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Old 09-30-2006, 08:54 AM   #51
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
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?
I am trying to work through concrete examples of the principles that I see. I have elsewhere tried to describe (very poorly, I might add) how the inputs and resultatns function for a "basic" shomenuchi ikkyo. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...6&postcount=61
Tim had asked for a "free body diagram" in that discussion That is very difficult to do in this environment, but a careful description can accomplish much the same thing.

I will try the same kind of description of a "basic" katatedori kokyu tanden-ho movement. A couple of things I would like for people to keep in mind as I do this. First, consider nikkyo application, which I think makes a few things very explict that are otherwise implicit in all kokyu movement. The wrist is classically at 90 deg to the forearm, the elbow at 90 from the upper arm and the arm at the shoulder 90 from the torso.

We thus have a structure that is oriented in all three planes of rotation. The wrist rotates in the sagittal or vertically oriented anterior/posterior (A/P) plane; the forearm rotates in the medio-lateral (M/L or cartwheel) plane, and the shoulder rotates in the horizontal plane.

Nevertheless, the actual rotation of that structure in any plane need only be very, very small when applied with firm connection. With proper application this affects balance directly -- much less dependent on tension pain compliance component that we all know -- and have learned to LOVE. It is lovely, of course, but actually an incidental effect.

Place your partner in nikkyo and rotate the wrist gently about the joint toward your partner's head. Do not restrain the elbow at this point so that you can see the body's natural, unrestrained reactions. What you will see is that the application of the vertical A/P plane rotation at the wrist, creates the mediolateral rotation of the forearm about the elbow joint as the system attmepts to find a lower energy position (entropy). As the wrist rotation continues, its tension increases -- so does the elbow tension, and thus its rotation inturn in a perpendicular plane. Now you will begin to see the upper arm begin to rotate at the shoulder joint in the horizontal plane, which eventually carries the upper torso out of the supporting hip orbit, and giving kuzushi.

All of these planes of rotation are simultaneouly shifting orientation relative to the constant force vector of gravity. However, if technique is applied consistently throughout the movement and rotations, the relative orientation of induced forces in uke's body barely changes at all as the imparted rotation continues.

What you are seeing is the development of the ikkyo path in the body. What you are also doing is gyroscopic manipulation of the joint/body complex in three planes simultaneously.

Now the katatedori kokyu-ho movement is precisely the same, but done dynamically at a single point of contact, rather than with the more obvious semi-static cranks defining the orientation of rotation in all three axes. An initial linear offset is created in the wrist connection. This is the implicit equivalent of the wrist crank of the nikkyo. Then the kokyu movement of the arm follows the same spiral three-plane tumbling path of successive joint rotations from wrist to elbow to shoulder into the center of the body, creating the same ikkyo path progression.

I hope this helps visualize the rotations and perpendicular transformations that occur. These physical forces are not easily described by other by other than gyroscopic means. Essentially, the inital rotation creates precessional rotation in another axis which does so in turn to the third, which does so in turn to the original input axis at which time a three dimensional reorientaion of the plane system has occurred. This successive iteration of precessional transfromation on perpendicular axes occurs almost simultanwously throughout the entire motion of the technique.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 09-30-2006, 10:35 AM   #52
clwk
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Erick,

I have read a lot of what you have written about what I will call your 'Gyro-dynamics Hypothesis'. I don't mean that in a condescending way, I just need a name for it. I won't pretend to have tried to parse *everything*, but I think I get the gist of it. I also went through a period of thinking in similar terms, and I *do* see why this and similar paradigms are seductive. I even think that the conceptual/psycho-physical tools you are using may be valuable in developing an intuitive model for moment-to-moment application. *However*, I am not sure this model is the best one to apply in *developing* the body conditioning/skill necessary as a base; and once you have switched paradigms (if you were to do so), you might find that other ways of thinking do the job as well - or not. I am not volunteering this analysis to insult you, or to get into an argument about the funky physics of it all. Rather, this is a good faith effort to communicate something tangible - in case it might help you or someone else thinking along your lines.

First, I will acknowledge that what you have developed is probably working for you, in terms of providing the conceptual key to applying technique. *But* I think you have explained well the reason for it when you said, '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.' As a helicopter pilot, of course you will have developed a finely tuned ability to interact to real-time dynamic physical instability and to intuitively guide a system governed by reaction to fluctuation in the manner of your choosing. That you have been able to link this ability into your aikido waza is a great accomplishment (in my non-patronizing opinion, which is probably not worth much). However, I think the gyrodynamics aspect is useful for *you* because *you* learned the 'piloting' skill flying helicopters.

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The problem is that you're invoking a more complex model than necessary. *Even if* it's possible to construct an analysis that depends on gyrodynamics, I don't think it is as required as you think. For example, you say (about nikkyo) that 'These physical forces are not easily described by other by other than gyroscopic means.' I think that's a stretch. I think most people can see, with a little thought, how a roto-rooter plumbing snake, for example, could be understood without any gyroscopic analysis - if it were rotating very slowly, so I think it's a stretch to say that you need to invoke virtual gyroscopes to explain such a simple phenomenon.

Why would I argue that the simpler theory is better? I could invoke the famous Occam's razor, but I won't - since then we could argue about its application and applicability. I will instead point out that the problem with a gyrodynamic model as the core of a theory is that it does not address in any way at all, how to develop the body. It may (or may not) be a good theory for how to use the body, and you might take the approach that just using the body in this way will then develop it in the correct way, *but* the danger in this approach is that it *assumes* that what you are doing *and your understanding of it* are already ideal, and that all you need to do is find the right descriptive language to communicate that to others.

For myself, I find it makes more sense to assume that a lot more development is possible than what I can do already. I further assume that there are things which are hard to understand before you have achieved the practical basis for understanding them. It is on that basis that I would be extremely hesitant about synthesizing my own explanation based only on the *result* of training, and not on the method of achieving this result. In other words, your theory is at best *explanatory*, and you admit it is not even fully-functional as such yet. Competing 'theories' *are* 'complete', even if they do not quantitatively address mathematical abstractions. Most importantly, the 'theoretical' components are really just there as a way of allowing the *practical* components to be integrated into the knowledge culture in which they developed. Any 'modern' theory meant to replace an 'outdated' one should probably have extremely similar functional properties. It would not be untraditional for theories and methods to become more and more refined and therefore better as knowledge grows, but it would be a mistake to throw out the old in order to build something new from scratch - in my opinion.

