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Old 08-28-2006, 07:16 AM   #1
Mike Sigman
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Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

I see all sorts of discussions about supplement Aikido with Systema, Bagua, Judo, Karate, Wing Chun, etc., and my opinion is that most Aikido has better potential than most people realize... it probably doesn't need those extra arts. Aikido mainly just needs to get the power, skills, etc., of the kokyu and ki things that are such a big deal in Aikido that Tohei saw an opportunity to run with those things as his banner under Shin Shin Toistsu Aikido when he split off from Hombu Dojo. It turns out of course, after comparing a few notes, that there are a few viable sources of limited kokyu and ki studies in Aikido, but they're somewhat limited. Information is just hard to get. A whole generation of people have come up not knowing that these things are even real skills, amazingly.

One of the things I noted about Shioda, Sunadomari, and a few others was that they had a very instinctive skill (devleloped over time, I'm sure) about peoples' balance. In my view, they were impressive at balance-control and knowing where to drop people in a hole just by the more preliminary feel. The more people I've gotten to touch hands with in Aikido over the last couple of years, the more I've begun to realize that most people don't have that instinctive feel (it can be called "listening skill and it's an offshoot of having kokyu skill, in reality).

Push-hands is supposed to be technically a part of the development of Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan). A person starts with a slow, empty-hand form in order to relearn the way he/she moves and to begin to develop kokyu/jin and ki/qi skills. After they have begun to develop some of these skills in themselves (this can be from one to three years, in traditional Taijiquan; most westerners never develop these skills and wind up "doing push hands" so quickly that they never learn any of the skills... only how to scrabble-compete with normal strength, judo, wrestling, etc.).

So push-hands usually starts of with fixed patterns that are supposed to be done with the kokyu power relaxedly filling the whole body, in beginning push hands, so that the learner can begin to acquire and use these skills all the way to his fingertips, in conjunctions with a partner using limited movements. Push-hands gradually develops in complexity, but real "freestyle is something that comes a number of years after beginning Taiji, not concurrent to or soon after learning an empty "form" with empty "corrections" attached to it.

The point in regard to Aikido is that kokyu skills allow someone to begin an odd sort of feeling that tells them immediately what the status of the opponent power and balance is. Shioda (and a couple of others) impressed me with how good he was, in some of his filmed demonstrations. I thought I'd just throw in my 2 cents about something I observed and which I think is important.... I'm not seeing/feeling enough Aikidoists who have an instinctive feel for their partner and their own forces. Such a thing is a very important skill, IMO. I was thinking that perhaps a push-hands type practice (NOT the kind you see in 99% of the Taiji class meetings; something more sophisticate) would be an augmenting asset to go with ki and kokyu training.

Just a thought. YMMV.

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-28-2006, 08:50 AM   #2
Lee Salzman
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

If "99%" of the taijiquan practitioners are getting it wrong, why does it make them a better source of these skills than the "few viable sources" in aikido or related Japanese arts?
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Old 08-28-2006, 09:02 AM   #3
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Quote:
Lee Salzman wrote:
If "99%" of the taijiquan practitioners are getting it wrong, why does it make them a better source of these skills than the "few viable sources" in aikido or related Japanese arts?
Hi Lee:

All I was saying was that "good push-hands" would be a help and I was carefully trying to point out that going to your local Taiji group didn't necessarily mean that you would find "good push-hands". It's like saying "Aikido uses ki and kokyu power" to some questioner and then warning him that you won't find much use of Ki and Kokyu skills in most Aikido dojo's, if you see what I mean. I don't want to get an email 5 years later from someone who goes to the wrong place and finds out later that he learned none of those skills because he thought I was recommending that he go to a certain place.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:52 AM   #4
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

So if I hit "ignore user" does this mean I get to read threads with great big holes in them where Mr Sigman has posted ?

Last edited by Qatana : 08-28-2006 at 11:53 AM. Reason: typos

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Old 08-28-2006, 12:16 PM   #5
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Could someone point me to the thread where I mentioned the just-below-the-skin true personality of much of the New Age generation? Thanks.

