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Old 09-27-2006, 10:27 AM   #26
David Orange
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
As to "what is" 合气道",I'd say, it's manipulating the feeling of pressure (i.e. ki) in your body, so that it pervades every joint. Then, on contact with your opponent, you "harmonize" by keeping your pressure, which means that as you make a structure to structure connection (say a wrist grab) your structure displaces that of your opponents, assuming you have a stronger structure than they do, or you find the weakest link in their structure and break them down in that direction.
But since aiki comes from kenjutsu originally, how does that work sword-against-sword? And how does it explain aikinage?

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
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Old 09-27-2006, 12:43 PM   #27
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

David: I don't know, I don't do any work with shinken. All my weapons work is single stick or knife, and I think that a two handed weapon might work differently. With single stick vs. single stick, if I move with "pressure" on the block/strike I've had my practice partners say, they feel it reverberate through their hand. I'm still figuring it out.

Ignatius: Okay. Join/combine/in accord with, you're right that's a better definition.

For Gernot: So the meaning of 合 in Japanese is also the same? If so then why the heck have people been translating Aikido as the "Way of Harmony??"

Last edited by Tim Fong : 09-27-2006 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 09-27-2006, 01:49 PM   #28
David Orange
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
David: I don't know, I don't do any work with shinken. All my weapons work is single stick or knife, and I think that a two handed weapon might work differently.
Well, I mean the basic idea of aiki, at a distance, especially as in kenjutsu, where kuzushi is induced through movement with little or no contact, which is also what I was referring to with aikinage, or timing throws.

[qote=Tim Fong]For Gernot: So the meaning of 合 in Japanese is also the same? If so then why the heck have people been translating Aikido as the "Way of Harmony??"[/quote]

The "harmony" aspect of the kanji for "ai" is seen on a number of levels. First is the three-part "triangle" at the top, which has to be balanced in form, and that sits atop the four-part "square" which has to be balanced in form. And the two parts have to balance one another. And this is a harmony of the parts. What is "harmony," after all, but balance of complementary parts?

The idea of "blending" is there, but "harmony" is not a bad correlate for "blending" and the "balance" it implies. For instance, "gouri" (balance principle) means "rationality," carrying some of the Greek connotations of "ratio" and "harmony" in balance. It means to think things through rationally. Its opposite is "muri" or "no reason," which implies senseless, irrational, unreasonable.

Best wishes,

David

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Old 09-27-2006, 03:10 PM   #29
David Orange
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Tim Fong wrote:
As to "what is" 合气道",I'd say, it's manipulating the feeling of pressure (i.e. ki) in your body, so that it pervades every joint. Then, on contact with your opponent, you "harmonize" by keeping your pressure, which means that as you make a structure to structure connection (say a wrist grab) your structure displaces that of your opponents, assuming you have a stronger structure than they do, or you find the weakest link in their structure and break them down in that direction.

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
But since aiki comes from kenjutsu originally, how does that work sword-against-sword?
Really, the more appropriate question would be:

How does that relate to when you are unarmed and the attacker has a sword? Then the prime thing is to avoid the attack. How does the internal pressure idea facilitate avoidance of the sword strike?

David

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Old 09-27-2006, 03:49 PM   #30
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

I think Tim is correct, but ultimately application will depend on how the person trains.

Here's my take it:

The manipulation of internall pressures/tensions allow Kuzushi on contact and is VERY effective when using sword. I found that out the quick way by testing some stuff out with my friend whose done Iai/Kendo for 7+ years now.

Sword vs. No sword means you have to move with "setsuna." That requires you having the "connected" body, and being able to manipulate the pressures in the body in one "feel". This allows extra leeway for timing since you apply kuzushi to the person simply by touching him.
(To the other guy it just looks like you raised your arm straight up, but somehow his blade is still deflected, and he's way off balance)
To answer David's question, use of the internal pressures allow you to make slight minute adjustments in your own body simply, almost indicernable to the outside viewer, but with the result being that you still take the guys center on contact and hence his sword as well. (All the while not "resisting" against the line of attack)

Granted, that's a simplistic explanation.

It still helps to be grounded in the ideas of "men kara sen, sen kara ten" or rather "area to line, line to point" concepts, which lead into go no sen, sen no sen, connection differences between hai men (back/yang side), zen men (front/yin side) and all that jibe.
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Old 09-27-2006, 09:04 PM   #31
David Orange
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
Sword vs. No sword...requires you having the "connected" body, and...you apply kuzushi to the person simply by touching him.
But what do you do about the sword?