There *are* traditional methods for explaning, understanding, training, refining these skills. They do not happen to require gyrodynamics. They *can* be updated somewhat to account for our predilection for physics-based analysis, and this is probably an improvement - but it is an *incremental* benefit. If we throw the baby out with the bath-water, then we lose the one really good thing there, which is a tried and true training system. We know that people like Takeda, Sagawa, Ueshiba, and many others throughout history have applied systematic methods to accomplish startling results. I think it's a *very good idea* to try to understand exactly what those methods were before tyring to put them into our own words.

If O-Sensei were still alive and you could convince him to suit up for an infinite barrage of motion-capture experiments, I am sure the results would be interesting. Honestly though, if he were alive, I would rather train with him and try to find out *how* he did what he did - even if that means not knowing precisely *in scientific terms* what it was that he had accomplished. I am not in any way arguing against a physical understanding, just suggesting that *unless you know that you have mastered the full spectrum of the aiki skillset* it might be premature to introduce an explanatory framework which is more or less discontinuous with what is traditional. I don't think trying to find bits and pieces that seem to support your hypothesis really helps either, because it creates a somewhat sketchy intellectual climate - which I know you do not intend. If you *know* that what you are proposing is 'new and different', then it doesn't really matter about the common imagery - which probably can only confuse anyone who tries to reconcile the 'new system' with the 'old system'.

-ck
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Old 09-30-2006, 07:01 PM   #53
David Orange
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
First, non-contact aiki against an untrained opponent looks A LOT like full contact atemi. So much so, in fact, that it is.
Yeah, one form can be, but I'm talking about the kind of thing where, by moving slightly out of the way, you make an overcommitted attacker come off his feet--such as when he kicks and you simply open with taisabaki so that he misses and loses his balance. Or as I once saw in a kyokushin karate tournament: one guy simply ducked slightly as the opponent threw a mawashi geri. It would have knocked him out if it had connected, but when the defender just slightly ducked, the kicker came off his feet and did a sort of barrel roll in the air, landing on his back on the opposite side of the defender. And this was in kumite. It was the guy "doing" the atemi who flew--not the other guy.

What I'm saying is that it is a mistake to construe aiki as using one's own strong structure to break down the opponent's strong structure. That is strength-against-strength and aiki uses the ura of the attacker's strength. Aiki can work with no contact at all. The structural displacement idea is really much closer to "ju" or "yawara," the core of sumo than to aiki.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
"No touch" throws are, to my mind, distguishable only by uke's awareness of his own imminent peril.
Or here's another example. A military officer once told about attacking Capt. Sadayuki Demizu, who introduced yoseikan aikido to the United States. This Army man and another officer were training with Demizu and wound up one in front of him, the other behind him. The guy behind Demizu caught the other guy's eye and signalled him to make a simultaneous attack, so they did. But Demizu sidestepped and the two attackers collided with each other.

In my own experience, I attacked Kyoichi Murai from behind and grabbed both his shoulders, intending to snatch him off his feet, but using only my own grip, he threw me over his head. I had no sense of "peril" and he couldn't even see me. So I'm talking about a different thing when I say aikinage.

[
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
]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.
My point exactly. They are different arts and they express different concepts and methods. And I think people are making a mistake on this thread in trying to reduce aikido to the same as those other arts.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
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.
That's why I don't like to take a "scientific" approach to "explaining" things that I learned mostly without words.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
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....the same physical principle as walking a refrigerator on its corners....

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.
I don't know. I see sumo and judo as very similar, both basically using the principle of yawara or ju. Judo is a derivation from sumo after all, but the core principle is ju. And that does require tanren development, but I think both arts develop tanren naturally as one continues training.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
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 think that limits the idea of aiki, actually. There is the kind of aiki that comes from aiki age, where you drive the attacker back into himself and the kind I have described in which you don't interfere with him at all, but because he is trying to place effort on something that is not there, he falls through.

I will have a look at your references, but I'm not sure they are critical to being able to actually perform aiki. And the six direction stuff sounds interesting as a way to refine power generation, but I'd like to see some of the proponents rise to rokudan in judo over the next few years (as a means of demonstrating its effectiveness against a control group, more or less) to prove it.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
I am not sure that "pressures" or "springs" are good choices of physical or metaphorical models of aiki action.
It seems to have some relevance to what Mochizuki Sensei called "yang" aiki, as expressed in aiki age techniques, which drive uke back on himself, but good aikido practice will develop that ability without words and without anyone's ever necessarily using such terms to describe it.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
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...
From what I've seen of "standard" or "mainstream" aikido ukemi, I wonder about that. Judo ukemi, on the other hand, seem really able to develop excellent control and limit injury in falling.

Thanks for the comments.

Best wishes.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 09-30-2006, 08:09 PM   #54
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
I have read a lot of what you have written about what I will call your 'Gyro-dynamics Hypothesis'. ... I also went through a period of thinking in similar terms, and I *do* see why this and similar paradigms are seductive.
I know what I mean by terms such as kokyu, ki, tanden, ittai ka, ki musubi, takemusu and aiki, because I know what they feel like when they occur, subjectively, but entirely empirically. Japanese tradition encodes this knowledge for direct transmission with minimal analytic content.

<<THIS>> is Kokyu. <<THAT>> is also kokyu. Enough examples to detect root patterns and both Japanese traditions of learning and their Chinese antecedents (pace Mike), operate to relate those patterns -- and can be spoken of intelligently -- but not easily to any one who has not first subjectively experienced them, and has a background in the finer points of East Asian natural philosophy.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
Most importantly, the 'theoretical' components are really just there as a way of allowing the *practical* components to be integrated into the knowledge culture in which they developed. Any 'modern' theory meant to replace an 'outdated' one should probably have extremely similar functional properties.
You mistake my purpose. We have a threshold barrier to understanding of WHAT aikido is and WHAT aikido does that limits its ability to penetrate the broader fields of Western culture. There are limits to the number of people that have an innate interest in absorbing the manner of thinking that allows traditional Japanese and Chinese antecedent concepts of physical/spiritual/psychlogical action to be usefully applied. As Ignatius Teo said in another thread we must "Simplify." You see the traditional mode as the most simple -- and so it is -- for those with the preconditional knowledge.

There lies the problem for my purpose. To allow aikido to become native and not merely adopted in the West, to make it our our own, and reachable from our own preconditional knowledge. Not to supplant the tradition, but to provide a complement and introduction that can resolve the chicken-and-egg problem of threshhold knowledge..

