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Old 09-26-2006, 02:10 PM   #51
ChrisMoses
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
While I still feel that's partially true, I also now see that I was also failed.
Not to mention that I was bad grammaring...

Let's all pretend that read, "While I still feel that's partially true, I also now see that to some extent I too failed."
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Old 09-26-2006, 02:27 PM   #52
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
While I still feel that's partially true, I also now see that to some extent I too failed.
How did you fail, though? Did you fail in the martial sense, or as a student? Those are two separate things.

It would seem to me that you failed as a student, and succeeded martially, while he, at least, failed martially, and probably failed as a student, since it seems it was done out of spite and ego and not to develop you or himself.

I think the only way to succeed is to do the technique perfectly in spite of resistance or lack thereof... I wish I could.

I know what you mean though about it being a failure, in that "good actors never complain about their parts, while bad actors are never satisfied" (to butcher a quote).

Rob
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Old 09-26-2006, 03:04 PM   #53
ChrisMoses
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Robert Rumpf wrote:
How did you fail, though? Did you fail in the martial sense, or as a student? Those are two separate things.

It would seem to me that you failed as a student, and succeeded martially, while he, at least, failed martially, and probably failed as a student, since it seems it was done out of spite and ego and not to develop you or himself.
If Aikido is to live up to its goal of protecting both parties, nage must have enough control to keep uke from making bad decisions. This is the difference between leading and directing. Directing someone can feel like leading, but it's qualitatively different. If my only recourse for someone not following me is to do severe damage (eye gouging would count in my book) then my waza has already failed. This is why I don't like when people use atemi at the end of techniques or when they get stuck.
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Old 09-26-2006, 03:49 PM   #54
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
If Aikido is to live up to its goal of protecting both parties, nage must have enough control to keep uke from making bad decisions. This is the difference between leading and directing. Directing someone can feel like leading, but it's qualitatively different. If my only recourse for someone not following me is to do severe damage (eye gouging would count in my book) then my waza has already failed. This is why I don't like when people use atemi at the end of techniques or when they get stuck.
I think part of what you are saying is what I was alluding to when I said that you failed as a student - in that you failed to continue to try to learn Aikido as a form of mutual preservation.

At some point, uke has some responsibility for the consequences of their actions. I don't think it is the responsibility of nage to "keep uke from making bad decisions," especially in a non-class setting.

I think the best that can be hoped for is that nage attempts to offer options to which uke can make good decisions, or maybe spares uke some of the consequences of a bad decision in a learning environment.

But... when it comes down to it, I find it difficult to believe that someone cannot be deliberately perverse, and hurtful to themselves, if they choose to be - regardless of nage's actions. I can't stop uke from running in front of a car if they wish to.

Rob
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Old 09-26-2006, 03:56 PM   #55
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

One thing I have to say...this is one of the best discussions I have had on ANY site. And we wouldn't have had it (most likely) without Sczepan's post.

Thanks Mr. S!

My very best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 09-26-2006, 04:14 PM   #56
aikidoc
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
As someone who clearly prefers the "force of nature" style of Aikido I can see why you wouldn't like this. I am sorry but you are wrong about this. The surprise is defintely there when you deal with someone like Endo. It's not in the timing changes or some violent assault on the partner's structure, which is what you are used to. Endo, Yamaguchi, Takeda, Saotome Senseis all focused on "absorbing" the power of the attacker. You grab them and you feel nothing. Your balance breaks and you are not sure why, you can't figure out where your power went..
I have experienced this with Kato Sensei as well and to my understanding he was a pretty tough guy in the early days. When it has happened to me all I could do was laugh because I felt the power being drawn totally away. He gets upset with you if you don't grab hard. One of my students is a big guy-he about breaks your arm when he grabs you. Sensei just lifted his energy up and tossed him with no problem and he's a whole lot smaller.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
People think that power represents the expression of the martial side of Aikido. Having trained with some folks who come from older classical aiki backgrounds, I can tell you that the truth is exactly the opposite. They will set you up and dump you and you won't even feel it coming. I know I sound like a broken record on this, but since Mr Sczepan consistently maintains the opposite poistion on this, I think someone has to hold up this end.
I also think than many equate power with strength and force rather than relaxation and connection. To me the hardest power to deal with is one that takes your power and gives it back to you in a fashion where you don't feel it coming. It is much harder to respond to whereas the strength kind is easier since the tenseness is always there-there is no disguise.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
All this got changed in Aikido when the spirals got larger and the movements became very open and flowing. There were reasons for that but they had absolutely nothing to do with being more martial. Kuzushi isn't about throwing someone, although the technique might be a throw if one chooses. It's about placing the attacker in an off balance position in which you can strike him and he cannot respond. A throw is simply a strike you are choosing not to do..
Great comment!

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Endo Sensei's interest is largely about how one uses the principles of aiki to absorb the attacker's energy at the instant of physical contact. He isn't interested in smashing people or torquing their joints. He is studying how to completely join with the attacker. I have taken ukemi from him and I can tell you that it's like grabbing air. I equal more than two of him in body mass and he moves me effortlessly..
Ah, the aiki in aikido. Perhaps that is something sorely missing in those who want to rely on strength or force to make a technique happen.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
This whole focus on getting to the point at which no one can throw you... what a lot of BS! Anyone can cut his outward energy flow and hunker down and get immoveable. Once you collapse your energy field like that, you might as well be a rock. I had a guy at camp do that to me... he was quite pleased that I "couldn't" move him. But why would I? The moment I felt him ground out, I slid behind him and had both my hands on his face with my fingers on his eyes. When you ground out and make yourself immoveable like that you are simply making yourself a non-moving target. If you are tense you cannot protect your suki (openings). That has nothing to do with good martial arts..
Another great comment. Those who "hunker" down and become immoveable simply do not understand the martial implications of the situation and leave themselves open for additional educational opportunities to be applied at will.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
People with limited understanding think that the "hard stuff" is the martial stuff. It's really the soft stuff that has the "goods". If you understand the soft stuff, power comes easily and effortlessly.