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
(To the other guy it just looks like you raised your arm straight up, but somehow his blade is still deflected, and he's way off balance)
Yes. What is the 'somehow'? How do you avoid being hit by the sword?

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
...use of the internal pressures allow you to make slight minute adjustments in your own body simply, almost indicernable to the outside viewer, but with the result being that you still take the guys center on contact and hence his sword as well. (All the while not "resisting" against the line of attack)
Granted, that's a simplistic explanation.
I don't find it very clear. What does it take to avoid the sword?

And what is it that differentiates aikido from judo, jujutsu or sumo? You've said that the internal pressure ideas come from sumo in large part (as does much of Japanese martial art). So what you and Tim have described could speak as well for jujutsu and judo. In fact, it seems to describe those arts better than it does aikido.

How do you differentiate? What's the difference in the arts? Mike Sigman likes to point to the "sudden" development of Tenryu to mastery of aikido, but that overlooks literal decades of training in sumo. So it wasn't really very quick development at all. But what was the difference in what he had been doing and in what he learned from Morihei Ueshiba?

I think it's related to cutting with the sword and avoiding the sword. Ueshiba once said that the essence of aikido is "thrusting with the Japanese sword."

So how do you recognize aikido as opposed to sumo or jujutsu?

David

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Old 09-27-2006, 10:32 PM   #32
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
For Gernot: So the meaning of 合 in Japanese is also the same? If so then why the heck have people been translating Aikido as the "Way of Harmony??"
Beats me. I guess the usual thing: today it's called "machine translation" :-)
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Old 09-28-2006, 08:38 AM   #33
David Orange
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
So the meaning of 合 in Japanese is also the same? If so then why the heck have people been translating Aikido as the "Way of Harmony??"
Regardless of how you technically translate "ai" in "aikido," there's no question that Morihei Ueshiba spent a lot of time promoting the idea that aikido is an art of love and harmony of the universe. I think that's how it gets translated as "Way of Harmony."

And not only Ueshiba, but apparently people like Sagawa were promoting this idea. I got this quote from a post on e-budo. Supposedly, Sagawa had a scroll in his dojo reading:

""The Martial Art of Aiki is Synonymous with the Way of Human Cultivation & Development"

Aiki is the harmonization of ki.
The entire universe sustains itself perfectly through harmonization. This harmony is aiki.
[Aiki] creates harmony without producing negative feelings or conflict because the ki of aiki is natural.
The harmony created by aiki must be a fundamental part of the foundation of human society.
This is known as the Global Harmony of Aiki (Aiki no Daienwa).
One should use the principle of aiki to harmonize with and de-escalate those threatening violence, and in the case where an enemy has already initiated an attack, rely completely on the principle of aiki to blend with or redirect their attack, which in turn produces a state of harmony.
We must seriously study (shugyo) the kihon (basics) - as well as the taijutsu (jujutsu), tachi no jutsu (swordsmanship), sojutsu (spearmanship), and bojutsu (staff techniques) - as passed down within the methods of aiki through its founder, Prince Shinra Saburo Minamoto Yoshimitsu, then strive to reach the Way found in the martial art of aiki (aiki no budo), which is synonymous with the Way of human cultivation and development (ningen shuyo). "

Of course, his would have been in Japanese and I have never seen it, but it does seem he was making the point that the essence of aiki is harmony of the universe.

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Old 09-28-2006, 08:57 AM   #34
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Regardless of how you technically translate "ai" in "aikido," there's no question that Morihei Ueshiba spent a lot of time promoting the idea that aikido is an art of love and harmony of the universe. I think that's how it gets translated as "Way of Harmony."

And not only Ueshiba, but apparently people like Sagawa were promoting this idea. I got this quote from a post on e-budo. Supposedly, Sagawa had a scroll in his dojo reading:[snip]
David, there is a whole "way of life" reflected in that writing that says a very common thing within Asian (particularly Chinese) culture. There is an Order to the universe and the ideal is to do things such that the laws of the universe are met with a harmony, not a conflict. I.e., the idea of "harmony with the universe" is not a behavioural admonition in itself, but part of a general idea of doing everything in accord with "Nature" and without conflict. If you have a martial art that specifically says you do things in "harmony", etc., you are setting yourself up as "doing the correct thing in our traditional philosophy"; i.e., you are justifying what you do as being only correct.