My learning in aikido will progress at this point in either mode quite happily and equally well. I have that foundation, not only in a topical university degree on the philosophical concepts but from my own concrete experience of twenty years of aikido practice several of the various offshoot branches and thinking about the differences as I learned it. I am looking for ways to nativize its teaching, as a complement, not a substitute.

The fact that we here in this forum, with fairly deep exposure to both the root concepts and their physical expression, can still get into highly involved debates about their precise application and descriptive use demonstrates two things that should give us pause in effort to expand the reach of aikiod and its teaching : 1) Western minds are inherently biased toward analytical understanding, and 2) Eastern concepts are ill-fitted for analytical treatment. The answer is not to make one substitute for the other but to fully develop each as a complenemtn to the other. The Western side is most seriously lacking at this point in time.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
*However*, I am not sure this model is the best one to apply in *developing* the body conditioning/skill necessary as a base; and once you have switched paradigms (if you were to do so), you might find that other ways of thinking do the job as well - or not.
There is no substitute for practical experience. Practical experience is the common meeting gorund for East and West, and will remain so. Imagery is helpful if it results in demonstrable learning regardless how metaphorical it may actually be. The results in learning prove the efficacy of any such method. But, to make aikido more broadly digestible, it needs a thorough exposition in Western ideas. And Western technical knowledge is anaIytical, not metaphorical. If aikido is truly a universal art, which I believe it to be, it should not suffer from adding an anlytical component as a complement to the traditional knowledge, and may help make it more approachable by smoothing the entry ramp for Westerners.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
The problem is that you're invoking a more complex model than necessary. *Even if* it's possible to construct an analysis that depends on gyrodynamics, I don't think it is as required as you think. For example, you say (about nikkyo) that 'These physical forces are not easily described by other by other than gyroscopic means.' I think that's a stretch.
Actually, its a torque, but I know what you mean. Simplification is a task for later. First, we need thoroughness, then we can select the more limited schematics that work best in given circumstances.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
I think most people can see, with a little thought, how a roto-rooter plumbing snake, for example, could be understood without any gyroscopic analysis - if it were rotating very slowly, so I think it's a stretch to say that you need to invoke virtual gyroscopes to explain such a simple phenomenon.
Fair enough. (Realize that you are applying Chinese metaphorical method to a Western image.) Describe how a plumbing snake transmits forces or moves when its potential is increased or released in a manner that does NOT use gyroscopic action in its torsional mechanics. Sprung torque is nothing but rotational potential which is gained by applying rotation, which propagates from loop to loop of the torqued spring in three dimensions.

On the other hand when I use kokyu properly, I am not using either direct or stored potential torque, and I need not do so in nikkyo (altough one can if one prefers to). It is a manipulation of rotational dynamic, which transforms torque forces axially but is not a stored torque potential (wind up) as in the case of a twisted plumber snake spring. Kokyu is not simple twist of uke's arm