I realize that no amount of talking about this will change Szepan's mind. There are plenty of folks he can train with who will fulfill his greatest desires to be smashed and torqued. It is clearly his nature to do things this way and he has found his teachers. But others should not fall into this trap of thinking that this stuff is the highest level of Aikido..
It may be the highest level of ju jitsu.


Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
If anyone gets a chance to train with Endo Sensei, Takeda Sensei, Saotome Sensei, Gleason Sensei or any of the other decendents of the Yamaguchi influence, please do so. It will open your eyes (if you are open to it, anyway) to what is possible.
I don't know if Kato Sensei's influence was Yamaguchi or not but I would also suggest the same of him as well.

Last edited by aikidoc : 09-26-2006 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 09-26-2006, 04:23 PM   #57
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

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Christian Moses wrote:
George, this part of your post got me thinking (and it's only Tuesday, I hate thinking before at least Thursday..). I think I understand what you're saying here, but I'll just have to disagree to some extent. I know the kind of interaction you're talking about, I had a nearly identical thing happen to me at the first AikiExpo, as chance would have it, I was playing with some stuff that I'd learned from Takeda Sensei at the time. The guy just stood there arm outstretched as I moved in around him and began to massage his eyelids, "That's not moving me, " he said... Um, yeah ok. At the time I really felt that it spoke poorly of his training (and I still do to a lesser extent), that he would allow me (a complete stranger) to get into a position that made him so vulnerable rather than following the path to safety that I had presented for him. While I still feel that's partially true, I also now see that I was also failed. I did not control the situation. He had the option of simply not following what I was doing. Bad on me. Do I expect aikido to only work on those with a strong sense of self preservation? I would describe this encounter as satsujinken, a dead lifeless encounter with all of the trappings of martial art, but none of the true budo. So how does this relate to your quote?

I agree that being immovable at the expense of all else is not martial, not interesting and kind of stupid. BUT, I don't feel that it's fair to say that the goal of being un-throwable/immovable is not a martial value. I think there are a lot of judoka out there that would certainly disagree. Mifune Sensei was known for being undefeated in randori and nearly impossible to throw, and yet he was able to accomplish this with a spirit of katsujinken, of a living and vibrant martial spirit. I think that as we develop deeper understanging about how our techniques work, we should simultaneously learn how to make those very techniques harder and harder to be applied on us. That isn't to say that we should strive to make ourselves unthrowable in aikido at all times, that would be silly, but those same subtle/internal skills and movements that can accomplish a kokyunage that seems to come from nowhere and take no time can (and should in the right context) be used as uke to block a technique. This is entirely possible to be done in a very dynamic and martial way. I would also point out that this ability, to be unmoved, has a deep tradition within aikido, whether it be the unbendable arm, the 'jo trick' or the quiet structure that forms an ikkyo pin...
Chris, I know where you are coming from on this... as you know, I am quite used to training with folks who are quite hard to move... But I think that we were largely wrong to train that way and it accounts for why it took so many of us so long to start "getting it".

Endo Sensei is quite strict about his ukemi requirements. He does want good strong attacks, solid commitment. But he does not want tension. I really think he is right in this. Half of ones training interactions are on the ukemi side of the roles. If you exhibit tension as uke and then try to do relaxed technique as nage you are constantly giving the body and the mind mixed signals.

Having been exposed to a substantial amount of Systema at this point, I can see the result of proper training in this regard. They do everything they can to get rid of tension. They are all quite strong from the conditioning they do but they do not do technique with any tension at all. Their senior students are VERY good, better than what you'd see in Aikido in an equivalent amount of time.

At this point I believe that the essential purpose of the physical training in Aikido is to remove tension, both mental and physical. This has to do with losing ones "fear". Aiki requires this relaxation. We are programming our minds and our bodies to react to conflict in an expansive rather than contractive manner. Hunkering down and being immoveable is inherently a contraction. It is a withdrawl of the outgoing energy which makes aiki possible.

One does not move a rock using "aiki", unless, as Mike Sigman would probabaly maintain, you include "internal power" as inherently part of "aiki". I don't but I understand why he might. In my own understanding, aiki is the way in which we use the opponent's sensory system (the five senses and the intuition, or sixth sense) to move his mind and thereby get him to move his body. It is this aspect of Aikido that I am interested in. Anyway, when the two opponents come together the defender establishes the Ittaika or "single body" in which it is impossible for the attacker to move separately from him. The attacker must maintain an evenly distributed awareness in order to deal with any strikes to his suki or to feel any attempts to unbalance him. this outflow of consciousness is what makes it possible to move someone "effortlessly" in the aiki arts.

Now, with most reistant people, their very resistance gives you the energy to move them. I can get get a 300 pound guy moving with light hand pressure, especially if I tell him not to let me move him. But a more knowledgeable guy won't resist, he'll cut off his energy. He'll ground it out and attempt not to respond at all to what he feels you doing. This makes any sort of "leading his ki" impossible. At that point if you want to move him, you need to supply the energy. At some point I will probabaly make a study of how to generate that kind of power. My exchanges with Mike Sigman have given me some insight into what that might entail but it isn't the focus of my practice right now.

So in the instance of my experience at Summer Camp, I suppose I could have stood there looking at the fellow and resting my arms on his structure. He had cut off the attack so there was no reason to move at all, really. Harmony and balance had been restored when he stopped his attack. It made no real sense for me to attack him and I wasn't at all open for any move on his part... I only did so to show him that his collapse of energetic outflow made him completely open. Had he re-initiated the attack I would have had what I needed to get him to move.

