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Old 06-20-2006, 02:43 AM   #101
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
Xu Wenfung wrote:
Not sure with other arts, but IMO, it is difficult to show the REAL (TM) aikido to audience sitting comfortably in the spectator booth. All you can do is to show the shell of aikido, i.e., the flips, the graceful ukemi etc...

To really appreciate the functional beauty of aikido, one must get down on to the mat and FEEL IT (TM).

That is why, when seeing aikido demo, just appreciate it for what it is worth, entertainment.

Boon.
We do not do demonstrations in my own dojo, in order to attract new members. Prospective members are invited to come and watch training and to come on the mat if they wish.

Of course, one fundamental purpose of demonstrations of the martial arts in traditional Japan was as an offering to the kami at festivals. Matsuri is the noun of the Japanese verb matsuru, which means to deify or worship as a deity. So, those being entertained were not physically present at the demonstration.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:31 AM   #102
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
We do not do demonstrations in my own dojo, in order to attract new members. Prospective members are invited to come and watch training and to come on the mat if they wish.
Dear Peter-sama,
Like wise, my current aikido dojo has never done any demo nor promotional activity to date, and yet our membership is increasing... 100% through word of mouth. I think that is the best advertising any dojo can ever have.

Quote:
Of course, one fundamental purpose of demonstrations of the martial arts in traditional Japan was as an offering to the kami at festivals. Matsuri is the noun of the Japanese verb matsuru, which means to deify or worship as a deity. So, those being entertained were not physically present at the demonstration.
In my culture, on 15/14th day of the 7th month of the lunar calender, the mortals will hold opera show al-fresco'ly. And yet, despite the show going on, no mortal except the performers will be at the premise. Similarly to your concept, those that are being entertained are not physically present.

Boon.

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Old 06-20-2006, 04:02 AM   #103
Mark Freeman
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
. I felt bad about it because I think that a demonstration should be ordinary training, with people watching.
It seems there is a cultural differnce between Japan and the UK eh Peter?

I have only been involved in one demonstration in my aikido career. It was when I started teaching. The club that I was leaving came to my new venue and we all took part in a public demonstration in an attempt to attract new members for the fledgling teacher. The demo consisted of a normal lesson, with nothing different to what a new student would find if they just turned up out of the blue and got on the mat. There was no discussion beforehand of what would be done.
It went as a normal class would, with people of varying grades doing what they normally do, trying to practice what the Sensei has demonstrated, with input from him as they go about it.
In this way, the spectators saw exactly what they can expect if they were to join. Of course there was some 'spectacular' aikido on show, but this was an every lesson normality from my Sensei

George Ledyard wrote:
Quote:
So, somewhere in between movement with absolutely no intention and dangerous and destructive technique is where we should be trying to be.
I totally agree with this, there is 'real' and 'really real'. 'Really real' belongs on the battlefield, aikido has the capacity to be destructive, but if we practiced at this level all of the time, we would run out of willing uke's pretty darn quickly. The blood and guts practice common in yesteryear is not so evident today, and maybe thats a good thing. The world moves on. Japan is not the same now as it was in the past, it wants to show a different more peaceful face to the world.

I'm sure that there are enough aikidoka agreeing with George's point above to keep the integrity in aikido as we progress into the 21st Century.
We do have to accept the 'width' of modern aikido practice, and if some take their learning off to the edges of what is considered 'no longer 'real' aikido, then so be it. Maybe it will attract more people to the art, a good thing in my book. These new people will in time start to understand aikido as a whole, not just what they learned from their teacher.

When I started aikido, self defence was not a priority, it still isn't. I'm sure I'm not unique, and that others like me were attracted by the 'wholeness' of the art, the chance to practice something that would feed the mind, body and spirit in equal measure. A chance to journey with like minded individuals on a path of dicovery of the 'truth' of oneself. Aikido has given me this and more than I could imagine when I joined. If I had seen a brutal display of aikido effectiveness with broken bones being the result, I may never have started.

Keep it real but don't try to keep it the same.

regards,

Mark
p.s. a 100 posts in just a few days, I really put the cat amongst the pigeons didn't I?

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Old 06-20-2006, 09:07 AM   #104
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Re: What do you think?

Ledyard Sensei said:
Quote:
It's not hard to do physical blending movement when the attacks are "low voltage" so to speak. As I say, I think the demo was a very nice example of the aiki of movement. But none of those ladies would keep her projection if attacked with real intensity. This is not meant to, as Szcepan has, disparage the whole demo. All of the components of good Aikido are there in the physical sense. But the inner strength that is required to take this movement to the level of Budo isn't there.
Sensei, I respect you sir.