Now torque that spring up really good, and note that it will adopt two "spiral" forms on different scales, one in the original untorqued spring length and an even larger spiral that is made by a further three dimensional transformation. The spiral is the shape of minimal internal force for this deformation. Now release one end of it and tell me, by non-gyroscopic means -- which way it will go. Hint - be very careful where you choose to stand based on any such decision ...
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
Why would I argue that the simpler theory is better?
Simplicity is a schematic of information -- which only means that it refers to assumed knoweldge to fill in the gaps. The problem is that it is simple only in its own terms and natural context, implying a very large body of non-Western knowledge that is necessary to reference for full comprehension.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
I will instead point out that the problem with a gyrodynamic model as the core of a theory is that it does not address in any way at all, how to develop the body.
I look at O-Sensei and what he wrote, and I do not see that "development of the body" is really the point. To resort to the traditional terms -- chinkon kishin and takemusu aiki are the ultimate point. Calm the spiriti and return to the divine, and learn how techniques create themselves in the flow of aiki. Nice ideas, but we need to give them expression here and now. In his old age, as his physical power began to seriously wane, he said to the effect that "Now I can really begin to practice aikido." To me this emphasizes the development of sensation and modulation of will, much more than development of the body. The body is the instrument, but not the musician; and tuning the instrument only does so much to improve the performance.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
I further assume that there are things which are hard to understand before you have achieved the practical basis for understanding them.
This is a chicken and egg problem that can be solved by having two bodies of independent but complementary knowledge to apply. Problems hard to envision in one system may be easy to frame in another, and vice versa.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
It is on that basis that I would be extremely hesitant about synthesizing my own explanation based only on the *result* of training, and not on the method of achieving this result. In other words, your theory is at best *explanatory*, and you admit it is not even fully-functional as such yet. Competing 'theories' *are* 'complete', even if they do not quantitatively address mathematical abstractions.
A not so minor quibble. If the math doesn't work -- it cannot be complete -- as far as Western knowledge is concerned, which is not to say that the math is complete in and of itself. Math itself proves that it is not.
Te
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
I don't think trying to find bits and pieces that seem to support your hypothesis really helps either, because it creates a somewhat sketchy intellectual climate - which I know you do not intend.
The point of a proper analysis of the physics is to unerstand both the means as well as the results that they obtain. I am confident enough in the track record of my intuition and cautious enough to be corrected by well-supported argument to the contrary. Which effort I certainly appreciate on your part, particularly. Good aiki works intellectually as well.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-30-2006, 09:26 PM   #55
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
What I'm saying is that it is a mistake to construe aiki as using one's own strong structure to break down the opponent's strong structure.
Then we are in agreement. You infer something in regard to atemi that I did not state. Moving the sword from chudan to seigan is atemi. No touch required.
Quote:
David Orange wrote:
That's why I don't like to take a "scientific" approach to "explaining" things that I learned mostly without words.
And yet metaphorical explanations are readily accepted because they are traditional to Japanese teaching. The one is not superior to the other, but the mind asks for explanation, and receives best what it is prepared to hear. Purely physcial demonstration standing alone without any verbal component is a valid means of teaching. But it does little to broaden the reach of the art, however, as few who do not already understand something of aikido will seek that direct demonstration.
Quote:
David Orange wrote:
I don't know. I see sumo and judo as very similar, both basically using the principle of yawara or ju.
On that point of similarity I think I agree. That does not really contradict my observaiton of the difference, if it was even intended to.
Quote:
David Orange wrote:
I will have a look at your references, but I'm not sure they are critical to being able to actually perform aiki.
That remains to be seen. Won't know unless we try. But the point is to fit aikido within Western tradition. The same sort of thing was done for Buddhism in China -- yielding Zen. We will either put our own stamp on the art and develop the tradition in our own mode or aikido will not last two more generations here.
Quote:
David Orange wrote:
From what I've seen of "standard" or "mainstream" aikido ukemi, I wonder about that. Judo ukemi, on the other hand, seem really able to develop excellent control and limit injury in falling.
Never more than a couple of judo classes. My ukemi is all aikido, and it has rarely lacked to provided me with kaeshi waza in low and high energy settings, weapons or taijutsu. Aikido has alot more to offer than you give credit for.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 09-30-2006 at 09:29 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 10-01-2006, 01:33 AM   #56
clwk
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
<<THIS>> is Kokyu. <<THAT>> is also kokyu. Enough examples to detect root patterns and both Japanese traditions of learning and their Chinese antecedents (pace Mike), operate to relate those patterns -- and can be spoken of intelligently -- but not easily to any one who has not first subjectively experienced them, and has a background in the finer points of East Asian natural philosophy.
We agree that direct experience is necessary, but I think we disagree that a 'background in the finer points of East Asian natural philosophy' is necessary. I would argue that the correct practical experience would include explanation - in whatever terms proved effective, and presupposes only a common communicative framework between the shower and the showee. It's not so much that 'natural philosophy' is a prerequisite for understanding the technical content as that taken far enough the technical content converges on the 'natural philosophy'. If you treat the 'philosophical' aspects as something which are not inextricably intertwined with the physical, then I think you have already broken the paradigm.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
As Ignatius Teo said in another thread we must "Simplify." You see the traditional mode as the most simple -- and so it is -- for those with the preconditional knowledge.
Since you've brought Ignatius into the discussion, I wonder whether *he* would consider 'gyrodynamics' to be a simplification, with respect to the traditional 'natural movement' paradigm, which embraces descriptive relationships between joint movement, use of the breath to modulate pervasive pressure, dynamically self-stabilizing physical systems, and training methods for accomplishing these things (among others). I can't speak for him, but maybe he will chime in if he happens to see this.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
There lies the problem for my purpose. To allow aikido to become native and not merely adopted in the West, to make it our our own, and reachable from our own preconditional knowledge. Not to supplant the tradition, but to provide a complement and introduction that can resolve the chicken-and-egg problem of threshhold knowledge..
I believe that the 'traditional' paradigm *can* be explained in *relatively* comprehensible terms, and I think there are people working hard on bridging the gap. Keep in mind that it is not traditional for this material to be highly accessible. There is always a 'chicken and egg' problem, because without the real skill, you can't really have the understanding - however well you do or don't understand the words. I don't claim either great skill or great understanding - just enough of each to have a pretty good sense for the space.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
My learning in aikido will progress at this point in either mode quite happily and equally well. I have that foundation, not only in a topical university degree on the philosophical concepts but from my own concrete experience of twenty years of aikido practice several of the various offshoot branches and thinking about the differences as I learned it.
The latter may be credible (20 years of training), but the former is probably not so important. I don't mean to take anything away from your topical university degree, but I think most people understand that university degrees are pretty tangential to martial-arts-type knowledge. I'm not saying that having a lot of book knowledge might not be helpful in the ability to research things, but the topics under discussion aren't really the kinds of things learned in those kind of places. The problem (in general) comes down to this: there aren't really *any* credentials that mean *too* much apart (maybe) from widespread consensus of top martial artists. Even that is hard to gauge because of the danger of a you-pat-my-back-I'll-pat-yours oligarchy within a limited population. That's why I think it's important, *if there is to be discussion of these fairly concrete topics* that the discussion be focused in fairly pragmatic terms.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Fair enough. (Realize that you are applying Chinese metaphorical method to a Western image.)
Pardon? I used the example of a roto-rooter snake to roughly describe how torque can propagate through a mechanical system without recourse to virtual gyroscopes or anything nearly so esoteric. How is that a 'Chinese metaphorical method'? At least allow me the dignity of a proper dressing-down, and tell me that my method of argumentation is insufficiently rigorous for your purposes - if that's what you feel. But if it is, I think you'll have to disqualify your own arguments on the same basis: not only is your theory incomplete, but it's also confusing - and I think the confusingness of it hides its incompleteness. You are basically arguing that it is *intuitively* reasonable to introduce the idea of non-existent gyroscopes into an analysis of fairly straightforward mechanical systems (I'm not saying it's entirely straightforward, but your analysis seems restricted to a fairly straightforward aspect): I'm just pointing out that you seem to be over-complicating the issue, without any payoff in terms of predictive, explicative, or constructive power.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
On the other hand when I use kokyu properly, I am not using either direct or stored potential torque, and I need not do so in nikkyo (altough one can if one prefers to).
Okay, your approach to nikkyo has been registered. Would you say you can make this technique work on pretty much everyone? If not, who doesn't it work on, and why?
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Kokyu is not simple twist of uke's arm
Nor is valid discussion a simple twist of your partner's words. I never asserted the straw man you are dismantling. I proposed an approximate alternative to *your* convoluted gesture toward explaining kokyu - as a way of suggesting you might be introducing needless complexity. I haven't volunteered a description of kokyu - although I will say that I don't think 'kokyu' is really the primary factor involved in 'how joint locks transmit force' - although it almost sounds like you do. Note, I'm not saying kokyu is uninvolved in the application of joint locks, just that analysis of joint motion, etc. in locking techniques is probably not the right tree to bark up to *define* kokyu.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
. . .note that it will adopt two "spiral" forms on different scales, one in the original untorqued spring length and an even larger spiral that is made by a further three dimensional transformation. The spiral is the shape of minimal internal force for this deformation.
Why take an example meant to make a simple point, and twist it so far past its intended purpose. I think this conceptual strategy is part of the problem (if there is one) with your Gyro Theory. I could probably come up with a theory based on time travel and what would happen if I were to 'virtually exceed the speed of light' which could also give me some kind of intuitive ability to explain aikido techniques in way which was, nevertheless insufficiently rigorous to be disprovable. But why would I want to do that? Human bodies are *not* gyroscopes, and you can't twist an arm nearly enough to need to worry at all about what shape it would assume if you could twist it indefinitely - as far as I can see.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Simplicity is a schematic of information -- which only means that it refers to assumed knoweldge to fill in the gaps. The problem is that it is simple only in its own terms and natural context, implying a very large body of non-Western knowledge that is necessary to reference for full comprehension.
You seem to be assuming that the primary difficulty in understanding the skills in question is cultural. This doesn't account for how rare it is for people of any culture to have developed them; nor does it account for how people of many different cultures have done so. The complexity comes from the subject matter itself - which is perfectly adequate to obscure it from those not willing to work hard just to 'get it'. It doesn't need extra layers of complexity added in to make it more difficult - even if in the guise of 'simplifying'.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
I look at O-Sensei and what he wrote, and I do not see that "development of the body" is really the point.
I think it's pretty obvious that O-Sensei spent a lot of time throughout his life in cultivating *physical skills* (not to discount anything else he may have done) - and that without this *physical* work, he would not have been able to manifest the art he did.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
In his old age, as his physical power began to seriously wane, he said to the effect that "Now I can really begin to practice aikido."
According to the logic implied by your argument, everyone's Aikido would be improved by prematurely accelerating the degeneration of their bodies then, right? I would take a statement like that like I would interpret a life-long virtuoso violinist who was beginning to lose the ability to play extremely difficult pieces who might say, "Now I can really begin to understand music." I think most people would understand that one earns the right to make those kind of statements (which then convey something meaningful) by being the kind of person who *obviously* has been there and done that in terms of the overt part of an art which their are *finally* de-emphasizing - as an unquestioned master.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
The body is the instrument, but not the musician; and tuning the instrument only does so much to improve the performance.
Well, I'd say it's a necessary but not sufficient condition for a brilliant performance. I would not want to skip the tuning step at all. Sure, a musical genius might be able to make do on an out-of-tune instrument - but he would probably know how to tune one and have a strong preference for keeping his weapon of choice tuned. A musical system which seemed to disregard that step as not-so-important might not be the best one in which to invest the *decades of life* one anticipates needing to *really get somewhere* with any serious skill in life.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
A not so minor quibble. If the math doesn't work -- it cannot be complete -- as far as Western knowledge is concerned, which is not to say that the math is complete in and of itself. Math itself proves that it is not.
It's probably better just to slap some working math on a good practical theory than to try to get involved in the theoretical project of simultaneously discovering some nifty math *and* evolving a pragmatic theory. As important as a kind of 'intelligence' may be to getting the most out of training, I think turning that training into 'theoretical science' might be a mistake - because there isn't any guarantee that the project will converge. I'm not saying abandon your theory, but unless you actually nail it down - I'm not sure what good it does to start publicizing it. I mean this in a literal, emotionally neutral, and non-critical way when I say that your Gyro Theory is half-baked.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
I am confident enough in the track record of my intuition and cautious enough to be corrected by well-supported argument to the contrary.
Well, by all means go with your intuition, and good luck. It's not really possible to argue too strongly against a theory which bases itself in extremely elaborate mathematical constructs and orients itself as being scientific and rigorous - yet which does not actually make any falsifiable predictions nor propose any distinct theorems (provable or otherwise), nor even provide a unique or describable method of implementing whatever its practical application might be. You're literally flying by the seat of your pants, and I think that's great - really, but I don't think you should try to sway anyone to your point of view until you've worked some of the kinks out. I can respect the somewhat heroic stance of using yourself as the test subject for this cake your baking, but how would you feel if someone else got sick from eating it? That's the question people who teach - but especially those who also devise their own theories - should be asking themselves, in my opinion. It's an extremely delicate area - because it's not just about personal prestige: there's a question of ethics, intellectual honesty, and general social responsibility.

