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Old 06-24-2006, 07:30 AM   #1
dps
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Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Is Aikido a linear progression where you learn basic principles as a foundation to learn more advanced principles then move on to learn more advanced principles,, etc, etc?
or
Is Aikido a circular refinement where you learn basic principles as a foundation to learn more advanced principles then return to the principles learned to practice them again and again?
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Old 06-24-2006, 08:40 AM   #2
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
Is Aikido a linear progression where you learn basic principles as a foundation to learn more advanced principles then move on to learn more advanced principles,, etc, etc?
or
Is Aikido a circular refinement where you learn basic principles as a foundation to learn more advanced principles then return to the principles learned to practice them again and again?
Both

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 06-24-2006, 09:06 AM   #3
dps
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Both
When in your linear progression do you stop and refine what you know? Or how do you know when to sop refining and move on?
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Old 06-24-2006, 09:26 AM   #4
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
When in your linear progression do you stop and refine what you know? Or how do you know when to sop refining and move on?
I think distinctions like this can only be made after the fact. Just like "shu ha ri" isn't a progression that one makes consciously (but is a progression, in my mind, that one can only see when looking back at one's training after, say, twenty/thirty years), I think such progressions/refinements happen naturally if one lets them happen.

I don't know anything in my training that I have refined enough to be able to "move on" and stop refining, and I believe that my training hasn't grown stagnant that I am not always "moving on" in one way or another.

Lastly, I'll invoke my friend the Peter "the Budo Bum" Boylan and say that I don't think there are any "advanced" principles in aikido -- they're just "basic" principles done very well.

George, I've love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

-- Jun

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Old 06-24-2006, 10:11 AM   #5
Jonathan Han
 
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

I was told the first thing you're taught contains the basic principle of the entire art. Of course it's hard to say what that first lesson is since we have different experiences. If I understood my Sensei's comments correctly, I think he meant there's only one principle and everything is a variation of its expression. I don't know of anyone who can "move on" after a certain point. I keep hearing "Ikkyo...whole life!"

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Old 06-24-2006, 10:29 AM   #6
David Yap
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
Is Aikido a linear progression where you learn basic principles as a foundation to learn more advanced principles then move on to learn more advanced principles,, etc, etc?
or
Is Aikido a circular refinement where you learn basic principles as a foundation to learn more advanced principles then return to the principles learned to practice them again and again?
Hi David S,

I agree with Ledyard sensei that it is both. Aikido like any skill art needs constant practice. How do you define basic and advance principles? Are there basic and advance principles in ikkyo? I don't think so.

Other way of looking at it. A tangent of a circle is a straight line - we can say a circle consists of infinite straight lines. Shu-ha-ri in a wider prospect

Best training

David Y
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Old 06-25-2006, 03:37 PM   #7
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
When in your linear progression do you stop and refine what you know? Or how do you know when to sop refining and move on?
David, the operative concept you've stated here is "stop". You don't stop, there is no stopping, there is opnly constant movement.

You can be doing so-called basics, something as simple as katetori tenkan...you start with a certain understanding or, really, lack of understanding. As you train you get input from more "advanced" training, perhaps input from training in other arts, perhaps you did yoga or Feldenkrais, it doesn't matter, it's all experience that changes your point of view, and it changes what you are doing on that so-called basic to the point at which it simply isn't the same thing you had started doing.

When someone grabs me and I do the tenkan it simply isn't the same thing that a beginner or a Shodan is doing. It might look similar but it actually has little to do with what they are doing. So is it now a basic or an advanced technique? I could easily teach a whole day on just katatetori tenkan... is that basic or advanced?

Is "aiki" basic or advanced in Aikido. You could say that it isn't Aikido without "aiki" and therefore it is fundamental. Is fundamental the same as basic? I remember Ikeda Sensei stating that the "kihon waza" (basic techniques) of Aikido don't work... What did he mean? I believe that his point was that, until you understand those techniques in a different way, seeing the advanced principles at work inside them, they don't work. So are these techniques basic or advanced? Answer: They are both at the same time.

There isn't a time in ones Aikido when one stops doing kihon waza. The basics are there always. one constantly comes back to them, over and over. Every time you do them you see something you hadn't noticed (or you should, if you are really training). You get an idea from somewhere and you come back to the kihon waza to work on your understanding of it.