You should move in the "natural" way (which is where the kokyu/ki/jin idea comes in). This is where you'll see the justification for cultivating your ki and jin powers... you can spot it usually in the term "cultivation". Doing qi etc., exercises is considered to be a bona fide and important part of the whole "self cultivation" thing.

My point being that a universal cosmological concept that generally drives Asian philosophy, in important segments, should not be construed as being in congruence with the "peace, love, and harmony" in the PepsiCola Song. It's a specific idea and usually you'll find the ki/kokyu things in there and, voila', those same ki/kokyu things are the basis of Ueshiba's art, Sagawa's art, and so on. If you look in O-Sensei's douka, he repeatedly uses the ancient terms and admonitions and points to them as being the heart of Aikido, thus justifying his art as indeed a superior art, blessed by the gods, etc.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 09-28-2006, 09:28 AM   #35
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
But since aiki comes from kenjutsu originally, how does that work sword-against-sword? And how does it explain aikinage?
Hi David,
If you are referring to the "aiki" in aikido as coming from kenjutsu ... I don't know that it did. It's something that I think people are researching and finding that maybe there wasn't a whole lot of kenjutsu in aikido's history. Dunno. Better people than me are talking about it on E-Budo.

Mark
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Old 09-28-2006, 09:34 AM   #36
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
David: I don't know, I don't do any work with shinken. All my weapons work is single stick or knife, and I think that a two handed weapon might work differently. With single stick vs. single stick, if I move with "pressure" on the block/strike I've had my practice partners say, they feel it reverberate through their hand. I'm still figuring it out.

Ignatius: Okay. Join/combine/in accord with, you're right that's a better definition.

For Gernot: So the meaning of 合 in Japanese is also the same? If so then why the heck have people been translating Aikido as the "Way of Harmony??"
What kind of stick work are you doing? (I just started kali)

As for people translating ... people have been mis-translating Japanese words/phrases for a long time. I've seen people talk about Aikido being love and peace and using their own definition of "love" and "peace". Whether it is right or wrong isn't the point, but rather the point is if they are doing that without researching or investing the time to get a basis for their ideas/translations/words. Then it might become a matter of right or wrong for that person's usage. Someone else might use the same words and mean something different.

Mark
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Old 09-28-2006, 11:09 AM   #37
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Mark,
I practice Serrada Escrima.

David,

Notice that the quote you posted places "kihon" before "taijutsu." I am telling you straight up that the conditioning exercises (or as Akuzawa calls it, tanren) create the "core" of the technique. My guess is this is what the rest of your quote is talking about.
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Old 09-28-2006, 12:22 PM   #38
David Orange
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
..."kihon" before "taijutsu."...the conditioning exercises (or as Akuzawa calls it, tanren) create the "core" of the technique.
Yes, tanren is the "core" of all the Japanese martial arts. But there is also something centrally unique to each of them, as to how they variously use that core to achieve their own peculiar affects. What is the difference, then, in aikido and sumo or jujutsu, judo, etc.?

Mark mentioned that there is some discussion about whether aiki is based on kenjutsu, but I don't take that too problematically. The old "aiki no in-yo ho" go way, way back and were a consideration for sword fighters. How much of that actually carried through to Takeda's daito ryu may be in question, but avoidance of the sword has always been a major concern for aiki arts. Avoidance and taking. And Mochizuki Sensei went into a lot of detail about how various movements were taken directly from sword movements and how various techniques were based directly on sword techniques. He even had a kata called Ken Tai Iichi no Kata (forms of sword and body are one) to show the direct correlation. It is a point of consideration that his sword forms were all rooted in katori shinto ryu, while Ueshiba's and DTR's generally were based on Ona Ha Itto Ryu, but in his way of teaching the aiki-kenjutsu/taijutsu connection was central.

So my question remains, what, exactly, differentiates aikido from sumo/jujutsu/judo, since all are based on tanren, and how does the internal pressure model explain non-contact aiki?