I take issue with your logic: "But none of those ladies would keep her projection if attacked with real intensity." Drawing this conclusion makes no sense. If any of those ladies were carrying her child and attacked on the street it would, I believe, become very clear that they are studying budo, and that the female gender is the more dangerous of the two in our species.

My opinion, Sir.

David
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Old 06-20-2006, 09:13 AM   #105
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Re: What do you think?

Very nice (say no more)

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Old 06-20-2006, 10:29 AM   #106
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
David Knowlton wrote:
Ledyard Sensei said:

Sensei, I respect you sir.

I take issue with your logic: "But none of those ladies would keep her projection if attacked with real intensity." Drawing this conclusion makes no sense. If any of those ladies were carrying her child and attacked on the street it would, I believe, become very clear that they are studying budo, and that the female gender is the more dangerous of the two in our species.

My opinion, Sir.

David
David,
What someone is capable of in a life and death situation is not particularly relevant here. I am talking about how we train and how the energetics of the Aikido interaction work. This is not just a matter of "intensity" although that is important for proper training. I am talking about aiki. Aiki is about moving the partner / opponent's mind in order to move his body. We use all of the forms of sensory input to do this... visual, sound, tactile, etc. All are entries to the mind of the partner and all can produce movement of the mind which will connect to the body.

If you don't train in how to project your intention, to develop that strong mental focus that allows you to effect the attacker before you even connect physically, you can NEVER take your Aikido up to a higher level. Physical relaxation is important, even crucial, to doing Aikido. But the relaxation of the mind under pressure is a prerequisite of a relaxed body. This has to be trained. If people train only with fairly low intention, even if the practice is quite aerobic, it will not prepare you for an encounter of high intention. PERIOD.

I do not doubt that these ladies could be quite dangerous if threatened, especially if they were protecting a child... But they are extremely unlikely to produce technique with aiki in that situation if they haven't routinely trained for it.

This is not a value judgment. These ladies look quite good and any teacher would bee happy to have them training at his dojo. They have abviously worked long and hard at their art. But if they want to get past Aikido simply as movemnt and get to the other levels, they need to start putting in the intentsity and intention. This is a common issue in the training I see all over. Intention starts to tap into ones fears and that isn't necessarly confortable. So many, if not most, folks would rather tone it down. But that "toning down" prevents them from getting to a higher level of technique.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 06-20-2006, 10:37 AM   #107
Dominic Toupin
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Re: What do you think?

When thinking about the intent and intensity of attack in an aikido demo, it's always in my mind related to the aim of the demo.

If you look at Morihiro Saito at 1994 All-Japan Aikido Demonstration with Pat Hendrick (you can see a clip at aikidojournal.com). They give an impressive demo in a kata form. All the move were planned in advance and I do not think that Hendricks Sensei have the real intention to hit Saito Sensei. Yes the attack was real, if Saito Sensei didn't move properly, he will be hit by the bokken.

Now I do not think that anyone could argue about the quality and the impressive look of that demonstration. Maybe Szczepan Janczuk will argue about it saying that those shihan had nothing to do with aikido.

By the way Szczepan Janczuk, when someone ask you a question (see post #54), why not give an answer. Probably that my question didn't have any relation to aikido or something like that

Dominic
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Old 06-20-2006, 11:09 AM   #108
Mark Freeman
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
What someone is capable of in a life and death situation is not particularly relevant here. I am talking about how we train and how the energetics of the Aikido interaction work. This is not just a matter of "intensity" although that is important for proper training. I am talking about aiki. Aiki is about moving the partner / opponent's mind in order to move his body. We use all of the forms of sensory input to do this... visual, sound, tactile, etc. All are entries to the mind of the partner and all can produce movement of the mind which will connect to the body.

If you don't train in how to project your intention, to develop that strong mental focus that allows you to effect the attacker before you even connect physically, you can NEVER take your Aikido up to a higher level. Physical relaxation is important, even crucial, to doing Aikido. But the relaxation of the mind under pressure is a prerequisite of a relaxed body. This has to be trained. If people train only with fairly low intention, even if the practice is quite aerobic, it will not prepare you for an encounter of high intention. PERIOD.
I have written about this aspect ( the mind leading the body) in another thread and nobody took me up on it. Is it an area that is lacking in some aikido, or is it something that is only understood after a great deal of training?