After a long while, what is inside the technique you are doing changes. The outer form may look the same but the heart of the technique is transformed into something entirely different. At some pint in time I understand the principle operating within a technique. At that point I can do that technique large or small, fast or slow, hard or soft, doesn't matter because I understand that fundamental principles involved.

The process of this happening isn't one of starts and stops. I don't go, ok, I'll work on this until I understand it and them I will work on that, the next thing... I work on everything, all the time because I am studying principle. The statement that there are no advanced techniques is pretty much true... but there are certainly advanced practitioners.

Take a hologram, for instance. Each part of the hologram contains the whole. You can't talk about a piece of the hologram in a meaningful way. Your Aikido is the same. Every technique you know informs every other. Each principle you have started to understand effects your entire Aikido practice. If you have a moment of insight when doing some high level instructor training, it will change how you do your katatetori tenkan because they can't be separated.

So you are always refining and you are always progressing. Both. Both at the same time. You do one then you are doing the other. There is no difference.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 06-25-2006, 09:10 PM   #8
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
So you are always refining and you are always progressing. Both. Both at the same time. You do one then you are doing the other. There is no difference.
I disagree. First, you assume that there is something like 'progress'. It could be easy prove that such concept simply doesn't exist. But it would be off topic.

I know personally folks with 30 years experience in aikido, they not only not refining, but "regressing" (opppsss can't find better word ) as fast as they can. Many beginners with 10 years of experience have more sophisticated aikido. So your generalization isn't true.

I think we may safely say there is no such thing like " Linear Progression" or "Circular Refinement". Learning is pretty chaotic stuff.

Last edited by NagaBaba : 06-25-2006 at 09:13 PM.

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Old 06-25-2006, 10:19 PM   #9
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Hi Szcze,

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
...I know personally folks with 30 years experience in aikido, they not only not refining, but "regressing" (opppsss can't find better word ) as fast as they can. Many beginners with 10 years of experience have more sophisticated aikido.
If they have not progressed in the first place, then "regress" is not applicable. You may teach a parrot to "say" good morning, good afternoon and good night. Having a parrot that can "say" the appropriate greeting at the appropriate time everyday is close to impossible. It is still possible to dress up a parrot in kimono and hakama Seen more than a couple myself.

Quote:
...So your generalization isn't true...I think we may safely say there is no such thing like " Linear Progression" or "Circular Refinement". Learning is pretty chaotic stuff.
I tend to disagree. Some people are gifted at learning and some are not. On a similar note, some parrots are gifted at mimicking, some are not .

Best training

David Y
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Old 06-25-2006, 10:53 PM   #10
dps
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote:
I think distinctions like this can only be made after the fact. Just like "shu ha ri" isn't a progression that one makes consciously (but is a progression, in my mind, that one can only see when looking back at one's training after, say, twenty/thirty years), I think such progressions/refinements happen naturally if one lets them happen.Jun
Yes and this works better the longer you practice, but what about beginners that don't have a large number of years to look back on.
Isn't it the role of a sensei to let the beginner know when they have refined their ikkyo enough to progress onto nikyo and to always continue refining their ikkyo?
If the beginner decides on his own that he has learned ikkyo and it is now time to learn nikyo and does not refine what he has learned then at some time in the future he will get discouraged with Aikido because it does not work.
Or the beginner may get bored and discouraged with his sensei and look for a new one because he makes him practice the same thing over and over and over again.
I think that it is a good idea that once you have chosen you should remain with the same sensei for as long as possible.
What do you think?

Last edited by dps : 06-25-2006 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 06-25-2006, 11:25 PM   #11
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
David, the operative concept you've stated here is "stop". You don't stop, there is no stopping, there is opnly constant movement......

Take a hologram, for instance. Each part of the hologram contains the whole. You can't talk about a piece of the hologram in a meaningful way. Your Aikido is the same. Every technique you know informs every other. Each principle you have started to understand effects your entire Aikido practice. If you have a moment of insight when doing some high level instructor training, it will change how you do your katatetori tenkan because they can't be separated.

So you are always refining and you are always progressing. Both. Both at the same time. You do one then you are doing the other. There is no difference.
Thank you George,

With great respect to you, I did not say or mean to imply a concept of stopping.
I like the hologram analogy.
My idea in asking the questions is that it is better to learn a few techniques very well through alot of practice (circular refinement) than one technique after another quickly until you have learned a huge amount of techniques( a linear progression). With the hologram analogy I can see where the linear progression can be found inside the circular refinement.
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Old 06-26-2006, 12:45 AM   #12
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
I disagree. First, you assume that there is something like 'progress'. It could be easy prove that such concept simply doesn't exist. But it would be off topic.