David

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Old 09-28-2006, 01:50 PM   #39
David Orange
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
David, there is a whole "way of life" reflected in that writing that says a very common thing within Asian (particularly Chinese) culture. There is an Order to the universe and the ideal is to do things such that the laws of the universe are met with a harmony, not a conflict.
Well, that is the core of my thinking and acting. And I don't see any need to differentiate that "universal ki" from martial arts technique. as Liang Shou Yu described it as a single continuum in "Emei Baguazhang." The universal ki is the same ki used in fighting techniques. You first connect yourself to the world and the universe through your body, then through your family. Then you act in ways that protect both. And while even the attacker has "value" in a harmonious view of the world, we value our own lives and the safety of our family and nation above those of people who would attack us. So, harmony or not, the methods must be overwhelming for an attacker.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
You should move in the "natural" way (which is where the kokyu/ki/jin idea comes in). This is where you'll see the justification for cultivating your ki and jin powers... you can spot it usually in the term "cultivation". Doing qi etc., exercises is considered to be a bona fide and important part of the whole "self cultivation" thing.
That, too, is in accord with my idea that we cultivate what is correct in our inborn nature. We cultivate human ki and mind to refine it to its most greatest natural potential. Proper cultivation of ki creates a flexible, strong and supple body, a relaxed and perceptive mind and an instantly responsive awareness, all useful for every aspect of daily life as well as self-defense and other feats of derring do.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
...a universal cosmological concept that generally drives Asian philosophy, in important segments, should not be construed as being in congruence with the "peace, love, and harmony" in the PepsiCola Song.
I've never subscribed to the idea of doing that though it is clear that many people have construed it that way. Still, I think that Ueshiba went farther in developing it that way than his predecessors. While Sagawa may have said that aiki is harmonization of the universe, I don't think he went as far as Ueshiba in insisting that our techniques also protect the attacker. I think that in DTR it is presumed that an attacker will be lucky to walk away unbroken.

I do agree that many aikido practitioners have taken Ueshiba's "no enemy/loving protection for all things" statements to mean that we have to avoid injuring the attacker at all costs, even to the point of leaving ourselves and our families in danger and I don't think he meant that. He also did not mean to practice in any weak way or to remain weak, but I think that in practice it is necessary to work in such a way that we don't injure our training partners.

And I don't think Ueshiba intended ukes to develop as dive monkeys in randori. I don't know where that came in, but Mochizuki Sensei never tolerated it. For him, aikido was always a means of self development through hard training in serious self-defense methods and you had to work hard to stay in his dojo. He thought that a lot of Tohei's stuff was "hypnotism" and he only taught reliable physical methods. No hocus-pocus.

David

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Lao Tzu

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Old 09-28-2006, 02:14 PM   #40
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Quote:
Robert John wrote:
I think Tim is correct, but ultimately application will depend on how the person trains.

Here's my take it:

The manipulation of internall pressures/tensions allow Kuzushi on contact and is VERY effective when using sword. I found that out the quick way by testing some stuff out with my friend whose done Iai/Kendo for 7+ years now.
I'd like to find some other people who practice kendo in such a fashion, while iaido trains in this way in a very minor fashion. There are plenty of waza, but most of the teachings seem to be based around movement of the arms/wrists and not the body behind it.

My posts to kendo forums about such things are met by confusion, which may be because of modern kendo's sport focus. If I test in the future, it will be interesting to see the judges reaction

I'm going to be training kendo from now on with these things in mind, even if I am less "aggressive" in my kendo.

Last edited by HL1978 : 09-28-2006 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 09-28-2006, 02:20 PM   #41
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
So my question remains, what, exactly, differentiates aikido from sumo/jujutsu/judo, since all are based on tanren, and how does the internal pressure model explain non-contact aiki?
David
Sorry for jumping in here when I just have a beginner's understanding of things. It seems to me what distinguishes these and other arts from each other cannot be described in terms of principles, because each art, generally speaking, seeks to integrate every applicable principle. The difference, as I see it, rests in the differing emphases of the various arts...and that usually includes things like lineage, personality, tradition, etc. Watching a Judo video of Mifune-san I kept thinking, "that's just like 'aikido'." After seeing it I can't help but think the main difference between many arts is in who determined their names as well as other superficial details.
As for "what is Aikido" my answer is that pure aikido is the cultivation of "win-win" situations. To refine what a "win-win" situation is seems impossible to me since one has to define what is "good". It's like the folk tale of the farmer...his horse runs away; his neighbors say "what bad luck!" He says "good, bad, who knows." Later it comes back but with several wyld stallions (thank you Bill and Ted). "Oh what good luck" his neighbors say. Later his son breaks his leg trying to tame one of the new horses. "What bad luck!" Yet the broken leg prevents the military from conscripting his son and sending him to war..."how good!"... You can see where the story might go from there; the point of which is that we never fully know the ramifications of any given action until further along down the road, and even then we don't always (if we ever) know.
I suddenly feel compelled to delete this post of mine, but maybe one of you folks will be able to lend me better information...
Take care,
Matthew