The example of Judo is a bit off the mark, although I don't totally disagree with your point. Mifune was unthrowable while he kept his energetic outflow, his awareness at all times. He had to because he was still feeling for the opening to throw the other guy. It's a bit different than the guy who is acting as dumb as a rock. People at this point have a very hard time throwing me... My attacks are more relaxed than ever but I am very large and now that I have relaxed more, it makes it very hard for people to move me at all. That's why they need to use "aiki". They get me to move myself. Saotome Sensei weighs less than half what I weigh and he has no problem at all moving me around.

Now Mike Sigman gave me a shot that knocked me about 3 or 4 feet and took most of the air out of my lungs. He did it with no wind up and did it with a pulse strike to my shoulder! So I am not saying that one can't move me with power; it just takes a lot and you have to be very good to do it that way.

Don Angier Sensei, Endo Sensei, Saotome Sensei, and Toby Threadgill all have moved me relatively effortlessly but they were all using my own outflow of energy to do it. I doubt if any of them could move me if I just collapsed my energy field and grounded out, at least not without some technique designed to elicit a response like an atemi, a painful, pinch, a shock to the structure, something along those lines. It just seems like an awful lot of effort to get something moving that doesn't want to be. If there is no attack, why worry about the throw?

Anyway, I regularly get to do my stuff with folks who know virtually no ukemi so I get my reality checks.(That's important for ones practice but not all the time) I did a class for some club security guys and the average weight in the class was about 275 lbs. I could move them just fine and taking them down was no problem... but I sure as hell didn't want to go to the ground with any of them. What a bunch of beastie boys. They were easy to move because they "tried to be immoveable" if you know what I mean. That's a bit different than what I was talking about.

Anyway, I figure I can conventrate on one aspect at a time in my training. I may get to the point at which my focus becomes developing internal power but right now my interest is in developing my abilty to neutralize the attacker's power. I remember someone saying (Okamoto Sensei, perhaps?) "If you understand what was done to you, it wasn't aiki". I want to understand that. I am just arriving at the start of being able to do it. I just don't need to worry about hauling a bunch of human boulders around at this stage in my training.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 09-26-2006 at 04:26 PM.

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Old 09-26-2006, 05:37 PM   #58
Mike Sigman
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
People think that power represents the expression of the martial side of Aikido. Having trained with some folks who come from older classical aiki backgrounds, I can tell you that the truth is exactly the opposite. They will set you up and dump you and you won't even feel it coming.
I totally agree with this statement. The most telling old saying is the one that would caution: "Aikido without great internal power is not right; Great internal power without real Aikido skills is not right, either".

Insofar as being "unmoveable", I think that's a good demonstration, when done correctly (there are a lot of people that like to do it in ways that aren't really good), but I think it should only be a demonstration of the "root" from which you are able to base your power. If it is indeed the root from which you always base your power, even when moving, then I am impressed. A casual "look at how I hunker down against your push" doesn't impress me at all. Someone who tries to root immoveably during a technique is a dunce, IMO. Besides, it totally goes against the principle of no resistance.

My 2 cents.

Mike Sigman
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Old 09-26-2006, 05:57 PM   #59
senshincenter
 
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

I would like to say that I'm very skeptical of either/or points of view -- though I'm not saying that both/and points of view are the solution to every crisis. Let me say this then: I feel a blanket blessing is just as likely to be in the wrong as a blanket damning is likely to be in the wrong.

There are many "slogans" going around now in the thread, things that any aikidoka would be hard-pressed to disagree with -- no matter what "side" they might fall on here. For me, that is always a sign that we have stopped questioning ourselves and started just accepting our own assumptions. I mean, who would ever say, "Aikido is about smashing people or torquing their joints," or who would disagree with the position that higher levels of Aikido would entail more effortless movement, etc.????

I have made some comments akin to Mr. S's in this thread, though I have joined Charles in his keen observation regarding the (apparently) opposite side as well. Let's go back a bit… Chiba told another aikidoka (Peter) to pay attention to someone that today, for some, is on the other side of some fence. I think that right there tells you something -- that, at the least, Chiba saw things differently that folks of our generation might (i.e. folks that see Chiba as torquing the crap out of joints and/or that see Yamaguchi as soft). I do not think Chiba was thinking then or now in terms of either/or. (Note: It was asked if he was influenced by Yamaguchi. In my opinion, that would be a definite yes -- especially if you look at the young Yamaguchi, like in that clip they have of him at Hombu over at AJ.com. You got similar stances, similar angles of attack, and even similar postures concerning the torso and hip relationship.)

Now, I can concede, somewhere down the line, the training environments -- i.e. the assumptions of each training environment -- started to focus on one thing over another. BUT, at one time, folks saw what was common. I think that is what we should be trying to do as well. It is my position that slogans are one sure way to make sure no one sees what is common -- becoming blind to how folks we are now talking about saw things differently from us. What we should be doing, in my opinion, is peeling away those damn assumptions that have come to define our training environments one-way vs. another. It is the "vs." that is the problem.

Now, I am not talking about having three days of flowing practice and four days of wrist torquing practice per week. I am suggesting that folks try to hold things to a sense of the universal -- well this is what I try. A good place to start is with the slogans themselves -- since they always try to be universals. For example, "It's about placing the attacker in an off balance position in which you can strike him and he cannot respond." Who would ever disagree with this? Not me! So, I accept it and seek to bring it into my training, but now I must go on to see if I am doing it or if it is something that is happening but that has nothing to do with me -- has only to do with the assumptions of my training environment. As I said, in that video clip, and in a lot of places all over where Mr. S would not feel so at home, you do not have "placing the attacker in an off balance position…" Instead, you have some sort of subconsciously controlled "uke" putting himself where he can be taken off balance, struck, or thrown. This is not quite the same thing -- in fact, it is very different. After this, if one is not careful, you simply have this slogan, which is perfectly valid, covering up something that is invalid (e.g. running around nage for no reason). The result is an end to questioning things, which in the end leads to a misunderstanding of everything.