Mike
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Old 08-28-2006, 12:55 PM   #6
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Mike,
We do all of these "ki exercises" in my dojo and in almost every other aikido dojo I have been in. Are you saying theses exercises are not effective in developing ones "ki?"
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Old 08-28-2006, 01:04 PM   #7
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote:
Mike,
We do all of these "ki exercises" in my dojo and in almost every other aikido dojo I have been in. Are you saying theses exercises are not effective in developing ones "ki?"
Ricky, by way of answer, my return question would be like: "I know thousands of people that do a Tai Chi 'form'..... would you say their 'form' is not effective in developing ki?". You see my point. Just because someone does "ki exercises" or "Aiki taiso" or "doe Aikido" doesn't mean they've developed anything, in reality, does it????

In most cases, I'd say the safe bet is to bet that most people doing those exercises haven't developed any ki ability. Wanna bet?

Mike
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Old 08-28-2006, 01:24 PM   #8
David Orange
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote:
So if I hit "ignore user" does this mean I get to read threads with great big holes in them where Mr Sigman has posted ?
Well, if you don't hit ignore, you STILL get to read threads with at least ONE great big hole in them...

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
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Old 08-28-2006, 01:29 PM   #9
David Orange
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
...thousands of people that do a Tai Chi 'form'..... would you say their 'form' is not effective in developing ki...the safe bet is to bet that most people doing those exercises haven't developed any ki ability.
Again, Mike, you are equating ki with "abilities," showing that you only understand "ki" in terms of force and strength.

The fundamental nature of ki is that it exists everywhere in the universe, in everything and everyone. While some tai chi people will never be any good at push hands, their practice will improve their lives and their connection with the life force that flows through everything. They will become softer, more supple and agile. They will experience better circulation, ease of movement, improved health and greater satisfaction in life in general.

So if those things can be described as "ki abilities," you would lose your bet.

If you think that "ki" only exists in applications of strength and martial derring do, you still lose.

David

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Old 08-28-2006, 02:04 PM   #10
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

I've never seen Mike suggest what you just did David. In fact, he makes it clear above that one reason he values that information is for the health benefits.

BUT those health benefits (outside of the fact that people are moving as opposed to sitting on the couch) are said to come from moving the qi through the body **correctly**. It seems to be that if someone can not speak to the proper methods of doing that with some specificity, they may not know how to do it...and will not get the health benefits **traditionally** associated with chi gungs, taiji, etc.

Someone could easily be a horrible fighter, but still able to demonstrate and teach the skills Mike speaks of...so I don't think he loses at all. It just goes to show how easily these discussions get sidetracked. People have their own agendas, and bring them to the table. I think Mike is pretty open about his agenda...others not so much.

Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 08-28-2006 at 02:06 PM.

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Old 08-28-2006, 02:28 PM   #11
David Orange
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I've never seen Mike suggest what you just did David. In fact, he makes it clear above that one reason he values that information is for the health benefits.
http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthre...t=32288&page=1

That thread is where I first encountered Mike. While he has said that he studies these things for their health benefits, he often makes it clear that YOU don't know anything about them unless you can kick his butt.

The funny thing is, a lot of what I posted on that thread (and which Mike dismissed as meaningless tripe) was direct quotes or paraphrases from Yang Jwing-Ming's book "Emei Baguazhang," co-authored with Liang Shou-Yu, who Mike says "knows more about qi than any other Chinese person" of whom he knows.

Actually, I've often shared Mike's attitude about how to practice taiji since I first began the study in 1979. My first teacher was an older lady who was primarily a dance teacher. She taught only the form and no push hands. After a time with her, I went to a series of other teachers and often said that there was no value in taiji practice without push hands and that taiji without push hands is not real taiji.

Many years later, that lady is still teaching taiji with all the benefits I mentioned and all her students also get those benefits. I would still say that they may lack some of the more "correct" ways of training, especially relative to martial application, but Jou Tsung Hwa wrote a very nice dedication in the front of her copy of his book and said that she is doing the right thing.

Definitely, she and her students have benefitted. I'm sure none of them can stand up to Mighty Mike, but I think she has benefitted more from taiji than he has, from what I've seen of his statements.

Thanks.