-ck
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Old 10-01-2006, 06:05 AM   #57
eyrie
 
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
...
Since you've brought Ignatius into the discussion, I wonder whether *he* would consider 'gyrodynamics' to be a simplification, with respect to the traditional 'natural movement' paradigm, which embraces descriptive relationships between joint movement, use of the breath to modulate pervasive pressure, dynamically self-stabilizing physical systems, and training methods for accomplishing these things (among others). I can't speak for him, but maybe he will chime in if he happens to see this.
I thought I did... hence my comment regarding simplification....

I mostly teach 8-9yr olds... 'nuff said...

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Old 10-01-2006, 06:58 AM   #58
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

I second that.

The stuff is complicated and detailed...but its not "#$"#$ing rocket science.

Actually Erick, there's a quick way to see if we're all on the same page.
Can you replicate the pushout exercise that's been posted before?
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Old 10-01-2006, 11:51 AM   #59
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
I second that.
The stuff is complicated and detailed...but its not "#$"#$ing rocket science.
True. That would be ballistics -- and orbital mechanics.
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Robert John wrote:
Actually Erick, there's a quick way to see if we're all on the same page.
Can you replicate the pushout exercise that's been posted before?
For everyone's reference::
Quote:
Robert John wrote:
...the pushout exercise I mentioned before.
... Two people face each other at arms length.
Feet shoulder width apart. Knees straight, not bent.
Person A's arms are extended, the Person B's arms are pulled back, chest open, shoulderblades touching, shoulders dropped.
A then tenses the arms (in whatever manner you feel comfortable with) with the specific aim to keep B from extending his arms.

B tries to extend his arms and move A back without RESTING his weight, or leaning in any manner, or using the arm muscles extensively.
If I understand your description of this exercise properly, it is kokyu tanden-ho/kokyu dosa in a standing position, with the connection at the shoulder, instead of at the wrist.

I see no fundamental difference in the kokyu movement for B to take A's center. It is merely foreshortened to the isolated shoulder girdle/clavicle rotation in connection with tanden, instead of the whole arm in tegatana.

I have done this exercise seated a number of times as a kokyu-ho variation. Having just tried it standing with my teenage son (who trains when he is not otherwise distracted) -- it is no different. What am I missing, if anything?

As to my physical interpretation of the dynamics, it is no different. A slight offset rotation of the line of force in A's arm by rolling the shoulder in tandem with tanden (cognate to the kokyu-tegatana hand expression, and then kokyu follows and drives the chain of rotational transformations -- which occur in precisely the way I indicated before.

Making it small makes it seem more mysterious, and requires more sensitivity and direction of will to follow the kokyu as it happens. It is not as obvious because of the diminution of gross movements -- but it is exactly the same. In some ways it is easier, because A's connection gives inherent moment on the torso that is not present in anything like that degree in the seated wrist grab.

