a dojo is different than confronting cold steel. That is the time you need to have complete control over yourself.
Thanks for the comments Ted.

This doesn't answer the question of "internal though".

I train my guys in my Battalion in an "over stress" model, where we subject them to pressures nearing that of actual fighting or combat. They learn how to manage fear, emotion, and stress in a fight. They learn how to remain calm and all that stuff.

However, I am sure that someone would say "thats not INTERNAL".

No one has yet come forward to define what it is. Everyone will talk around the subject, those that say the understand it come across as in an authoritarian manner on the subject, yet it has yet to be defined/quantified as to what exactly is meant by the term. Mike Sigman comes the closest, but I still am lost as to what it means. Maybe as he states, I "don't get it".


Proper body mechanics to me, is the alignment of physical, cognitive, and psychological/spritiual aspects of the whole person and the appropriate response to a situation or stimuli regardless if it is walking down the street, or encountering someone in a fight or something.

As I stated before, I don't understand how Mike and Dan can sit in judgement on the subject and say "this guy gets it." "this guy doesn't". What criteria do you use? Jo tricks? Unbendable Arm? To me the criteria would have to be multifaceted and encompass a tremendous amount of "test".

My argument is that there are varying degrees of "getting it" and various ways of "getting it". I know many of proficient Aikidoka that can go through the motions and probably demonstrate and perform well on many "test" of aiki. However, when faced with other "martial" criteria, they may fail miserably. A good street fighter may not be able to pass a KI test.

I just read a wonderful book by the Dali Lama today. I think He "gets it"! However he is not a martial artist. So how does that play into things?

So, again, what is internal? How do you decide who gets it and who doesn't? who decides who gets to judge it.

I think that is the whole point of the "Sorrentino Challenge".

I for one am open minded and willing to expose myself to "getting it". Maybe I just need to get with some of the guys Mike recommends and see for myself!

Thanks!
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Old 04-30-2006, 07:23 PM   #62
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Angry Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Kevin
You are asking about body training and not martial skills or fighting yes?

Its not a case of a single test that exemplifies a trick. You test-or try to test the "whole" of the guy. There are a series of things you can do to a guy with your hands on him, that he will walk away and agree that -he- didn't get -either some aspects of body connection- or "most" aspects of it.
Then I do the same thing with his hands on me. I have had fairly good luck with this with those I have shown some things too.

So, Its very easy to feel someone and tell if he is using disconnected and singular large muscle groups to power through. Internal strength is a different feel. Once you feel it you will tell the difference as well.. Then you can decide if it is something useful for you or not. It's not a matter of one upmanship. Once shown, most guys will like what they can do and sense a new potential for power.

People have gotten by without it for centuries. If I said it was only a better way to walk, or do heavy manual labor but doesn't matter for fighting would you care as much? There are CMA guys I've met who use internal power and can't fight much. For me..and a few others I guess the real fun is where it works into a fighting form. But in the meantime ya just move better. There are some passages in interviews with Daito ryu guys who used to practice..................... while walking in crowds.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 04-30-2006 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 04-30-2006, 08:41 PM   #63
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Dan wrote:

Quote:
People have gotten by without it for centuries. If I said it was only a better way to walk, or do heavy manual labor but doesn't matter for fighting would you care as much? There are CMA guys I've met who use internal power and can't fight much. For me..and a few others I guess the real fun is where it works into a fighting form. But in the meantime ya just move better.
alexander techinque, Feldenkrais, yoga......

Many people that study aikido do these things. No doubt about it, they could improve your MA.

So is THIS what you are saying is lacking in aikido?

If so, you really should consider studying with ASU, at least that is the organization I am familar with and can speak about, I am sure there are other quality organizations in Aikido out there!

We do practice and spend a great deal of time learning how to walk properly. Bob Galeone would spend sometimes a week just working on teaching us how to walk or transfer our weight properly.

Jimmy does these things too and trust me, he does correct your alignment, posture, and works on your connection to hara and uke.

Can we learn from you and other practices? Absolutely, I don't think anyone has said otherwise. Yoga has been a tremendous help with my practice.

That said, there is a HUGE difference between understanding, being able to do it in a "clinical" environment, AND applying it in a full speed, uncooperative environment. Maybe I will be able to do this after YEARS of practice as you state. (10 - 15).

Can you explain to me What specifically is lacking in aikido?

I think it is not that aikido is lacking, but varying degrees of students, teachers, and methods. Again, I have no doubt that you can learn alot from CMA, Yoga, Alexander, Feldenkrais that would help you on the path.