Good post George, thanks,

regards,

Mark

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Old 06-20-2006, 11:59 AM   #109
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
I have written about this aspect ( the mind leading the body) in another thread and nobody took me up on it. Is it an area that is lacking in some aikido, or is it something that is only understood after a great deal of training?

Good post George, thanks,

regards,

Mark
It's been my experience that what most people in Aikido think of as 'leading the mind' is behavioral conditioning. 'Leading' can be a real phenomenon, but the kinds of gross movements I'm most familiar with in Aikido simply don't work outside of their overly cooperative settings. I think a lot of people think that they get it, but I would challenge them to effectively lead anyone trained in any other art, even just in honest cooperative training.

Since I'm bothering to post here, I'd agree that I don't see a lot of 'martial' quality in the video in question. I do see some impressive body skill and coordination, but I'm not too interested in that. I'm not going to make any general statements about the martial quality of the women in question though, people often do things in demos are not representative of their real character.

I am however reminded of a conversation with a friend and Iaido instructor, Scott Irey. We were watching a demonstration of iaido/batto/kenjutsu by various dojos and were pretty universally uninspired. His comment was along the lines that, "Too many students see the poses when a kata stops and try to shape themselves the same way. Too few try to see what the body is doing in the moments of movement. This however is where the real meat of the kata exists." It's my opinion that most martial artists flit from pose to pose rather than really getting into the meaning of the movements. In this way things may *look* right, but the meaning of the movements has been totally lost. I attended the first Vegas Aiki Expo, and was pretty underwhelmed at most of the Aikido demos, but when Ushiro Sensei started moving, I took note. Even though he didn't have a partner (yet) I could see his body transmitting force and the subtle relaxation and extension of his movements. He wound up in the right poses because the movements transitioning one to the next were nearly perfect, not because he knew how to pose.
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Old 06-20-2006, 12:59 PM   #110
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Re: What do you think?

Ledyard Sensei said
Quote:
If you don't train in how to project your intention, to develop that strong mental focus that allows you to effect the attacker before you even connect physically, you can NEVER take your Aikido up to a higher level. Physical relaxation is important, even crucial, to doing Aikido. But the relaxation of the mind under pressure is a prerequisite of a relaxed body. This has to be trained. If people train only with fairly low intention, even if the practice is quite aerobic, it will not prepare you for an encounter of high intention. PERIOD.
Sir, the finest throws I did in judo, before I was seriously injured, were techniques that had no intention, no projection, at their outset. I was falling, or being thrown, and very peacefully, turned, and made the fall into a koshi technique. Has Sutemi Waza (sacrifice technique) no place in aikido?

As I look at the symbol for Yin and Yang I see that half of the circle is receptivity, and giving and receiving are continuously trading places in the circle. Logically, either you are focusing only on the Yang aspect of aikido, or I am never going to take my aikido to a higher level!

Alas for me, Sir, you are more qualified to judge.

Respectfully, David
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Old 06-20-2006, 01:04 PM   #111
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
David Knowlton wrote:
Has Sutemi Waza (sacrifice technique) no place in aikido?
Actually in most Aikido there is no place for sutemi. Many seniors know some from their judo days, but it only forms a formal part of the Yoseikan curriculum. My first aikido school had "ushiro-nage" aka tomoe-nage aka the Capt. Kirk throw, but that too was a hold over from their judo days. I don't know enough about Shodokan/Tomiki Aikido to say if they have formalized sutemi into their sylabus, but it's safe to say that Yoseikan and Tomiki are not representative of mainline 'typical' aikido anyway.
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Old 06-20-2006, 01:07 PM   #112
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
Dominic Toupin wrote:
By the way Szczepan Janczuk, when someone ask you a question (see post #54), why not give an answer.
Because you don't know how to discuss a topic, instead, you are trying to attack me personaly. This often happens because of lack well build arguments. I tend to ignore such inexperienced young lions.

In the other hand nobody in the world have obligation to respond you only because you asked.

Nagababa

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Old 06-20-2006, 01:27 PM   #113
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Re: What do you think?

Christian Moses kindly responded
Quote:
Actually in most Aikido there is no place for sutemi.
That might explain why so many, not just beginners, force their technique when it doesn't go as they expect.