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Old 09-28-2006, 02:46 PM   #42
HL1978
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
But since aiki comes from kenjutsu originally, how does that work sword-against-sword? And how does it explain aikinage?

Actually that is a fundamental concept in kendo. Via both shinai to shinai contact and taiatari, you feel your opponents intent, that is when they are going to attack and you use that to maintain center (in a manner similar to feeling one recieves when performing push hands). This is best done through the support structure of the body rather than relying on the muscles of the arms to keep the sword rigid, as your opponent can use that focus against you as you can generate move power to move your opponents shinai or simply strike via the weight of the body than just the muscle/weight of the arm. This results in your oppoents shinai moving out of the way so that a proper point can be scored, or in unbalancing your opponent so that a point can be scored because you have taken advantage of where your opponents sword and or body was weak.


The concept of seme covers this, and infact you need not make contact with your opponent to have the same effect upon them.
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Old 09-28-2006, 06:13 PM   #43
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote:
There are plenty of waza, but most of the teachings seem to be based around movement of the arms/wrists and not the body behind it.
Not in any kendo I've seen.

It's all about the lower body. Yes, moving your wrists and arms is important, but that's because they're links between your feet and the sword. Comments along the lines of "you need to strike with your koshi" or "fight with your feet, not with your sword" are very common.

Do low level people (in kendo, that's sandan and below) do this very well? Of course not. But having everythinig work together, "ki ken tai itchi" as we say, is probably the most fundamental principal of kendo. That's why so much time is spent on things like coordinating the timing of the foot and the cut.

Ki-ken-tai-itchi isn't just for strikes, either. It applies to even the smallest of movements during seme-ai. Now those movements are small at the tip of the sword, so they end up being absolutely tiny in the core of the body, but they're still (supposed to be) there. But that's the kind of stuff that distinguishes kodansha from the rest of us.

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Old 09-28-2006, 06:20 PM   #44
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

To keep my comments more on topic, I suppose I should point out that I agree with HL 1978: aiki is present, and important, in higher level kendo. It's just a bit hidden from view because:

1) Kendo has its own terminology to describe such things.

2) It's high level stuff, so it doesn't get talked about much, at least not with us low level people.

3) It's used offensively, so it looks quite a bit different than it does in aikido.

Kentokuseisei
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Old 09-28-2006, 06:41 PM   #45
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Kent Enfield wrote:
Not in any kendo I've seen.

It's all about the lower body. Yes, moving your wrists and arms is important, but that's because they're links between your feet and the sword. Comments along the lines of "you need to strike with your koshi" or "fight with your feet, not with your sword" are very common.

Do low level people (in kendo, that's sandan and below) do this very well? Of course not. But having everythinig work together, "ki ken tai itchi" as we say, is probably the most fundamental principal of kendo. That's why so much time is spent on things like coordinating the timing of the foot and the cut.

Ki-ken-tai-itchi isn't just for strikes, either. It applies to even the smallest of movements during seme-ai. Now those movements are small at the tip of the sword, so they end up being absolutely tiny in the core of the body, but they're still (supposed to be) there. But that's the kind of stuff that distinguishes kodansha from the rest of us.

I would argue that it isn't just the lower body, though certainly the importance of the rear leg and left arm should not be neglected.

Instead I would argue that it is the entirety of the body which should be considered when striking/recieving/feeling out ones opponent, however, since no one longer cuts through their opponnent in kendo, there is less emphasis on this weight transfer, though it is more likely to be found in iaido practice or in practice cutting.

Taiatari striking (for non kendo people, think of a hockey/lacrosse body check) is a perfect example of where maintaining the connections of the body would be extremely usefull, that is in driving your opponent back. Until recently, I thought I was delivering my entire body weight forwards (despite being tall and having a center of gravity disadvantage) by focusing on pushing off my legs harder. Turns out I was wrong here.