As you know I cross train, so obviously I do not think aikido is "complete" for me, but I have no problem with aikido and its methodology. I have my own goals and endstate.

When you say Aikido is lacking, you must mean that the methodology as generally practice will not accomplish the goals of aikido. So that is what I am looking to have a response to!

I appreciate you taking the time to explain things and your position. I am seeing it much clearer now, and I am seeing that I don't think we differ that much in our outlook on things!
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Old 04-30-2006, 08:45 PM   #64
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
I for one am open minded and willing to expose myself to "getting it". Maybe I just need to get with some of the guys Mike recommends and see for myself!
If you do, and honestly report that it didn't feel like anything special or look like anything that martial artists haven't done for centuries, you might be accused of having a 'been there done that' 'tude though.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 04-30-2006, 09:04 PM   #65
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Justin, I completely understand, and that has a lot to do with my "issues".

I am trying hard to understand the perspective and conditions surrounding the things that Dan and Mike discuss and support.

It is possible that we judge things differently or perceive things differently. It is also quite possible that I could work with them physically and walk away and say "nothing special" and that in wouldn't not necessarily invalidate their methods. Paradigms and perspectives can play alot in this type of thing.

Philosophically at least, I am aligned with them has I believe in the interconnectedness of all life, energy...whatever you call it. I do believe at the mind, paradiqms, etc are very powerful things and the conditioning process that starts the moment we are concieved both limits us and presents us opportunities. Opportunities require us to be open minded.

I am very well aware, havng wasted many, many years of my own martial training that cognitive dissonance plays a HUGE roll in why we do the things we do.

There is much we can learn from eastern philosophy and training methodologies to reduce dissonance. IMHO western pychology is still in it's infancy compared to many eastern methodologies. To that end Aikido and many CMAs are one way to assist us in that process.

However, the crux of the matter is managing the expectations about what Aikido and other methodologies will really do for us. My main concern is that the word "internal" has been slung around quite heavily with purported benefits to "improve us". Several methods for testing "internal" have been offered, but unless I am missing something, no one has really outlined what the benefits are, and what exactly we are testing other than proper "body mechanics" as defined as the alignment of physical, emotional, and mental processes through a narrowly defined parameters and conditions as offered in the unbendable arm and the Jo trick.

I personally think, as Dan has stated I believe, that we put way too much emphasis on the importance of that. That said, if so, then I am at a odds as to why he states that aikido is lacking if this is what it is lacking if the jo trick is not really all that important.

does this make sense?
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Old 05-01-2006, 04:18 AM   #66
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
alexander techinque, Feldenkrais, yoga......

Many people that study aikido do these things. No doubt about it, they could improve your MA.

So is THIS what you are saying is lacking in aikido?
If studying Alexander technique and aikido would do the "trick", it should have been easier for me to push Rob over. Of course, it could be just me personally that is lacking.

I'm afraid I'm in the group of people who'd tell Dan, no way I'm doing THAT every day! I tried to keep doing the exercises we did with Akuzawa for a while after the seminar in Paris and I just don't like the way it makes me feel. Now it's entirely possible and very likely that I'm doing something wrong, and that I'm just not able to figure out how to practice in a way that I can integrate into everything else that I do, and that if I stuck to it it would get easier, or at least bearable, but there you have it. On my own I'm not going to keep it up.

Anyway, i'm back to my AT and aikido, and doing the exercises my teachers do. At least that way there's some feedback.

I have to say though, I'm happy I went to Paris. It's so much easier to grab someones wrist and feel what they are doing. Or not feel, as it may happen.

kvaak
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Old 05-01-2006, 04:44 AM   #67
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Maybe that is what Dan and Mike are referring too, an integrated way...methodology that teachese these thing more effectively.

I have no experience in AT, so I can not comment on it except conceptually.

I would stand to reason that you would have to "re-wire" your mind/body to do things differently. At least that is what I felt when I first came to aikido. I still have lots of bad habits however.

Again, it is one thing to say that you have something additive to contribute to aikido, another to categorically say that aikido is lacking and it's senior instructors on the average do not know what they are doing. That is the crux of my issue with the internal stuff, which is illuded to as being somehow "special".

I think one thing you have to be careful of in aikido is complacency and falling into habits that allow you to "get by" when doing techniques. I suppose I have been very fortunate to have teachers that are keen to watch this and keep me honest.