Of course, the same thing can be done (and should be done) with the observations rightly pointed out by Charles.

My opinion,
dmv
p.s. okay - that's it for me - been very bad - sorry - I'll be unable to reply - busy with studies (too busy).

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Old 09-26-2006, 06:26 PM   #60
Mike Sigman
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
One does not move a rock using "aiki", unless, as Mike Sigman would probabaly maintain, you include "internal power" as inherently part of "aiki". I don't but I understand why he might. In my own understanding, aiki is the way in which we use the opponent's sensory system (the five senses and the intuition, or sixth sense) to move his mind and thereby get him to move his body. It is this aspect of Aikido that I am interested in. Anyway, when the two opponents come together the defender establishes the Ittaika or "single body" in which it is impossible for the attacker to move separately from him.
Ooooooo.... It's a good point and in some ways, I've set myself up for this, so I'll make amends. Let me see if I can make my point of view a little clearer, George. And bear in mind I'm just talking out loud to give a viewpoint; not trying to be offensive in the least. (Nor do I take any offense; it's just a good discussion topic)

I tried to explain how I arrive at "jin" more than anything else during our very limited meeting in Glenwood, but I actually showed 2 faces of it. One of it can be called "power" and how I derived it, in that step-by-step logic I tried to go through. But there a lot to using "internal power" that is more than strength. Part of it is to "listen" to an opponent's power, part of it is to try to make the whole body connected like a web so that a movement in any direction by the center is immediately available by connection to any part of the extremities.

So a couple of times when you unconsciously "set" against me and attempted to stop a movement I was making by adjusting your hips I simply immediately went with you (very lightly) in the direction of your hips (usually it was to your left front). And you were immediately off-balanced as a result. THAT was "internal power" in action. There was no real discernible use of power in the strength sense, but I had your balance. I can do far better and more subtley I think, but we'll have to wait until next time.

The point is that "internal power" can be both a "strength" and a very subtle way of controlling an opponent. An example would be that when you and I engage physically, I sense the direction of your power and without moving I add one of those force directions directly to your direction of power so that there results a new direction that just happens to lead to a point where you have no power. You'll feel that your power is simply being drained and I will only have to maintain a constantly shifting response force that negates your shifts. Or I could add it in such a way that you and I together (this is the hypothetical "you"; no slights intended) contribute power that results in a direction leading toward a "hole" in your balance.

The point I'm trying to make is that it is this ability to generate forces in various directions and have them available at my extremeties that I think of when I say "internal power". Yes, sometimes it can be used as an admirable demonstration of real power/strength/force, but its value is in the subtle usages. So my response is more that I'm not using the opponents "senses", I'm using his force-direction-intention (his "ki" if you want to use the old terminology). That's the part I find so interesting.

Insofar as viewing people like Endo Sensei, regardless of his uke's cooperation, etc, Endo is good. I was impressed.

Best Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 09-26-2006, 06:32 PM   #61
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Just some comments, and by the way, as I'm sure you know, I'm just interested in the dialectic here. Like you I'm figuring this stuff out as I go, based on what I'm exposed to, and I'm not presuming to tell you how you should be training or (even worse) what aiki is/should be.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
One does not move a rock using "aiki", unless, as Mike Sigman would probabaly maintain, you include "internal power" as inherently part of "aiki". I don't but I understand why he might.
and

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
This makes any sort of "leading his ki" impossible. At that point if you want to move him, you need to supply the energy. At some point I will probabaly make a study of how to generate that kind of power. My exchanges with Mike Sigman have given me some insight into what that might entail but it isn't the focus of my practice right now.
That pretty much describes what I've been working on of late. The same mechanics that work on a heavy bag or 100lb barbell work on a resistant uke, mix in some psychological effects and weaknesses of the bipedal frame and it just gets easier. Anyway, if it's not what you're working on, then certainly factor that into my comments as it may not apply to your own focus of study these days. That's also why I made the distinction between leading and directing, and satsujinken vs. katsujinken.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
The example of Judo is a bit off the mark, although I don't totally disagree with your point. Mifune was unthrowable while he kept his energetic outflow, his awareness at all times. He had to because he was still feeling for the opening to throw the other guy. It's a bit different than the guy who is acting as dumb as a rock.
I wasn't clear enough on this, so this is great point. What I'm talking about is the ability to spontaneously and instantly become immovable just long enough to distrupt an attack. This ability can literally floor someone all by itself. You see this in some of the footage of Mifune when MUCH bigger well trained guys are setting up for a perfect throw and he just bounces them off of him. They not only blow the throw, but lose their grip on him and their footing just from hitting such an unexpectedly grounded opponent, who moments before was literally dancing about. You could think of this as the opposite to one of those perfect irimi kokyunage that you use in randori. nothing...nothing..nothing..(perfect moment) BANG (your entire body transmits the force into uke's weakness)... (then back to) nothing... nothing.. nothing... That clearer?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Don Angier Sensei, Endo Sensei, Saotome Sensei, and Toby Threadgill all have moved me relatively effortlessly but they were all using my own outflow of energy to do it. I doubt if any of them could move me if I just collapsed my energy field and grounded out, at least not without some technique designed to elicit a response like an atemi, a painful, pinch, a shock to the structure, something along those lines. It just seems like an awful lot of effort to get something moving that doesn't want to be. If there is no attack, why worry about the throw?
So how would you describe the settling exercise that Toby did on you at his last seminar in Seattle, where he invited you up with the only instruction being to resist him, then placed his hand on your chest and slowly, slowly you sank back and fell over? Then he did it again after you knew what was coming. (Doncha hate that!) I know what the technique flet like when he did it on me, and know that I was not cooperating with the practice. I was trying to stay upright just as you did, just as Kevin did... (darn him, doesn't he know that it's all us aiki-folk that are supposed to be subtle!)


Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Anyway, I figure I can conventrate on one aspect at a time in my training. I may get to the point at which my focus becomes developing internal power but right now my interest is in developing my abilty to neutralize the attacker's power. I remember someone saying (Okamoto Sensei, perhaps?) "If you understand what was done to you, it wasn't aiki". I want to understand that. I am just arriving at the start of being able to do it. I just don't need to worry about hauling a bunch of human boulders around at this stage in my training.
Absolutely. We all come with different skills and interests. I've been training to be soft ever since I started at budo, so for the last few years I've been trying to be harder, so that's what I'm looking at. I imagine you went through your hard phase decades ago. Thanks for the discourse.
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Old 09-26-2006, 07:15 PM   #62
Mike Sigman
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
So how would you describe the settling exercise that Toby did on you at his last seminar in Seattle, where he invited you up with the only instruction being to resist him, then placed his hand on your chest and slowly, slowly you sank back and fell over? Then he did it again after you knew what was coming. (Doncha hate that!) I know what the technique flet like when he did it on me, and know that I was not cooperating with the practice. I was trying to stay upright just as you did, just as Kevin did... (darn him, doesn't he know that it's all us aiki-folk that are supposed to be subtle!)
What's bothersome to me is that this is just another example of the forces George, Rich Moore, and I discussed in Glenwood and it's as easy to negate as it is to apply to someone who doesn't know the trick.... but are you saying that Toby *demonstrated* this but he didn't show you how to do it? I'm curious about this.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 09-27-2006, 01:34 AM   #63
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

I very much liked George's post #48, especially this

Quote:
As someone who clearly prefers the "force of nature" style of Aikido I can see why you wouldn't like this. I am sorry but you are wrong about this. The surprise is definitely there when you deal with someone like Endo. It's not in the timing changes or some violent assault on the partner's structure, which is what you are used to. Endo, Yamaguchi, Takeda, Saotome Senseis all focused on "absorbing" the power of the attacker. You grab them and you feel nothing. Your balance breaks and you are not sure why, you can't figure out where your power went.
It sums up practicing with Endo sensei and Nakao sensei very well (I've not had the pleasure of practicing with the others). They work tirelessly on Aiki, working in unison with your attack, totally synchronizing your movement with theirs so that you can do nothing but go where they guide you. There is no resistance, nothing for you to get hold of, no obstruction, nothing to clash or fight with, just a void for you to fall into.

It's a great feeling, like George, I recommend you try it for yourself.

Bryan

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Old 09-27-2006, 02:56 AM   #64
Charles Hill
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Hi,

I agree with Mr. Ledyard that Endo Shihan wants (probably) a certain style of ukemi, but he generally does not, in my experience, verbally explain it. Instead, he conveys it by resisting your attack in the same way as Mr. Ledyard's description of Mifune. If you grab him and he is stronger than you, he might just not move. If you then stop your movement, you will probably get his fingers tapping you on your face. This encourages people to get soft and heavy and to not stop moving.

I haven't seen the video but this might be why his uke moves around him. Also there are different degrees of heaviness and the point in the video that some are finding fault with may just be a less experienced uke and Shihan is not going to necessarily move just to "enact" a fight scenario. Waysun Liao once told me that sometimes people see two old men playing taichi push hands lightly not realizing that the two are passing thousands of pounds of chi back and forth. I think that this is probably where Endo Shihan and his top student, Shimizu Sensei will end up.

Charles Hill
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Old 09-27-2006, 05:43 AM   #65
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

In reference to Charles Hill's last post:

I have rarely trained with Endo Shihan, but I have trained often with Yamaguchi Sensei and ever since he died, I have been struggling to incorporate insights, whatever, gained from this training into my own aikido 'life'.

All of the three shihans recommended to me by Chiba Sensei have a distinctive way of presenting the insights they gained from their own training with O Sensei. And I think these are individual insights: they are not the whole content of what O Sensei showed (for he never 'taught'), which we neeed to remember and ponder about, when we talk about training, demonstrations, and teaching methods etc.

So, Yamaguchi never trained quite like Arikawa and Arikawa never trained quite like Tada, who never trained quite like Yamaguchi, and so on. Similarly with Shioda, whom I never met, with Shirata, with whom I trained only once, and with Saito, with whom I trained several times, but only at seminars and gasshuku. These trainings were intensive 'hypershots', that perhaps yielded different insights from the experience of daily training in the 'home' dojo.

Yamaguchi Sensei never told anybody how he wanted them to take ukemi. If you took ukemi in the way he liked, he would ask you again and again. If you didn't, he wouldn't. Once in the Hombu, I, from the boondocks of Hiroshima and a gaijin to boot, was so pleased to take ukemi from Yamaguchi Sensei, who called me up rather than the Hombu regulars.

But in Hiroshima, Yamaguchi Sensei was freer to do what he wanted and there were prolonged periods of a certain kind of randori, where he would call you up and have you 'attack' him repeatedly, over a period of five-ten minutes or so. The privately-circulated Meiji University tape offers something of what he used to do and perhaps Saotome Sensei (I have never trained with him) and certainly William Gleason (ditto, but have tapes from seminars he gave in Brazil) give some flavor of this kind of training. But, actually, I have never seen this on tapes which are publicly available.