Wtih a bit more focus on aikido with regards to this position, upon making contact, you feel out your opponent to find when they are weak and you can either propell them backwards and strike or propel yourself back and then strike an open target.

I agree, this sort of thing isn't discussed much at all, though I think it would be advantageous to everyone if it was. Im pretty much in agreement with the rest of what you wrote.

Last edited by HL1978 : 09-28-2006 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 09-28-2006, 06:52 PM   #46
Upyu
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Kent Enfield wrote:
Ki-ken-tai-itchi isn't just for strikes, either. It applies to even the smallest of movements during seme-ai. Now those movements are small at the tip of the sword, so they end up being absolutely tiny in the core of the body, but they're still (supposed to be) there. But that's the kind of stuff that distinguishes kodansha from the rest of us.
K-K-T-I applies to everything.
And I think the most fundamental mistake that's being propagated is that they allow the low level kids to think that its simply "timing" all that stuff together.
Kendo as a whole has lost any way to train the KKTI skill (which is the same skill Mike sigman has been talking about, the same skill that Takeda Soukaku, Ueshiba, Sagawa etc used), except maybe through Iai. And its a long ass process at best. There's faster and better ways, even within the context of tradition japanese training methods.

Last edited by Upyu : 09-28-2006 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 09-29-2006, 08:55 AM   #47
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Kent Enfield wrote:
To keep my comments more on topic, I suppose I should point out that I agree with HL 1978: aiki is present, and important, in higher level kendo. It's just a bit hidden from view because:

1) Kendo has its own terminology to describe such things.

2) It's high level stuff, so it doesn't get talked about much, at least not with us low level people.
Good to know that commonality is not entirely lost.
Quote:
Kent Enfield wrote:
3) It's used offensively, so it looks quite a bit different than it does in aikido.
We need to practice some bokken irimi awase sometime. I just may be able to disabuse you of this notion of inoffensiveness in aiki sword movements. I know I was.

Ittai ka, (loosely translated:: "union of body" in a transitional sense) is the basis of taitari as I understand it. In bokken irimi awase exercises ittai ka is easier to achieve by means of an aiki approach than many kendo people may assume. Most of the time the irimi entry develops into a modified ikkyo that avoids the attempt at tsuka zeriai -- with a hip turn and by maintaining the swords in juji (crossed) as you turn inside.

Another meaning of "ittai ka" is "What the ...?" or "what on earth?", which is an excellent description of uchitachi's reaction when it is properly performed.

Quite often I end up very close to koshinage, and almost inevitably with a good a kokyu projection at the taitari/ittai-ka connection -- might be a tad uncomfortable in bogu, but, ah well...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-29-2006, 12:07 PM   #48
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Yes, tanren is the "core" of all the Japanese martial arts. But there is also something centrally unique to each of them, as to how they variously use that core to achieve their own peculiar affects. What is the difference, then, in aikido and sumo or jujutsu, judo, etc.? ... So my question remains, what, exactly, differentiates aikido from sumo/jujutsu/judo, since all are based on tanren, and how does the internal pressure model explain non-contact aiki?
First, non-contact aiki against an untrained opponent looks A LOT like full contact atemi. So much so, in fact, that it is.

"No touch" throws are, to my mind, distguishable only by uke's awareness of his own imminent peril. The techniques move into the same space regardless, the only question is whether uke is there at the time or not. It does not matter, either way. If he continues to belabor his hostility unawares, then all the imminent contingency is removed by his own ignorance and it becomes "suffered peril." QED.

As to distinguishing sumo, jujutsu, and aikido, I would, say that in practice they often look similar in result, but their principles in achieving that result are very different. All of them involve tanren to temper and strengthen the maintenance of and manipulation of dynamic balance. Their respective focus on the means used to display these effects are quite divergent, however.

I have made a serious attempt in the past few years to more rigorously grasp the physical mechanisms and modes of action underlying aiki. In in doing so, I have some better grasp on how it differs from other arts in some profound ways. Its manner of work, even where the ultimate result achieved is remarkable similar in form or appearance, is very differnt in both concept and action.

In doing so, I have also become critically aware of how little the physical mechnisms of human three diminsional balance are understood by scientists and scholars. There is much we now know NOT to be true, but much that still defies our closest approximate explanations.