Thanks Pauliina
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Old 05-01-2006, 06:40 AM   #68
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

I got thinking... this is a very self-centered question, because I'd really just like to know for myself... Alec Corper was there at the seminar in Paris, so he knows what Akuzawa and Rob feel like, and we've met at a couple aikido seminars, so he knows what I feel like, and I just got to wondering if he could describe the difference. Come to think of it, he's experienced enough to have met a number of high ranking aikido teachers, too, so how about how they feel in comparison (to Akuzawa, not me!)? I wonder if he's reading this thread.

kvaak
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Old 05-01-2006, 07:03 AM   #69
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Again, it is one thing to say that you have something additive to contribute to aikido, another to categorically say that aikido is lacking and it's senior instructors on the average do not know what they are doing. That is the crux of my issue with the internal stuff, which is illuded to as being somehow "special".
Well, Kevin, do you know and understand exactly what it is that breathing techniques work on? Can you extrapolate that if someone has an unusual strength that allows them to hold odd postures against strong pushes (as Tohei shows) that that same ability allows them to push strongly in unusual ways and manipulate their uke's forces upon touch? Have you decided that really all those dumb old Chinese and Japanese thought was a big deal was really just good body alignment, etc., which you already happen to do? You realize, don't you, that there are already terms in Japanese and Chinese for "good alignment", etc.? Why do you think they went out of the way to use other terms to express what you think must be the same basic concepts?


I think you've made your point that you don't see anything special because you've personally not experienced. I get that; I think everyone gets that. However Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, Modern Dance Movement, and all those use the mind to form paths of force at will, regardless of posture.... that's what I was talking about. Let's just leave it for the moment that you don't understand what I'm talking about and you'll check it out the first time you get a chance?

I think you're fixating on the sort of demonstrations that someone like Tohei does, maybe too much, as "tricks somewhat apart from the strength we actually use in martial arts". Those demo's are actually what you want to consider as a first step. If you normally see someone using this kind of strength/skills you can't really SEE anything unusual in their techniques, etc. That's why these strengths/skills are often called the "concealed strength". So if somebody like you is watching somebody able to martially use this sort of power, you'd say "I don't see anything but good body posture, good alighnment, etc.".

So to show you that even though it LOOKS normal, it's actually different, they do these demo's to highlight that it's not your average use of "good alighnment", etc. They use odd positions to highlight that it's not something the average joe can do, using his "good alignment", etc. Your approach is that "good alignment and strength as Kevin uses it is everything and the 'ki tests' are trick usages that aren't anything but tricks". I'm saying, and so will everyone else who knows how to do these things and is reading the thread, that "no, these are not tricks outside of the way we move but instead the 'ki tests' etc., actually highlight the normal and common things you can do, along with using it martially, if you have this skill/ability." But if you knew how to do these things, you'd already know this.

O-Sensei used some of his demo's to show the limits to which his useable, working everyday strength was developed. You think instead that he was showing tricks unrelated to his working strength. Maybe O-Sensei was just doing tricks or maybe he, Tohei, and others knew something that was in Aikido which you don't? Take your pick. Obviously, you tend to think that you know what there is to know, from what you're writing.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 05-01-2006, 07:31 AM   #70
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Of course, there are those who have experienced those claiming to do it and still don't see anything different than a combination of timing, body mechanics, alignment, and efficient movement that have been known and practiced by martial artists for centuries.

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 05-01-2006, 07:46 AM   #71
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
Of course, there are those who have experienced those claiming to do it and still don't see anything different than a combination of timing, body mechanics, alignment, and efficient movement that have been known and practiced by martial artists for centuries.
Well, sure, that's part of the problem. Look at this forum and go read the various people, including numbers of "teachers", who have posted quite different ideas about what "ki" is, what "kokyu" is, etc. They can't all be right, yet each one is claiming to "know what that stuff is".

So you've got people who know, people who don't know, and you've got people that don't but claim to. There's also, as I pointed out in another thread, people who have rudimentary bits and pieces and therefore claim to know the subject. That last group can actually be the most misleading in my opinion... passing a few rudiments off as "all there is to it" is basically someone with incomplete knowledge representing themselves as having the expertise to teach.

I always remember going for a walk through a park at some sort of "Asian Festival" with a guest from overseas. We found one booth where a woman was doing calligraphy and selling it. As we walked away, my guest was just stunned... what the person was selling for calligraphy, he said, was about what a kindergartner did back in his own country. Yet the woman doing the calligraphy was wearing a nice Asian costume and speaking softly and sage-like and had an impressive array of writing tools. Probably no one else at the festival even had a clue. Oh... and it turns out that the woman *taught* calligraphy and had a number of students. But don't we see that same thing in many, many dojo's of different martial styles, in the West?