"Body development" in the sense of "core strength" or "internal power" or whatever other buzzword is au courant is not what is operating. IF by "body development" one means the learned application of the body's fundamental balance functions (which is a matter of dynamics, not "strength") to more expressive purpose, then maybe we are talking apples and apples.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 10-01-2006 at 11:54 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 10-01-2006, 12:39 PM   #60
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Erick,

You mentioned before that you spent a decade flying helicopters. When you were , say, taking, off, were you thinking of gyrodynamic forces, resultants and so on? Or were you focused on how the controls felt, what the instruments looked like and how that related to you own sense of balance (i.e. the horizon etc?). I have a lot of respect for helicopter pilots -- having been in them a few times I realize how chaotic and unstable they are even in the best of conditions.

Thinking is good, but only after/before practice. As someone once said, "don't think; feel" =)

As far as judging a method by the results--

I've never met Rob. But we have corresponded quite a bit, and I've practiced the exercises that I've seen in the videos. I've also had the pleasure of having Mike show me how he develops the strength which we are discussing.

And after about 9 months, I can do the pushout drill to some degree. So to me, that speaks quite highly of the method that Rob and others are talking about.
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Old 10-01-2006, 02:47 PM   #61
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
I would argue that the correct practical experience would include explanation - in whatever terms proved effective, and presupposes only a common communicative framework between the shower and the showee. ...
Surely, almost anything that works to give the correct result will do .. up to a point. But giving the sense of what is POSSIBLE before it is learned, this drives people to continue the path. And in seeking to deepen understanding requires a deeper body of knowledge that is accessible to the seeker. The mystique of the unfamiliar works for some people, up to a point -- and not for others at any point.

Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
I believe that the 'traditional' paradigm *can* be explained in *relatively* comprehensible terms, and I think there are people working hard on bridging the gap.

Keep in mind that it is not traditional for this material to be highly accessible.
I think you have hit the problem exactly, and what distinguishes aikido -- in a definitive break with that aspect of tradition. Some view Aikido as a exclusive body of learning -- one is initiated and the fundamental secrets may ultimately be revealed. I do not believe this is true to the vision of the Founder.

Aikido is catholic. It is intended to be universal in its accessibility and universal in its potential appeal. O-Sensei himself played down the more esoteric aspects of his Shinto background. Aikido has no secrets, or more accurately, its secrets are hidden in plain sight.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
That's why I think it's important, *if there is to be discussion of these fairly concrete topics* that the discussion be focused in fairly pragmatic terms.
I'll admit to struggling a bit here : "Physics is NOT pragmatic" ... ???
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
I used the example of a roto-rooter snake to roughly describe how torque can propagate through a mechanical system without recourse to virtual gyroscopes or anything nearly so esoteric.
Let me put it more plainly -- kokyu is not sprung torque, it is not LIKE sprung torque in a fixed form or otherwise-- even though torque forces are in play in any gyroscopic mechanism. Sprung torque is energy stored in strain the way a deformed spring operates. It still obeys gyroscopic laws when it begins to do work and expend that stored angular momentum.

The application of a torque to a freely moving gyroscopic system is resolved by an alteration of the inherent inertia of the system, causing it to tumble freely in three axes, unless it is restrained. This precessional cascade will reach equilibrium unless the input is maintained, but without any requirement of significant strain energy. The energy that would create twisting strain in the input axis is shifted to another axis and the inertia is eaten up in reorienting the body in that axis -- not on the axis of the input force. What is required is that there be rotational intertia already on the input axis to be transformed -- i.e. that there is a real attack happening.

Done imperfectly, the arm receives a component of torquing strain in the technique. Done well, the input axis receives none because there is no residual component of the input force in the torque axis of that limb. The wrist/arm/shoulder/spine/ tanden are all falling freely into the path of least energy.

Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
How is that a 'Chinese metaphorical method'? At least allow me the dignity of a proper dressing-down, and tell me that my method of argumentation is insufficiently rigorous for your purposes - if that's what you feel.
Testy, testy ... It was not a criticism -- only an observation, nor even a negative one. Chinese traditional knowledge is a highly rigorous system of metaphoric connections describing operative holistic principles in what the West would sometimes view as distinct and separate regimes of knoweldge. Sometimes, the Chinese approach to observational knowledge leads to valuable things that Western analytical theory paradigms do not easily admit as useful, although they can certinaly be understodd in those termns once that threshold of assumptions is overcome. My point was YOU are approaching knowledge in that mode, and not in the Western mode of analytic thought. It is not a bad thing, it just is.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
Okay, your approach to nikkyo has been registered. Would you say you can make this technique work on pretty much everyone?
Pretty much like nikkyo always works. Did I say anywhere that nikkyo is different than it is?
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
I haven't volunteered a description of kokyu - although I will say that I don't think 'kokyu' is really the primary factor involved in 'how joint locks transmit force' - although it almost sounds like you do. Note, I'm not saying kokyu is uninvolved in the application of joint locks, just that analysis of joint motion, etc. in locking techniques is probably not the right tree to bark up to *define* kokyu.
Probably not, since "joint locks" are not the principle on which aiki rests, nor does the application of kokyu require anything like a "joint lock" -- although they may well easily result from its application. The assumption the other way is a post hoc fallacy -- not a straw man.

Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
Why take an example meant to make a simple point, and twist it so far past its intended purpose.
To illustrate the limits of such forms of explanation.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
I think this conceptual strategy is part of the problem (if there is one) with your Gyro Theory. I could probably come up with a theory based on time travel ....


Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
Human bodies are *not* gyroscopes.
Anything that rotates obeys gyroscopic laws of mechanics. Period - no exceptions. Whether those dynamics or material strains predominate in a given movement is a legitimate mechanical question, and one which in the case of aiki is resolved in favor of dynamics and agasint material strain.

Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
The complexity comes from the subject matter itself - which is perfectly adequate to obscure it from those not willing to work hard just to 'get it'.
Another hint of the 'elect' sensibility that I find of concern to the future of the art. This is not koryu. We have no "ultimate secrets' to hide for the chosen trusted few that are made menkyo kaiden. All the secrets are in the open for the taking It is meant to be more missionary and far less exclusive than you seem to assume. Perhaps my reading of your intent is in error, but the theme is there throughout this discussion.

Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
According to the logic implied by your argument, everyone's Aikido would be improved by prematurely accelerating the degeneration of their bodies then, right?
I have known of none in aikido of any sufficient experience in the art who would not agree that to the extent the movement requires less overt strength -- there is more aiki in it.