Now, and this is where Stephane's (Szczepan)'s observations come in, the parameters, the 'frames' of the encounters were different with Yamaguchi and Chiba and also with the shinans I have mentioned, also including Hiroshi Isoyama. I think one of the fundamental features of Yamaguchi Sensei's aikido (and Endo Sensei's to the extent that I have seen him) is that he breaks down the accepted frames of the uke-tori relationship. Of course, with Yamaguchi, you are always uke: these ground rules do not change, but, as uke, the parameters within which you discharge your role change.

With virtually everybody except Yamaguchi Sensei, the traditional perimeters of each waza are resepcted. As uke, you attack (and Stephane's remarks are highly relevlant here) and deploy all the resources of which you are capable as uke (including dishonesty and deceit, but also knowing full well that it might cost you dearly). With Yamaguchi Sensei you do not usually have this option and I think this is why there are Believers, Atheists and bewildered Agnostics.

Actually, in Hiroshima University I have occasionally attempted to practise Yamaguchi Sensei's type of training and my student uke litterally 'ran way'. Actually, I chased him round the mat, but he wanted the 'space' to get up and prepare himself to 'attack' again. Yamaguchi Sensei gave you this option only occasionally. I have never seen this type of training with any other shihan except Isoyama at the All-Japan Demonstration, but he always repeated the same waza (usually kote-gaeshi). There was none of the seamless flow from one waza to another that Yamaguchi Sensei was famous for. Now in the UK, Chiba Sensei often did a similar type of training with his yudansha: the type of training that in Japanese universities is called 'kakari-geiko', but this was quite different from what Yamaguchi Sensei was doing.

Of course, you have to attack 'hard', but if you didn't know where the waza ended and the 'attack' began, this became more difficult.

How is all this relevant to Endo Sensei? Well, there are Yamaguchi 'believers' scattered all over Japan and, outside the Hombu, Takeda (in Kamakura), Nakao (in Kobe) are two clear exponents. My own teacher in Hiroshima is a Yamaguchi 'believer', but he also 'believes' in Arikawa and Tada. So the result is somewhat different.

Another corollary are the issues raised by Mike Sigman and Robert John & Gernot Hassenpflug, both of whom regularly train with Akuzawa Sensei.

Best wishes to all,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 09-27-2006, 07:52 AM   #66
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
In reference to Charles Hill's last post:

I have rarely trained with Endo Shihan, but I have trained often with Yamaguchi Sensei and ever since he died, I have been struggling to incorporate insights, whatever, gained from this training into my own aikido 'life'.

All of the three shihans recommended to me by Chiba Sensei have a distinctive way of presenting the insights they gained from their own training with O Sensei. And I think these are individual insights: they are not the whole content of what O Sensei showed (for he never 'taught'), which we neeed to remember and ponder about, when we talk about training, demonstrations, and teaching methods etc.

So, Yamaguchi never trained quite like Arikawa and Arikawa never trained quite like Tada, who never trained quite like Yamaguchi, and so on. Similarly with Shioda, whom I never met, with Shirata, with whom I trained only once, and with Saito, with whom I trained several times, but only at seminars and gasshuku. These trainings were intensive 'hypershots', that perhaps yielded different insights from the experience of daily training in the 'home' dojo.

Yamaguchi Sensei never told anybody how he wanted them to take ukemi. If you took ukemi in the way he liked, he would ask you again and again. If you didn't, he wouldn't. Once in the Hombu, I, from the boondocks of Hiroshima and a gaijin to boot, was so pleased to take ukemi from Yamaguchi Sensei, who called me up rather than the Hombu regulars.

But in Hiroshima, Yamaguchi Sensei was freer to do what he wanted and there were prolonged periods of a certain kind of randori, where he would call you up and have you 'attack' him repeatedly, over a period of five-ten minutes or so. The privately-circulated Meiji University tape offers something of what he used to do and perhaps Saotome Sensei (I have never trained with him) and certainly William Gleason (ditto, but have tapes from seminars he gave in Brazil) give some flavor of this kind of training. But, actually, I have never seen this on tapes which are publicly available.

Now, and this is where Stephane's (Szczepan)'s observations come in, the parameters, the 'frames' of the encounters were different with Yamaguchi and Chiba and also with the shinans I have mentioned, also including Hiroshi Isoyama. I think one of the fundamental features of Yamaguchi Sensei's aikido (and Endo Sensei's to the extent that I have seen him) is that he breaks down the accepted frames of the uke-tori relationship. Of course, with Yamaguchi, you are always uke: these ground rules do not change, but, as uke, the parameters within which you discharge your role change.

With virtually everybody except Yamaguchi Sensei, the traditional perimeters of each waza are resepcted. As uke, you attack (and Stephane's remarks are highly relevlant here) and deploy all the resources of which you are capable as uke (including dishonesty and deceit, but also knowing full well that it might cost you dearly). With Yamaguchi Sensei you do not usually have this option and I think this is why there are Believers, Atheists and bewildered Agnostics.

Actually, in Hiroshima University I have occasionally attempted to practise Yamaguchi Sensei's type of training and my student uke litterally 'ran way'. Actually, I chased him round the mat, but he wanted the 'space' to get up and prepare himself to 'attack' again. Yamaguchi Sensei gave you this option only occasionally. I have never seen this type of training with any other shihan except Isoyama at the All-Japan Demonstration, but he always repeated the same waza (usually kote-gaeshi). There was none of the seamless flow from one waza to another that Yamaguchi Sensei was famous for. Now in the UK, Chiba Sensei often did a similar type of training with his yudansha: the type of training that in Japanese universities is called 'kakari-geiko', but this was quite different from what Yamaguchi Sensei was doing.

Of course, you have to attack 'hard', but if you didn't know where the waza ended and the 'attack' began, this became more difficult.

How is all this relevant to Endo Sensei? Well, there are Yamaguchi 'believers' scattered all over Japan and, outside the Hombu, Takeda (in Kamakura), Nakao (in Kobe) are two clear exponents. My own teacher in Hiroshima is a Yamaguchi 'believer', but he also 'believes' in Arikawa and Tada. So the result is somewhat different.