David

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Old 08-28-2006, 02:30 PM   #12
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Ricky, by way of answer, my return question would be like: "I know thousands of people that do a Tai Chi 'form'..... would you say their 'form' is not effective in developing ki?".
No, I wouldn't say that at all. I don't think any martial art has a monopoly on "ki development." In fact, I feel like anybody who performs regular ki exercises will develop ki.
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Old 08-28-2006, 02:38 PM   #13
David Orange
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
People have their own agendas, and bring them to the table. I think Mike is pretty open about his agenda...others not so much.
Edited to say that I made this second post because I noticed, after my first post, that you had edited your post to add the above statement.

I believe that both Mike and I would say that our main purpose for posting on these boards is to help other people find the inner essence of the "ki/qi" based arts and get more of the original intent from them.

But Mike has figuratively bumped my nose time after time for saying what the masters have always said, such as the fact that ki exists in everything and everyone, everywhere, that its original purpose is life itself, that it can become polluted through bad living and that it can become purified and refined through training.

On the "ki" thread on E-budo, I wound up with Mike and Rob John tag-team attacking my statements. Rob John referred me to Chinn, in New York, and when I went to his site, I found that he described ki/qi in almost exactly the same terms I had used. Why not? I simply subscribe to the ancient definitions that have circulated for centuries in taiji, Chinese medicine, karate and aikido. All my practice was for martial effectiveness when I was young, but it gradually moved more to the purpose of health and longevity as I recognized that I had developed the fighting side about as far as I ever would. And for a long time, I've been concentrating on that side and doing what I know increases health, longevity and fulfillment.

And these are what Mike attacks and his rationale is always that he can kick my butt.

So I wonder what you think his agenda is?

Best.

David

Last edited by David Orange : 08-28-2006 at 02:39 PM. Reason: clarity

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Old 08-28-2006, 02:39 PM   #14
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Practice of anything does not make perfect...perfect practice makes perfect. If you spend 10 years studying a form, and you still aren't doing it the correct way...somethings missing.

Deciding what is correct and what is not is another kettle...

We'll deal with the pot tomorrow...

Best,
Ron

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Old 08-28-2006, 02:47 PM   #15
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

I think you overstate the kick my butt stuff David. Almost every time I've seen someone claim Mike said that, when I read the quote it doesn't quite match the characterization. Now, Mike is not known for backing down from a good fight...if there are no witnesses But to characterize his conversations with you in terms of threats is not accurate, in my opinion. Most often, what I have seen is that someone acts snotty (or downright insulting), and Mike basically says, "say that to my face". Usually, people don't.

I think Mike's agenda is pretty clear...to increase the knowledge of **how** to train these things, without going off into fluffy bunny territory. I think he does a pretty good job of digging out what is usually considered pretty closely held stuff. Don't agree with everything he does, or always with the way he goes about it...but that is neither here nor there. Not if you focus on the ball.

Best,
Ron (I liked some of your posts in those threads on e-budo as well...I tend to take a middle ground in this stuff, as much as I can find one)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 08-28-2006, 02:55 PM   #16
David Orange
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Practice of anything does not make perfect...perfect practice makes perfect. If you spend 10 years studying a form, and you still aren't doing it the correct way...somethings missing.
Well, read the Aikido Credentials thread. Mike loves to attack all kinds of statements about aikido, but we see that he trained for eight years, mostly with a string of people he generally considers losers. That is why he left them. They didn't know enough about aikido to be his teachers. Yet, at the end of that, he figures he comes out with some considerable knowledge of aikido.

Then he tries to equate some concepts from Chinese and Japanese arts that don't equate and makes a lot of statements that don't really ring true for aikido.

No doubt, he has a lot of physical strength but he might as well talk about sumo as to talk about aikido. He seems to believe that kokyu is an "issued power" and that kiai is primarily a shout or some force generated by pressures in the abdomen through the act of shouting. If that were true, then what would aiki be, since it is the ura of kiai?

Mike started this thread about push-hands to supplement aikido in an attempt to translate something he doesn't know much about (aikido) into something he knows more about (taiji). It doesn't wash, but unfortunately, he insists on pushing it on everyone.

Speaking of agendas, the big essence of almost all Mike's statements is that no one else knows how to do any of the "ki/kokyu things" and that what everyone else does is worse than useless.