[I'll respond to the balance of your post a little later]

Last edited by Erick Mead : 10-01-2006 at 02:56 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 10-01-2006, 04:55 PM   #62
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
I think most people would understand that one earns the right to make those kind of statements (which then convey something meaningful) by being the kind of person who *obviously* has been there and done that in terms of the overt part of an art which their are *finally* de-emphasizing - as an unquestioned master.
From strawman, to post hoc and now to the fallacy of authority. Quite a rhetorical tour we are having. Keep score, someone.

The point of physics (indeed the entire Western theory of knowedge) is that it does not depend on authority for verification of knowledge. The West has a poor track record in bending to the counsel of authority... Nor, frankly, did koryu budo. They were frighfully, even brutally, empirical in their testing of efficacy. But not analytically so. Analytical thinking has had one or two minor uses in advancing "practical" budo. Aikido as praxis is not primarily concerned with that same aspect of "practicality." But that hardly means it could not benefit at all.

Most gendai budo have taken up at least one of two other aspects of Western modernity, and in some cases both:: Sporting competition and commercialism. Aikido has taken a tack affirmatively away from both. Those are not the only aspects of Western culture on offer however. I am attempting to relate aiki to other aspects of Western thought, specifically its analytic tradition, which is potentially applicable, and see where it leads.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
Well, I'd say it's a necessary but not sufficient condition for a brilliant performance. I would not want to skip the tuning step at all.
Who's twisting who, now? I hardly said (nor even implied) that the body could be "out of tune" and still do good aikido. O-Sensei was keenly "in tune" until his death, and deadly effective whle being fragile physically notwithstanding that.

If aikido depended on strength we should swing sledge hammers in practice, rather than merely in discussion groups. O-Sensei went down that particular road of tanren about as far as any budoka in memory, and came back suggesting strongly that it did not lead where he wanted to go. My point is that the most important time in practice is spent not in obsessively tuning the insturment but in working through the playing of the music, and even -- maybe -- even considering the math that underlies that beauty.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
It's probably better just to slap some working math on a good practical theory than to try to get involved in the theoretical project of simultaneously discovering some nifty math *and* evolving a pragmatic theory.
And yet, thus were nuclear weapons made possible... So I doubt seriously that a good case can be made to show that "nifty math" does not advance "practical" budo, in principle ... Artillery, anyone ...??
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
I think turning that training into 'theoretical science' might be a mistake ...
I am doing nothing of the kind, nor have I suggested so. I am working on an interpretation of aikido AS IT IS in Western analytical terms. I am proposing nothing at all regarding training, in which I find no fault in either technique or many of the teaching paradigms in use; I seek to broaden the physical references used to teach the concepts that we train to apply.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
It's not really possible to argue too strongly against a theory which bases itself in extremely elaborate mathematical constructs and orients itself as being scientific and rigorous
Of course it is -- you just haven't done it yet. First, it is not a theory, much less a new one. Gyroscopic dynamics is a proven system of practical mechanics (but no more 'uncommon' than is, say, aikido technique). The biomechanics of human balance remains more developmental, but aikido has a great deal of information to contribute to that development. By virtue of my actual experience, I can see these as related bodies of knowledge, which I offer for consideration, further development or even substantive refutaiton by anyone who chooses to engage the issue.

The proposition is that gyrodynamics is usefully descriptive of aiki technique. Where that proposition leads ultimately I do not know, any more than I know how a randori may progess, nor is it my concern -- it seems useful to explore -- I will explore it.
I acknowledge the suggestion of the connection is somewhat novel. So if you disagree, trying applying some rigor to giving an actual case in technique that challenges its applicability, something more rigorous, say, than the image of sewer snakes as metaphor for aiki techniques. Robert's question on the "pushout" exercise was a good effort, although his intended point could be made clearer, which I certainly invite.

Physics is not a metaphor. I may be proved wrong; but I must be PROVED wrong. Too much military training and law practice under the bridge to do otherwise. But, do your best. I've asked for it by bringing the point up.

However, rhetoric is not a substitute for substantive arugment any more than hand flourishes substitute for irimi. If you hit me solidly, I will alter my line of thought, in acknowledgement of a demonstrated vulnerability. But until you do, why should I alter my own movement? That spirit of the koryu does survive in the aiki I have been taught.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
I can respect the somewhat heroic stance of using yourself as the test subject for this cake your baking, but how would you feel if someone else got sick from eating it? That's the question people who teach - but especially those who also devise their own theories - should be asking themselves, in my opinion. It's an extremely delicate area - because it's not just about personal prestige: there's a question of ethics, intellectual honesty, and general social responsibility.
"Don't go that way, no one has ever gone that way before!" I am unsure of the utility of that that form of self-fulfilling prophecy, or the underlying tautological argument it illustrates. Another irimi aspect of Western culture worthy of note -- we tend to ignore arbitrary barriers in pursuit of learning.

I am working through exploration of reasonable questions based on well-understood issues of mechanics in an open discussion in as transparent a manner as I know how. And in one magnificently drafted paragraph (really - nicely done) -- I am treated to backhanded sarcasm -- damning me in the faintest possible praise -- branding me as basically megalomaniacal, unethical, intellectually dishonest and socially irresponsible.

Hmmm. While I know I am not that good, I suspect I cannot be THAT bad either. Add "ad hominem attack" to the list -- while we're keeping score on the empty rhetoric.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 10-01-2006, 05:06 PM   #63
Tim Fong
 
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Rob's question was crystal clear. Can you replicate pushout the exercise he posted? Then as an addendum, can you, using the understanding gained through your gyrodynamics model, teach another person to do the exercise?

Can you replicate it with a partner who is , say 50 percent heavier than you who can bench press twice your bodyweight? Can you teach a student to do the same?