David
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:03 PM   #114
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
David Knowlton wrote:
Ledyard Sensei said

Sir, the finest throws I did in judo, before I was seriously injured, were techniques that had no intention, no projection, at their outset. I was falling, or being thrown, and very peacefully, turned, and made the fall into a koshi technique. Has Sutemi Waza (sacrifice technique) no place in aikido?

As I look at the symbol for Yin and Yang I see that half of the circle is receptivity, and giving and receiving are continuously trading places in the circle. Logically, either you are focusing only on the Yang aspect of aikido, or I am never going to take my aikido to a higher level!

Alas for me, Sir, you are more qualified to judge.

Respectfully, David
David,
We are not on the same page in what we are discussing. It's apples and oranges. I am sorry but I am not sure how to bridge this gap.
- George

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Old 06-20-2006, 02:04 PM   #115
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Re: What do you think?

Thank you for answering sir. More training for me.

David
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:14 PM   #116
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
I don't know enough about Shodokan/Tomiki Aikido to say if they have formalized sutemi into their sylabus, but it's safe to say that Yoseikan and Tomiki are not representative of mainline 'typical' aikido anyway.
From my understanding there are no Sutemi waza in Shodokan training. In fact, any loss of balance while executing waza is not looked upon as an execution of quality technique from my experience. Tomiki was very clear on keeping Aikido and Judo practice as separate things and did not "borrow" techniques from one into the other.

However it is interesting that within photo archives of "mainline, typical" Aikido (i.e. pics of Ueshiba M.) there are shots of him doing Ne Waza, which is where one often ends up after executing Sutemi Waza.

Quote:
'Leading' can be a real phenomenon, but the kinds of gross movements I'm most familiar with in Aikido simply don't work outside of their overly cooperative settings.
Actually leading works extremely well in uncooperative training, but it is not a product of gross movemements, but very subtle ones from my experience. Proper manipulation of ma ai is one key aspect.

George: Your comments regarding intent reminds me of a chat I had with a student recently. Relaxation of mind and body while under pressure is extremely important in getting to the meat of the stuff. I hope training is coming along well.

Onegaishimasu.
LC

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Old 06-20-2006, 08:55 PM   #117
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
At one demo at the Budokan in the sixties Saotome Sensei felt that the folks from the other martial arts did not respect Aikido. He proceeded to do a three person randori in which he did three entering movements. Ikeda Sensei's description of the aftermath was "One guy no can talk, one guy no can use arm, third guy sleeping". It lasted under ten seconds.
Hi, George,

I've heard this story but always considered it myth. It's very difficult to reconcile with the Saotome I've known (someone I've never known to hurt anyone.)

You mean that in order to prove a point to outsiders, he breached the trust of his UKE and deliberately injured them?

Hard to conceive.

Thanks.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 06-20-2006, 08:58 PM   #118
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote:
More than 10 years ago I visited a martial arts gala. I do not remember how many hours of demos I watched from different arts. Very few of the demonstrations consisted of normal training - most demos very full of as many spectacular kicks as possible, people jumped up to kick peaches from swords and did arranged "self defence" scenes were someone was assaulted but ended victorious etc.
I attended a KORYU demo once at the Budokan and had to laugh. The whole day long there were spectacular demos of skill and precision by these venerable ancients in wispy beards.

Polite applause.

Then, at the end of the day, they brought out the black powder arquebuses.

! BOOM !

Wild applause and shouting.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 06-20-2006, 09:10 PM   #119
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
(Anne-Marie, perhaps you might talk to Mr Peter Bernath and see if he remembers Fred Wagstaff. I think Fred moved from Boston to NY after I left the US in 1975. Yamada Sensei recently told me that Fred had died, and had died of AIDS.)
I'll be sure to do that. I'm sure he does. And, the hair flick of Kanai Sensei always brings back good memories of him. There are times at seminars where you can just feel his presence. Or at least, we're all thinking of him because Claude or Peter or even Yamada Sensei is demonstrating a "Kanai Sensei throw." Oh, we miss him so.

Quote:
Mark Freeman said:
Personally, I find some of the criticisms levelled at the 'softer' styles of aikido to be founded in lack of understanding. However I admit that when seen from the outside, this form of aikido can seem unrealistic. You only have to see O Sensei in the latter part of his life to agree with this.
I feel very much the same way. I often hear people say the same thing about softer stylists, almost as if its an apology for not being martial or for not being good enough -- at least is soft and pretty. Or it's used as a put down, "it's soft and pretty," "good movement but aerobic classes." Unfortunately, I think hard stylists are just as apt to gymnastic stylings in the ukemi even with what appears to be "good attacks." I saw a few videos like that on that site, too. Maybe folks should go check them all out. I know I did. I enjoy watching clips of people practicing no fronts or airs on being "perfect" or "ultimate" just a regular person practicing their stuff and putting it on the net.