I know personally folks with 30 years experience in aikido, they not only not refining, but "regressing" (opppsss can't find better word ) as fast as they can. Many beginners with 10 years of experience have more sophisticated aikido. So your generalization isn't true.

I think we may safely say there is no such thing like " Linear Progression" or "Circular Refinement". Learning is pretty chaotic stuff.
Szcepan, my friend, you are always so contrary...

a) I agree that "progress" is difficult to define... if one considers that Aikido is an infinite process, then you are correct; progress doesn't exist. On the other hand, looking backwards, I can see that my Aikido is completely different than it was five years ago, even two years ago. So there is definitely change and I believe that change to be positive in that I now understand and can do many things I could not before. So maybe the term "progress" could be used to describe what is happenig in my training. But the question would always be "progress" towards what? So I guess I'll stick with the idea that there is no progress. In that cased I am really in the same place I have always been in my Aikido, I just understand it differently.

b) I was only talking about someone who is actually training seriously, not someone who has plateau-ed or has stopped trying. I have no interest in including those folks in the discussion.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Old 06-26-2006, 12:49 AM   #13
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
Thank you George,

With great respect to you, I did not say or mean to imply a concept of stopping.
I like the hologram analogy.
My idea in asking the questions is that it is better to learn a few techniques very well through alot of practice (circular refinement) than one technique after another quickly until you have learned a huge amount of techniques( a linear progression). With the hologram analogy I can see where the linear progression can be found inside the circular refinement.
I am actually usuing this concept in my teaching... I do fewer techniques these days but teach them on a much deeper level. I try to get people to see the different principles at work in the fundamental techniques. If people can understand these principles, they can later add techniques at any time.

George S. Ledyard
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Bellevue, WA
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Old 06-26-2006, 03:11 AM   #14
dps
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

I read a story about a Chinese martial artist that was known as Woodpile Ma. He earned his living suppling wood to the people of his village. In his backyard was a large pile of wood. Everyday in between work he would practice his martial art technique (he knew only one technique) while circling the woodpile day after day for his whole life. He was challenged often to fight and never lost even though his opponents knew what technique he would use.
Probably this and most stories like it are not about a real person but told to illustrate a point. I think they are great fun.
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Old 06-26-2006, 04:52 AM   #15
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
Probably this and most stories like it are not about a real person but told to illustrate a point. I think they are great fun.
It is not that Soke Mas Oyama (founder of Kyokushin karate) only knew just one technique. He only believed in one principle - to kill/maim with one blow in all his fights.

O sensei no doubt applied the same principle when he said "the fight is over before it begins". He was not advocating that aikido should be violent or brutal. He was stating that aggressive action should be natural in the quickest and simple manner. Thus far, I have not come across any fancy techniques from his photos and video clips. Perhaps circular refinement is fundamental than linear progression.

Just my 2 sen.

David Y
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Old 06-26-2006, 11:23 AM   #16
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Quote:
David Yap wrote:
...should be natural...
I meant "should be neutralised"
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Old 06-26-2006, 12:55 PM   #17
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Quote:
David Yap wrote:
I meant "should be neutralised"
I was straining my brain to figure out what you said. Thanks for the correction.
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Old 06-26-2006, 07:47 PM   #18
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I am actually usuing this concept in my teaching... I do fewer techniques these days but teach them on a much deeper level. I try to get people to see the different principles at work in the fundamental techniques. If people can understand these principles, they can later add techniques at any time.
Do you want to say you teach the SAME principles at work in the different techniques? This would make sense as preparation to use the SAME priniciples in new created (added) techniques? Am I understand you well?

Nagababa

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Old 06-26-2006, 10:14 PM   #19
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
Do you want to say you teach the SAME principles at work in the different techniques? This would make sense as preparation to use the SAME priniciples in new created (added) techniques? Am I understand you well?
If I read you correctly, yes, that is what I mean.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Old 06-27-2006, 09:14 PM   #20
dps
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Re: Linear Progression, Circular Refinement

Quote:
David Yap wrote:
Thus far, I have not come across any fancy techniques from his photos and video clips.
I understand that in public demonstrations and when he was filmed, O
Sensei would alter or omit parts of a technique as to not give away the secret of the technique.
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