Sumo principle is summed up for me in that deep kibadachi, leg lift and stomp that the sumo boys do at the beginning of each match. Sumo, as evidenced by the typical physique, is about manipulation of critically grounded inertia. Not to make light, but sumo uses ( to astonishing effect) the same physical principle as walking a refrigerator on its corners. Which, (to make light) is to all appearances, a regular aspect of stable training anyway, and to equally astonishing effect, I might add. ;-/}

Judo/jujutsu seems to me more intrerested in the manipulation of force couple principles -- the rotary push-pull combinations that isolate and manipulate planar momentum ( i.e --directly altering angular velocity) at critical junctures, in combination with eccentric shifts of existing rotation in the plane for the same purpose.

Aikido is much more about manipulations of constant acceleration potential moment (gravity), in conjunction with intermittent induced moments (attacks and techniques) to reorient the system of moments in its entirety, three dimensionally -- as opposed to adding to or diminishing from angular momentum (velocity) in what ever reference plane has been established by an attacking motion.

I have had some recurrent debates with Mike about this view of altering attacking dynamics in all three dimensions simultaneously versus the linear "six direction" "static spring" reaction model. It is not clear to me if this is the root or related to the "internal pressures" spoken of by others here. I do not find this "static spring" model very useful in my thinking. It certainly departs from what is known about the human balance and stability system.

Muscles of the legs do not seem act as static springs, but as active inputs according to some other mode of control. See: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/art...?artid=1456051
Leg muscles act paradoxically to the static spring model of ankle/ ground torque even for quiet standing. See : http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/art...?artid=1456057

These studies primarily rely on the the plantar/ankle torque or center of pressure measuremtn, based on the simple (unsgemented) inverted pendulum model (wobbling pole). They focus on the plantar ankle ground troque as the measure of the support mechanism of simple balance.

Beyond that, and quite surprisingly, the mechanism and control modes of human balance remain remarkably poorly understood, although the vestibular and visual systems have been shown to have much less to do with it than is generally thought. . See http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/conte.../319/7220/1300 ; And : http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/art...?artid=1129077

A potentially more useful model may be a chaotic or stochastic (random) gyroscopic oscillation of a segmented inverted pendulum model focussed on the hip sway as active dampener/counterbalance, rather than on ankle/ground torque. SOme studies have sugested this is the normal rather than the extraordinary mode of balance. http://arxiv.org/abs/cond-mat/9908185 It is certaonly the focus of aikido training as a mode of balance.

Oscillating motions of this type, even chaotic motions, obey gyroscopic prinicples. I find many things in aiki techique that are not explained as easily by any other means, especially given the emphasis on spirals and circles in techniques. Nothing I have seen published contradicts it (but do contradict the static spring conception.) I am looking for any other work that may have been done along these lines using rotary or oscillalting hip dynamics dynamics as the studied balance model.

One study still using inverted pendulum model and the foot-center-of-pressure measure, tends to lead that way. Chaotic or stochastic processes are evident in the "random walk" orbit of the center of pressure measures of human balance sway. This shows that linear mechanical models are not likely to be very explanatory. http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/...ndom%20walk%22
Another shows evidence of cyclic muscular "kicks" (even in the ankle strategy scenario) to orbit a supercritically unstable center that would be typical of a driven gyroscopic oscillation system. See: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/art...?artid=1456055

Lots of room for traditional aiki concepts exist within contemporary physical understanding of the human dynamic support system we manipulate, but I am not sure that "pressures" or "springs" are good choices of physical or metaphorical models of aiki action.

There is some real room for aikido to make a useful addition to this body of knowledge for the benefit of more than just aikidoka. The rate of death of people over 80 from falls is NINE times that of their rate of death from car accidents. If we can contribute something to the understanding of the maintenance and recovery of good balance, or to aid in improving it where it is impaired, we can literally help save lives. If we aikidoka could get everyone we know, before the age of fifty, to learn proper ukemi, aikido would have been singularly worthwhile for that reason alone...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-29-2006, 04:19 PM   #49
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Hi Erick,

I have been following your discussion with some interest. I tried to draw diagrams to understand what you meant but I'm not sure that my physics ability is good enough to do it justice. You seem to talking about the resultant forces from geometric motions? Have you tried motion capture or something like that, or any attempt to actually measure the forces you're talking about? Not trying to be antagonistic, I'm genuinely curious.