But I think that all the ki exercises of aikido and taiji are good for anyone. Naturally, as you progress, you would seek out deeper levels of this essence, but that's a personal matter for each person to get the most benefit from in their own lives. Mike really isn't qualified to be the arbiter of what is good or bad for other people's development.

Taiji push hands practice is good in and of itself. I don't know why Mike needs to talk about "supplementing" aikido with it when he doesn't do aikido,himself. I guess it's just because this is an aiki message board and has to argue with someone.

Best wishes.

David

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Old 08-28-2006, 03:09 PM   #17
David Orange
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I think you overstate the kick my butt stuff David....to characterize his conversations with you in terms of threats is not accurate, in my opinion.
No, I didn't say he makes threats (not usually, but sometimes he does make threats). I mean he always takes it back to his confidence that he can push anyone around. He will say that your aikido is no good because he is sure he can push you around, which he can probably do with almost anyone--but which does not prove that he really understand anything about aikido or the unique concepts and methods that make it different from karate or sumo.

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I think Mike's agenda is pretty clear...to increase the knowledge of **how** to train these things, without going off into fluffy bunny territory.
Well, Ron, for all his postings and their heavy repetition, I haven't seen an "ounce" of "how to" in them. He talks about having the skills, he talks about how important the skills are, he vaguely refers to what the skills are, but I've seen very little solid information in the thousands of posts he has made, which is where I began to get irritated with him on the ki thread. He only dismissed what I said, most often on the basis that it was not martially oriented, but brought nothing better to the discussion.

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I think he does a pretty good job of digging out what is usually considered pretty closely held stuff.
Well, I've heard him claim that he has dug it out. And Ellis Amdur wouldn't speak so well of Mike's power if he didn't have any, or George Ledyard, for that matter. But to say that hara and tanden are central to all the Japanese martial arts and that this is very similar to dan tien in the Chinese arts is nothing either new or closely held. And we both know that there is a lot of aikido out there that does not reflect any development of those elements, much less have any martial effectiveness (some being outright dangerous to the practitioners for self defense, in my opinion). But I have seen a lot of statements from Mike that he has the stuff while getting very little on "how" he develops it or anything else about it beyond the level of "my milkshake is better than yours."

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
(I liked some of your posts in those threads on e-budo as well...I tend to take a middle ground in this stuff, as much as I can find one)
Well, you know, the first poster said, "I am interested in knowing what the opinions are about what Ki or Chi actually is, and how people use it and teach it in their different styles of Martial Arts, or religion" and I just gave the traditional answers, perfectlyconsistent with Sam Chinn's and Liang Shou Yu's descriptions of "what" it is.

Now, you could say, "Yes, on a basic level, that's true, but to refine ki/qi and use it....insert your training methods." But Mike and Rob simply dismissed my statements as baloney. And Mike seems to hold that tack even when it forces him to contradict himself.

Thanks for your comments and insights.

David

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Old 08-28-2006, 03:10 PM   #18
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Quote:
mostly with a string of people he generally considers losers. That is why he left them. They didn't know enough about aikido to be his teachers. Yet, at the end of that, he figures he comes out with some considerable knowledge of aikido.
This is what I'm talking about...the mis-characterization of what he says. Due to personal pique in my opinion.

A) he didn't call them losers, you did. He said that his standard is that they teach what he is interested in...specifically the ki/kokyu things. If they don't teach it, he moves on. Them just knowing it doesn't qualify. Them teaching it does. That is different from what you said.

B) No, he has specifically said that he knows some things about ki/kokyu (he never says he's a master, or even that his skills are that unusual if you know these things). He says that if you accept his logic (ki/kokyu being the base of aikido), then if you don't know these things, your base in aikido is compromised. Pretty straight forward really.

Personally, I see some good in that approach, and some bad. In my life, I've learned to take the good with the bad, and sort them out on my own, as best I can.

Best,
Ron

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Old 08-28-2006, 03:16 PM   #19
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

I think many parts of the how are there David, if you care to look for them. And there are some standing offers to experience it in a teaching format as well. But people like to focus on the personal...so that often gets in the way.

Best,
Ron (people often get cantankerous when their rice bowl gets broken. Oh well...)