I often seen people (usually men) at seminars challange the likes of Penny Bernath, because she really does enjoy the movement and art of aikido over the martiality of it, but then I watch her deliver precise strong technique to these guys without being Mr. Tough Guy or copping a 'tud (like I do.) I really cringe when I hear people demean the importance of movement as if that's the most basic way to train. However, in my opinion it's the more diffcult to make a technique fluid AND precise; filled with movement AND strong. Static training and stiff ukemi is not necessarily advanced training, either. And in some schools it's not preferrable.

I agree with you give these young women a few more years and they will start to develop their strength of their center which will help with the strength of their attacks. It will develop in time.

Last edited by giriasis : 06-20-2006 at 09:13 PM. Reason: grammer, typos, train of thought errors as usual, you know what I mean...

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 06-20-2006, 09:30 PM   #120
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
Hi, George,

I've heard this story but always considered it myth. It's very difficult to reconcile with the Saotome I've known (someone I've never known to hurt anyone.)

You mean that in order to prove a point to outsiders, he breached the trust of his UKE and deliberately injured them?

Hard to conceive.

Thanks.
I have heard the story both from Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei (he was the one who was knocked out).

I guess he felt that things were different here... In thirty years I have never known him to deliberately hurt anyone. I have never been injured training with either Saotome Sensei or Ikeda Sensei.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 06-20-2006, 09:49 PM   #121
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
I really cringe when I hear people demean the importance of movement as if that's the most basic way to train.
Hi Anne Marie,
Movement is the most basic way to train. It is the very first thing you need to learn in Aikido. It is the foundation of everything. That does not "demean" it in any way. The large harmonious movements of Aikido are one aspect of aiki. One should not make the mistake of thinking that these large movements represent the pinnacle of what the art is about....

There was a very high ranking gentleman from one organization who said of Ikeda Sensei, "His knees are bad and he can't really do Aikido any more..." I just laughed to hear that. Ikeda Sensei can throw you and the movement is just barely visible. His skill level is simply amazing. Yet this individual had identified the large movement techniques which comprise the kihon waza with the art itself. Those are just good solid basics but there is a huge world to explore beyond that in Aikido. Some folks choose not to look past this area to what is beyond.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 06-21-2006, 03:51 AM   #122
crbateman
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
The large harmonious movements of Aikido are one aspect of aiki. One should not make the mistake of thinking that these large movements represent the pinnacle of what the art is about....

Those are just good solid basics but there is a huge world to explore beyond that in Aikido. Some folks choose not to look past this area to what is beyond.
I very much agree with these statements. I have always been taught that the large movements are the first stage of learning the waza, and that continued practice will refine and make the movements more compact, finally resulting (in the most accomplished of practitioners) in the movements being very small, or almost imperceptible. Hope I get there someday, even if it's in only one technique...
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Old 06-21-2006, 06:19 AM   #123
dps
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Re: What do you think?

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Clark Bateman wrote:
I very much agree with these statements. I have always been taught that the large movements are the first stage of learning the waza, and that continued practice will refine and make the movements more compact, finally resulting (in the most accomplished of practitioners) in the movements being very small, or almost imperceptible. Hope I get there someday, even if it's in only one technique...
I first learned Aikido from an Aikikai style dojo and was taught big circles and big movements with some mention of tightening to smaller circles (techniques to use in a telephone booth). I currently study in a Shodokan Aikido dojo where the circles and movements are smaller and sometimes imperceptible. I thought I was seeing linear movements unitl Sensei explained that the cicles and movements were internal, the flexing and contracing of the muscles .
Does anybody else remember what a telephone booth looks like or know what one is?
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Old 06-21-2006, 07:07 AM   #124
Ron Tisdale
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Re: What do you think?

Yeah, I remember...omph....getting old stinks.

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Unfortunately, I think hard stylists are just as apt to gymnastic stylings in the ukemi even with what appears to be "good attacks."
You are absolutely correct in this.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 06-21-2006, 08:02 AM   #125
crbateman
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Re: What do you think?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Yeah, I remember...omph....getting old stinks.
Not when you consider the alternatives...
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