Another corollary are the issues raised by Mike Sigman and Robert John & Gernot Hassenpflug, both of whom regularly train with Akuzawa Sensei.

Best wishes to all,
Of course, I am a Saotome Sensei "believer", he is my own teacher. But that does not mean I am not a "Chiba Sensei" believer; that would be a bit like saying one doesn't believe in hurricanes or tornados.

O-Sensei didn't teach waza, he taught principle. Every one of his students discovered his own way of manifesting this principle. I have found that the folks who like the "hard guys" tend to denegrate the "soft guys". The folks who like the "soft guys" think the hard guys missing the "message".

For me, I have always wanted the "magic" and I don't mean that from a new age standpoint. I have always sought that technique that you barely felt but that put you on the floor, that understandin of the connection that allows you to hold someone down with light hand pressure.

Even when I was in my youth and weighed a lot less than I do now, I was always about 100 lbs or more heavier than Sensei. He could droip me with a flick of the wrist. I would grab him as hard as I could and he could tip me over and I wouldn't feel it.

It is inevitable that one ends up expressing Aikido according to his nature. That's why there is so much variety. It's all great, as far as I am concerned, as long as we stay away from abuse of the ukes, which I fid unaccetable.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 09-27-2006, 08:23 AM   #67
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Hello George,

As far as I am concerned, you are preaching to the converted.

But with Yamaguchi Sensei, there were issues, such that there were 'believers' and 'non-believers'.

My contributions to this thread were designed to make this clear: nothing more, nothing less.

And I also believe that O Sensei taught waza.

Apologies for the intrusion and best wishes,

PAG

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Old 09-27-2006, 08:51 AM   #68
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

This has been mentioned by others but I want to add my voice as well... this is one of the better threads I have read in quite awhile on any of the boards where I lurk.

As George said above, I have also experienced very powerful waza from a very small man when I was nineteen years old. I couldn't understand where the "powerful force" came from because I felt very little sense of force from his touch. It felt like some giant hidden from me was forcing me to do things I couldn't understand. As I experienced more, I figured out that the giant was me. I have been chasing that feeling ever since and trying to pass it on to students. It ain't magic, but it sure is "magical" at times.

The principles involved are evident in some advanced people in many arts. I have felt it from a few judoka, aikidoka, tai ji and hsing i senior folks, also, for example, Tsuneo Nishioka Sensei (of Shinto Muso Ryu) with a stick or sword has given me similar feelings of great force from very light touch with very little to no information about where it's coming from.

I agree with George that the variety is great and the training relationship is very important in keeping the long term practice viable.

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Old 09-27-2006, 09:09 AM   #69
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
What's bothersome to me is that this is just another example of the forces George, Rich Moore, and I discussed in Glenwood and it's as easy to negate as it is to apply to someone who doesn't know the trick.... but are you saying that Toby *demonstrated* this but he didn't show you how to do it? I'm curious about this.

Regards,

Mike
No he made it quite clear what he was doing and how to reproduce it. He also offered several versions of nearly the same thing using different 'strategies'. I already knew a similar exercise (and I consider it an exercise, something that teaches you about how waza works rather than something that you could apply directly say in randori) so I found it relatively easy to reproduce. I brought it up as an example of what George was saying he had never experienced (ie moving him only when he was providing an outflow of energy).

Also, going back to the discussion of Yamaguchi's influence, my own experience with his legacy is Takeda Sensei. And I should point out that it would be a mistake to think that he cannot pull movement out of you. I don't know how similar this is to the scenario Peter just described, but Takeda would often play with you if he was enjoying your ukemi, keeping just the slightest connection with you after every throw. He has an ability to position himself such that you feel you have only one possible path if you want to stand again, often this 'choice' doesn't even present itself immediately since he's blocking where you most naturally would like to rise. Then as you attempt to rise, he seems to help pick you up, only to position you for watever's next. When you see him do this with students who he knows well, it's frequently a very quick almost continuous series of throws, but since we weren't terribly used to each other, things were slower. I was looking for how to get back in on him and begin another attack, and he was studying how I moved. On the rare occasion I caught him off-guard, I would hear a little "a-ha" noise from him, but would be thrown just as easily as if I'd followed the line he was expecting. This is a different feeling encounter than the 'smothering' sensation that I have had from Shingu practitioners, where they follow you after each throw so that you are never fully able to rise before being thrown again. The only way I could describe the difference would be that the Shingu method feels like doing techniques to a compromised uke to control the encounter, where Takeda Sensei felt like he was working directly with reflex arcs and psychological phenomenon.
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Old 09-27-2006, 10:32 AM   #70
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
No he made it quite clear what he was doing and how to reproduce it. He also offered several versions of nearly the same thing using different 'strategies'. I already knew a similar exercise (and I consider it an exercise, something that teaches you about how waza works rather than something that you could apply directly say in randori) so I found it relatively easy to reproduce. I brought it up as an example of what George was saying he had never experienced (ie moving him only when he was providing an outflow of energy).
Toby absolutely was able to teach what he was doing. I have been playing with it and can reproduce it. I have been redoing much of my technique to incorporate that same set of principles.

Just as an aside... what I meant by "outflow of energy" was conscious attention. That's enough to draw out the movement. If one really tenses up and hunkers down, ones attention is largely inwardly focused and I don't think this type of aiki would serve to get the body moving. More drastic measures would have to be taken. I could be wrong.

What I felt fromToby was that he had me moving before I could process what was happening and organize my structure. If I had already been locked up in my structure I think it wouldn't have worked the same way. At least that's the way I understand what the principles are. I'll ask him the next time I see him.