FWIW

Mike
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Old 05-01-2006, 08:43 AM   #72
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Mike wrote:

Quote:
So you've got people who know, people who don't know, and you've got people that don't but claim to. There's also, as I pointed out in another thread, people who have rudimentary bits and pieces and therefore claim to know the subject. That last group can actually be the most misleading in my opinion... passing a few rudiments off as "all there is to it" is basically someone with incomplete knowledge representing themselves as having the expertise to teach.
Ex...ACTLY!

Not putting you in this category by any means! I guess this is my whole concern. Not sure why I feel the need to be a "consumer advocate", other than I wasted a number of years of my life mis-guided and ill focused on the wrong things.

I suppose most of it would be semantics, so I will leave it alone. Mike you've certainly done a good job explaining yourself.

Reading through your post, this thought comes to mind. Keep in mind it is not a fully formed opinion or argument, but what popped into my head while reading.... When I was in Beijing this fall I went to the See the Beijing Acrobatic show. It was amazing watching a guy hop up and down stairs on one hand while balancing another guy on his feet. Certainly a feat of the type you are saying. Many, many years of training, breathing, alignment, strength.

Not sure how well he would do in MA. My guess is that given a year of instruction, he would probably fair better than most of us!

I think I have a better understanding of what these "things" will do for you. I am not so sure I would label them under the mysterious heading of "internal" as it has empty meaning.

It is apparent that MA is multifaceted, and each person values different things in their training. I suppose we would have to discuss those values and figure out how ours align and before we could discuss the realitive worth or value of various pieces of it.

Look at caporiea, A wonderful and beautiful art, with a unique set of skills. I cannot do it for a number of reasons, age, agility, strength, conditioning, ability...they can show strength in many different poses and "awkward" positions. I am sure many of these guys could fight well depending on the criteria and circumstance. However, because I do not value the same things in MA, does not mean that Aikido, BJJ, or other such things are any less relevant a have less value.

Probably a good time to say this: I am not inferring that Mike is arguing or presenting that Aikido is lacking or has any value. We are simply having a good discussion!

Along these lines: Aikido seems to have an issue and difference with BJJ and MMA. I am not sure why some aikidoka and MMA guys feel that UFC, MMA, or any other type of NHB fighting is the sole criteria to judge an arts value.

Again I think we first have to decide why we are studying MA, then pick those things that best help us get there. I don't see myself rolling like I do today in 20 years, or doing aikido the way I do it now. I'd like to think that by then, I can move on to "other things" within the arts.

Or maybe it is just an excuse that the old chinese and japanese guys used to keep themselves relevant! I think not, but ya know, some day it may just be time to hang up your sword. Reading Janet Rosen's column this month certainly makes you think hard about these things and what we tend to take for granted!

Again, appreciate the patience and time you have spent here Mike. It is very helpful.
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Old 05-01-2006, 09:15 AM   #73
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Keep in mind it is not a fully formed opinion or argument, but what popped into my head while reading.... When I was in Beijing this fall I went to the See the Beijing Acrobatic show. It was amazing watching a guy hop up and down stairs on one hand while balancing another guy on his feet. Certainly a feat of the type you are saying. Many, many years of training, breathing, alignment, strength.

Not sure how well he would do in MA. My guess is that given a year of instruction, he would probably fair better than most of us!
OK, I didn't see the demonstration, Kevin, but I will be willing to bet you that there was more to that act than you realize. I'll bet, sight unseen, that the acrobat has done qi training to some extent. Now please remember that there is a *spectrum* of these skills, not just one or two things that are qi skills, and remember that some people have certain aspects developed well, while other aspects can be unknown or poorly trained. For instance, Pauliina asked about Akuzawa (whom I've never seen) and how he "felt", but since there could be a wide range of skills he could exhibit, about all I could listen to would be whether he had jin/kokyu-strength skills.