Re: the pressure/spring stuff. I don't actually look at the pressure stuff as a model. Rather it is a feeling in the body that is recreatable . Unfortunately, no I don't know how to measure it, or even what is causing it. What I do know, however, is a method that another person could use to recreate the same feelings, and then, using that feeling, perform a technique which he/she otherwise could not perform. It's more a training method than an analytical model.



Again, I want to re-iterate-- it is NOT a model or even an analogy, but a way of training. I would certainly like to find out how and why it works.
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Old 09-29-2006, 11:31 PM   #50
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
You seem to talking about the resultant forces from geometric motions? Have you tried motion capture or something like that, or any attempt to actually measure the forces you're talking about?
Others have already done that for quiet stance. See http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/cond-mat/pdf/9908/9908185.pdf. The normal hip sway movements shown in that study are on the order of at least three distinct periodic intervals ~ 0.25, 0.5 and 1.0 cm (and possibly one or two more at smaller scales of resolution). The upper torso moves in almost precise counterpoise to the hip movement.

It would be interesting to try motion capture for techniques and particularly for strong kokyu movement to see what it might reveal. I have actually been thinking more in line of looking at EMG data folr balance and blending techniques. There is a nerurologist I know i might be able to draft into the effort to see if any useful study of balance modes can be made from aiki movement.

The author attributes the hip/torso movements as random or stochastic, but the existence of three distinct movement intervals and frequencies in his data diagram of that oscillation is a sign of chaotic behavior. Chaotic systems are paradoxically capable of disproportionate resulting changes from arbitrarily small changes in initial conditions, and also capable of maintaining a robust global pattern even in the face of large excursions in initial conditions. As a propect for a better model of the simultaneous sensitivy and relative imperturbailty of good kokyu, it is promisingly similar in effect.

The depiction given in that study cited suggests what I have suspected for some time - a figure-eight-ish path of the hip balancing oscillation. The shape of the data graph suggests to me a series of nested loop attaractors, but to see it clearly you would have to take that data and map it onto the 2D complex plane, or into a 3D phase space diagram. If you want a lay explanation of what that iis exactly, and what it would show, you can read James Glieck's book on Chaos or any recent college math text on Chaos or complex systems. Ther are also good web resources on this topic, too numerous to detail

What is interesting that I did not expect before reading the study, is that there appear to be sub loops of higher frequency oscillation nested with each arm of the figure eight, probably duplicating the same figure eight form, and possibly even one more layer of nesting loops at one scale below that.

This is fractal organization, which is the hallmark of self-organized criticality (SOC), a point that bears some serious consideraiton of its own for aiki purposes. O-Sensei described takemusu aiki as being led by kami to the right technique, or even awhollly new technique. SOC has been rigorusly examined by the likes of Steve Wolfram, to show how in such systems the structure of simple interactions themselve can develop very rich behavior that requires no conscious input to generate very complex and adaptive behaviors. I think you can see where that line of thought is headed.
Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
Re: the pressure/spring stuff. I don't actually look at the pressure stuff as a model. Rather it is a feeling in the body that is recreatable ... Again, I want to re-iterate-- it is NOT a model or even an analogy, but a way of training. I would certainly like to find out how and why it works.
I would not begrudge any imagery that helps make the physics of any complex perfomance work. Singing coaches tell you to imagine doing do all sorts of physically ridiculous things that nonethless have powerful resonance as an image and focus of where to direct the energy, and which really work to correct errors of form. The test of a teaching method is whether it helps to learn what is being taught.

I am trying to better desribe the physical attributes of what aikido does with the still scientifically mysterious process of human balance. I am following some concrete intuitions that I gained in flying helicopters for ten years. I sense that there is an applicaiton of the gyrodynamics that I understand from that experience to better understanding of the human balance system and from that to better understand aikido techniques. I see these rotiational dynamics in the hip sway balance movements, but I also see them in the more nearly instantaneuos gyration/rotations of individual joints. While the limb joints are moving slowly enough that more common lever/linkage analysis can certainly be applied without gross errors, anything that rotates also obeys gyroscopic laws, if manipulated in the right way.

From that, perhaps yet more teaching paradigms will be made possible that the traditional lagugage of description sometimes obscures needlessly. Not that what I am doing so far is exactly crystalline at the moment. The mirror is still quite dull, murky even, and it needs lots of polishing yet.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 09-29-2006 at 11:34 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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