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Old 09-27-2006, 10:57 AM   #71
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
No he made it quite clear what he was doing and how to reproduce it. He also offered several versions of nearly the same thing using different 'strategies'. I already knew a similar exercise (and I consider it an exercise, something that teaches you about how waza works rather than something that you could apply directly say in randori) so I found it relatively easy to reproduce. I brought it up as an example of what George was saying he had never experienced (ie moving him only when he was providing an outflow of energy).
Thanks, Chris. I think we're at the stage where we simply need to meet and demonstrate what we're talking about, someday. It's helpful that I've met George and I have a fuller understanding of what his terms are about certain things and I would suggest that a number of the Aikido contributors (or even some of the non-Aikido contributors like Rob John, Dan Harden, and others) should get together sometime and have a discussion/show-and-tell. Often the words, phrases, and written assurances of the written word are simply unclear until physically demonstrated. Also, I think there is something to be said for encouraging people by having them "walk the walk".... often knowing that there will be a real demand on people has the incentive of making them do the work, finally. Not to mention, there is an added incentive to examine oneself and ask questions like, "Do I really 'move from my center' or is there a lot of shoulder involved?" or "I think I can do this but I'm not clear on exactly how I do it... let's take a moment and think it through". Show and tells can be terrific motivators.

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Mike
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Old 09-27-2006, 11:02 AM   #72
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Toby absolutely was able to teach what he was doing. I have been playing with it and can reproduce it.
Good. Next time you'll have to do me the favor of showing me.
Quote:
Just as an aside... what I meant by "outflow of energy" was conscious attention. That's enough to draw out the movement. If one really tenses up and hunkers down, ones attention is largely inwardly focused and I don't think this type of aiki would serve to get the body moving. More drastic measures would have to be taken. I could be wrong.
Frankly, I've watched and seen people "hunker down" and if I want to move them it's never hard at all. Someone that is truly "immoveable" (I've met 2 people that could do it in a scarey way; I've met some other truly world-class experts that I could move easily) uses an active mode, not a passive mode. It's just that they're so good at it that you can discern nothing under the touch but an immoveability. Still, those things are at best just demonstrations of the "root" they're able to base their techniques and power-releases upon, IMO.

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Mike
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Old 09-27-2006, 10:49 PM   #73
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
George Ledyard wrote:
This whole focus on getting to the point at which no one can throw you... what a lot of BS! Anyone can cut his outward energy flow and hunker down and get immoveable. Once you collapse your energy field like that, you might as well be a rock.
Although it may be a belated and redundant addition to the discussion, I wanted to address this. I work with horses, and if it wants to, a horse *can* do what you're describing. It can tighten everything up into a tight knot and brace so that you cannot move it with a *simple* push. In reality, since it cannot *really* become a rock (just too hard, if you think about it) you can usually get it's center 'rolling' around, load the appropriate foot, and then apply force *across* the path to induce a balance step.

Why bring this up? Because a horse that *could* really 'hunker down' and freeze like you posit *would* be almost impossible to move - because horses have four legs, so they have no consistent holes in their balance. (The front and back ends act like loosely coupled two-legged beings, so you can use the imaginary holes to sort of 'juggle' their weight back and forth, but that's more complex. Bear in mind that a resistant horse is likely to become active in a way you *don't* want if you're not careful.) The point is that people, by the nature of their geometry, don't have inherent static postural stability. A person who really acomplished your 'rock' would not be hard to move at all - any more than a baseless human statue would be difficult to tip over if you pushed in the right direction(s). To a greater or lesser extent, the untrained reaction is always either to become rock-like or to become jello-like, and neither of these is particularly immoveable. The trick is to find the dynamic sweet spot between those two (unskilled) extremes.

It's certainly true that passive-aggressive tension is a problem, and if you just mean stupidly locking up to deny the chosen technique *when no alternative is socially permissible*, I agree wholeheartedly. But if you really meant frozen 'like a rock' - I'm not so sure that adds up to 'immoveable'. Anyone who freezes up to the extent that you can freely apply force to them is necessarily susceptible to being dumped (or *at least* 'moved'). Real immoveable is more interesting, probably worth pursuing (with just enough discretion to avoid disrupting the social order *too* badly) and probably not 'a lot of BS'. Just my opinion.

-ck
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Old 09-28-2006, 07:41 PM   #74
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
One thing I have to say...this is one of the best discussions I have had on ANY site. And we wouldn't have had it (most likely) without Sczepan's post.

Thanks Mr. S!

My very best,
Ron
You are welcome. I'm on vacation now in deep wild, so can't even read, no internet . Have to wait until next week, sorry....

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Old 09-28-2006, 08:53 PM   #75
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Re: Video of Seichiro Endo Shihan

Quote:
The point is that people, by the nature of their geometry, don't have inherent static postural stability. A person who really accomplished your 'rock' would not be hard to move at all - any more than a baseless human statue would be difficult to tip over if you pushed in the right direction(s)
I don't this is the kind of "rock" Ledyard Sensei is talking about. Sure, if you just tighten up your body structure by "locking" up the skeletal system with muscular tension, then you become a tottering-easily unbalanced-statue. This is what an untrained person would do, but then again, I don't think anybody is talking about unbalancing or moving untrained individuals here. If your weight is sunk down in a more relaxed and dynamic way, meaning being responsive to pushes/pulls/application of energy, and running that into your feet, then you become very immovable. But, like Ledyard said, this requires a complete pulling inward of your own energy, nothing flowing outward, only toward the ground, and no response to your partner's energy except toward you own structure.

Just to be fair, and be open about my bias:
Oh yeah, I absolutely loved the Endo Shihan video. That is what I am aiming for, so put me on that side of the fence...I trained the "other way" for years; left it when I experienced Saotome Sensei and his students.

Last edited by Michael Young : 09-28-2006 at 08:57 PM.
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