The Chinese acrobat probably uses the qi in the breathing and pressure sense. There is a subset of qi skills called "qingong", the "lightness skills" and part of that skill-set is to use pressure in the body help you jump by a store-and-release method. Since these skills are handed around in the acrobat community fairly commonly, I'd bet some dough and feel fairly safe. Would this skill help him in martial arts? Yes. He could jump, kick, and hit harder with these skills than a normal person could. But you or someone else watching him would not see the pressure trick and would say "Oh, that's just good alignment and conditioning". And if no one ever tells you about or shows you how that training is done, you don't have it in your knowledge base, so you'll only judge him by what you personally know. That's what happens.
Quote:
I think I have a better understanding of what these "things" will do for you. I am not so sure I would label them under the mysterious heading of "internal" as it has empty meaning.
OK, I just told you about something you probably didn't know before. Assuming you didn't know about that aspect of qi training, I just told you something "myterious", eh?
Quote:
Probably a good time to say this: I am not inferring that Mike is arguing or presenting that Aikido is lacking or has any value. We are simply having a good discussion!
Oh, I agree. We're both sort of blunt, military background guys who just talk straight out. I prefer it that way.
Quote:
Again I think we first have to decide why we are studying MA, then pick those things that best help us get there. I don't see myself rolling like I do today in 20 years, or doing aikido the way I do it now. I'd like to think that by then, I can move on to "other things" within the arts.
Well, even though Dan, Ted Ehara, Rob John, and many others have somewhat different takes on these skills, we've all got some positive and substantial idea that these skills, or parts of them, are there.... and it's sort of a "heads up!" call. And more and more people have been seeing bits and pieces of these skills over the last decade, so it's becoming unavoidable and necessary that people doing Asian martial arts start looking at the ki things as not being the bogus woo-woo stuff so many "teachers" had thought, but as demonstrably containing skills that indeed shift away from "normal" strength and movement.

Oh... and for god's sake... the skills are NOT Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique, or any of that stuff because the real skills involve making and manipulating force paths with the mind. If you take a look at one of those books where Tohei is doing hie "ki tests" and you just pick the standing ones, different directions. Someone who is good should be able to do ALL of the Tohei standing tests, one after another, without ever moving... the mind/body should be able to set up the correct forces without any change of body alignment or structure.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 05-01-2006, 09:30 AM   #74
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

I was making the same point you are making about the acrobats. Thanks for clarifying it.

I definitely understand things a little better now, and see where you are coming from.

The stuff about feldenkrais, AT..was simply to frame a point of reference.

I would love to have the time to get with someone of quality to work with this, however, it is difficult at best to find someone that can "guide, coach, or mentor", on this "internal stuff" and be able to fight his way out of a paper bag based on the contstraints, conditions, and values I,,, key word is "I"... place on "effectiveness" in martial training.
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Old 05-01-2006, 10:32 AM   #75
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
I would love to have the time to get with someone of quality to work with this, however, it is difficult at best to find someone that can "guide, coach, or mentor", on this "internal stuff" and be able to fight his way out of a paper bag based on the contstraints, conditions, and values I,,, key word is "I"... place on "effectiveness" in martial training.
I agree with you, Kevin, that I want to see it used (a.) purely and (b.) martially. By "purely", what I mean is that is someone hits me or pushes me or does kokyunage or whatever with an admirable use of power, I want to feel this stuff doing it and not "some of this stuff but with a large dollop of muscle", because if you gotta depend on muscle, don't waste my time talking about "internal" power.

I wanta see "martial" because I like martial .... however the neat thing about this stuff is that you can use it for your everyday walking, lifting, pushing, pulling, carrying, etc. That's why there's this constant comment about "it's an investment for your old age". While muscle atrophies and degenerates with old age, the ki part, the fascia-related stuff and the attendant skills, just gets conditioned like rawhide.

Insofar as being really able to kick-ass fight with the stuff, I don't really put so much emphasis on that. The first time Chen Xiao Wang hit me in a moderate manner and it was so hard a hit that it made my mother's womb hurt, I was able to figure out that win, lose, or draw this stuff is certainly additive and has great utility in a fight.

The problem with tying the idea of "use internal" and "you will always win" is false. Consider someone who is just learning and has moderate or miniscule skills but is on the right track and they get into a brawl with some strong boffo and lose.... do you say "ha, 'internal' doesn't work" or do you just realistically shrug and understand that there's levels of everything? These skills are additive and they add power greatly (and they add more than that, but let's keep it simple), but you have to realize that there are levels and gradations of power, range of ability, purity, etc.

I dunno if you saw that old post via Ellis about Terry Dobson's recounting of the match between Chiba Sensei and Wang Xu Jin. Wang was an old and very powerful martial artist and Chiba was a young buck in his early twenties (BTW, I've seen Chiba's version of this story and it's embarrassing to read). Wang, according to the people who were there, handled Chiba like a child and said something along the lines of "you have some qi... come back when you have more". I think that sums it up... these things are additive, but not by any means decisive. And isn't that what you'd expect in the real world?

All the Best.

Mike
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