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Old 08-28-2006, 03:16 PM   #20
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Practice of anything does not make perfect...perfect practice makes perfect.
Would you be so kind as to explain what "perfect practice" is?
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Old 08-28-2006, 03:21 PM   #21
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Heh...If I knew that **I'd** be teaching...

I think it is situational. Context is everything. I've seen many methods of keiko, and each pretty much is crafted to achieve similar goals. But the devil is in the details, especially when it comes down to a teacher doing something dramatic with no visible body movement. And I don't think the best instruction is through words on the net, though it can lay down some good things to reflect on, and sometimes to incorporate into your existing training.

Best,
Ron (If I make any progress, trust me, you'll hear about it! )

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Old 08-28-2006, 03:24 PM   #22
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthre...t=32288&page=1

That thread is where I first encountered Mike. While he has said that he studies these things for their health benefits, he often makes it clear that YOU don't know anything about them unless you can kick his butt.
Cite, please, or retract it.
Quote:
The funny thing is, a lot of what I posted on that thread (and which Mike dismissed as meaningless tripe) was direct quotes or paraphrases from Yang Jwing-Ming's book "Emei Baguazhang," co-authored with Liang Shou-Yu, who Mike says "knows more about qi than any other Chinese person" of whom he knows.
Give us an example, please of something from that book I discounted. Your own knowledge and offerings of ki things, I haven't said they were "tripe", but I won't argue the characterization.
Quote:
Actually, I've often shared Mike's attitude about how to practice taiji
No. Another mischaracterization.

David, on E-Budo you tried to adopt the position that you know these things too, but use different terms, understandings, etc. It didn't hold water then, it doesn't hold water now. If you want to debate an issue that is as basic as the kokyu/ki things we've been discussing (VERY basic level), you could easily throw in a few comments to show what you understand in the physical world, which in turn would indicate your grasp of the topic. That's the best way to win an argument, as far as I'm concerned.... FIRST show that you know the topic, then argue the points. The discussions on the internet where the issue is debated and the personal comments are injected are almost always conclusive that the person doing the argument and personal stuff doesn't know the subject. Win on the merits first; then you've earned the right to take the shots, if that's your bag.

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-28-2006, 03:26 PM   #23
David Orange
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I think many parts of the how are there David, if you care to look for them. And there are some standing offers to experience it in a teaching format as well. But people like to focus on the personal...so that often gets in the way.
Ron, I've looked for anything related to actual practices but I haven't seen it. Could you point out some examples?

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 08-28-2006, 03:31 PM   #24
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Hi David, it's obvious to me at least that your reading skills are up to par. If it interests you to that degree...you shouldn't have that much trouble finding it. I linked some of those threads that resided here in the e-budo threads. The search function is another option.

I don't say this to be rude...I just frankly spend too much time here as it is, and don't have the time to do the chores for others. I'm sure if you clear your mind, and try to investigate rather than score points, you'll find what I mean.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 08-28-2006, 03:33 PM   #25
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Re: Aikido Supplemented with Push-Hands?

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
No doubt, he has a lot of physical strength but he might as well talk about sumo as to talk about aikido. He seems to believe that kokyu is an "issued power" and that kiai is primarily a shout or some force generated by pressures in the abdomen through the act of shouting. If that were true, then what would aiki be, since it is the ura of kiai?
Here's your chance, David. Tell us what "kokyu" is. Show us the cite where I said it was an "issued" power or retract it. Tell us what "kiai" is. Here's your chance to argue your points and quit the personal attack crap.
Quote:
Mike started this thread about push-hands to supplement aikido in an attempt to translate something he doesn't know much about (aikido) into something he knows more about (taiji). It doesn't wash, but unfortunately, he insists on pushing it on everyone.
Well, make a case why I'm wrong, instead of just assertion, m'boy. You can't win every argument by simply asserting things, you know.
Quote:
Speaking of agendas, the big essence of almost all Mike's statements is that no one else knows how to do any of the "ki/kokyu things" and that what everyone else does is worse than useless.
Look at my posts today and on other days, David... I've mentioned other people that can do these things. My point is that YOU can't... prove me wrong with a sterling exposition, rather than just attacking personally.

Mike Sigman
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