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Old 10-01-2006, 05:20 PM   #64
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
But giving the sense of what is POSSIBLE before it is learned, this drives people to continue the path. And in seeking to deepen understanding requires a deeper body of knowledge that is accessible to the seeker. The mystique of the unfamiliar works for some people, up to a point -- and not for others at any point.
This probably gets to the issue. It's not really clear where you think your theory falls on this spectrum. What I would call the 'traditional paradigm' provides both benefits you cite. If your theory does, then I think it's in a slightly different way. There is mystery in trying to solve unsolved equations, and in trying to do so, one might learn a lot. On the other hand, this is a completely different kind of learning (with far fewer guarantees) than that associated with simply absorbing an already-understood body of knowledge.
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Erick Mead wrote:
Some view Aikido as a exclusive body of learning -- one is initiated and the fundamental secrets may ultimately be revealed. I do not believe this is true to the vision of the Founder.
I do not subscribe to the 'train for years and years and maybe you will get it some day theory'. Insofar as *correct* instruction may be termed 'initiation', then *yes* I think the art is esoteric - but I see no reason why the *basics* which cut across many arts and which are essential to Aikido need to be shrouded in mystery. Everyone should know the basics: what they can actually develop and do with them is up to how hard they want to work.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Aikido has no secrets, or more accurately, its secrets are hidden in plain sight.
I don't know, Erick. I understand the rhetorical point you are making - but it's a big problem if people have somehow failed to learn the non-secrets, and if a pedagogical tradition emerges in which people are trying to learn from those who also don't know those things which are 'hidden in plain sight' - then you might say they are gone, and they have become secrets. It's a danger, in my opinion, because it's extremely obvious that a lot of people (and I am included in this) do not just *figure out* these things based on exposure to the waza, etc. And since it *is* possible to communicate them without *too much* difficulty, I have to wonder about any rhetorical position that denies the importance of doing this. Go back to my instrument-tuning analogy. Is instrument-tuning a secret? It might become one if it were not taught to musicians, but it *should* just be part of the culture. The problem seems to be an aikido culture in which instruments are habitually played out of tune. I'm not citing or indicting anyone, just making an observation based on my own experiences. As I said, I include myself for many years in this; I wish some important things had been laid out for me far sooner in my training. I would not feel I had been deprived of anything by having the basics explained correctly by someone who actually knew them.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
I'll admit to struggling a bit here : "Physics is NOT pragmatic" ... ???
Correct on both counts. ;-)
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Let me put it more plainly -- kokyu is not sprung torque, it is not LIKE sprung torque in a fixed form or otherwise-- even though torque forces are in play in any gyroscopic mechanism. Sprung torque is energy stored in strain the way a deformed spring operates. It still obeys gyroscopic laws when it begins to do work and expend that stored angular momentum.
Without trying to argue the physics - because I don't want to use a Physics definition of kokyu, I would say that this statement explains your previous statement that you feel analogies to springs, and the use of the word 'pressure' are inferior to your gyro model. It seems that you do not account for the body's capacity to store and release energy through torsional deformation or the manipulation of internal pressure. That's fine - but if you are saying that, then you're placing yourself clearly in the spectrum of pragmatic knowledge on this topic. I don't have any need to argue about this: it's just good to be clear about what level of sophistication (in terms of actual usage) your theory is even trying to explain.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Probably not, since "joint locks" are not the principle on which aiki rests, nor does the application of kokyu require anything like a "joint lock" -- although they may well easily result from its application.
Hmmm, probably best to drop it then - since you introduced the topic in the first place, seemingly as an explanation of how kokyu works in your gyro model.
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Anything that rotates obeys gyroscopic laws of mechanics. Period - no exceptions.
Yes, but this isn't really saying anything. Obviously there are places where gyroscopic laws are an appropriate analytical tool and those where they are not - just like any other subset of mechanics. We're just disagreeing about whether this is a good place to try to apply these rules.
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Erick Mead wrote:
Another hint of the 'elect' sensibility that I find of concern to the future of the art. This is not koryu. We have no "ultimate secrets' to hide for the chosen trusted few that are made menkyo kaiden. All the secrets are in the open for the taking It is meant to be more missionary and far less exclusive than you seem to assume. Perhaps my reading of your intent is in error, but the theme is there throughout this discussion.
Yes, this is the crux. Let me clear up my position - in case it was not made clear earlier in this response. The topics to which I (and other posters) are alluding are what I would consider foundational basics. These basics seem, nevertheless not to be widely known, understood, taught, practiced, etc. Since this has happened, it could almost seem as though those arguing for knowledge of these basics are preaching a form of elitism: "we know something and you don't, so we're better than you". I think the reverse is true though. The real elitist position would be to stay silent and hold onto 'the goods' for oneself, creating an actual culture of secrecy. The open secret is that those who 'know' would - in most cases - really like to see others also know, because they understand that just 'knowing' is not enough without a lot of training and hard work. It only seems like an elitist secrecy kind of thing if those who don't know (I'm not putting you in a category, you can assign yourself wherever you like) are threatened by the possibility that they don't know something fundamental. Then you have a problem.

Imagine a world in which soccer had become a popular sport, but somewhere along the line, certain soccer leagues stopped using the ball. They might evolve incredibly elaborate 'forms' based on how 22 people might move in semi-spontaneous patterns, and some people might even get so far as to posit the idea that an 'imaginary ball' could be used to make sense of the otherwise overwhelming curriculum. If by chance, someone from a different league, where soccer was played with a ball happened to witness this event, they might try to introduce the actual use of a physical ball into the game. You can see how this might be almost impossibly painful and revolutionary to those who had gotten used to soccer-without-the-ball, but how it wouldn't really be a big elitist thing to the soccer-with-a-ball people. The use of the ball is not really something worth hiding - like, say, secret dribbling techniques might be. You can also probably see how the ball users would probably only want to spend a limited amount of time on the evangelism project, and would mostly be targetting those who were open to the idea of switching games - rather than wanting or needing to dismantle the soccer-without-a-ball institution.

I personally find soccer better with a ball, and I have witnessed the frustration of those trying to play soccer without one. I have also witnessed both kinds of reactions to the suggestion that a ball be used. I have seen great relief by those who have been trying to find the ball and just didn't know where to look; and I have seen hostility from those who are insulted by the suggestion that they may be missing something. I would be quite curious to hear from others who may have been or may be in a similar position - in terms of feeling there may be something missing from much Aikido, and in terms of possibly having discovered that something. I have a feeling that anyone who has their eye on the ball will be 'elitist' only by side effect if at all.

It basically comes down to an instance of the Emperor's New Clothes. Some people are saying, "The Emperor has no clothes," and are being labeled as elitists or as trouble makers. In the end, it comes down to who is willing to suck it up and admit what they haven't learned and find it - and who chooses to staunchly march down the street in his birthday suit. It doesn't matter to me where you fall on this spectrum, so I don't really think we need to argue indefinitely about your theory. I'm really just writing because I want others who don't really know about the existence of a pragmatic paradigm based on traditional training methodologies to know there is such a thing - so they can benefit from it *if they choose*. I'm glad I was able to track down a *foothold* into this kind of training, and I think there are others with the same mindset I had/have. Now that this topic has become a matter of public discourse, I think it's important that the simple explanations being offered are understood for what they are. That's all.

-ck
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Old 10-01-2006, 05:32 PM   #65
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

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Erick Mead wrote:

I am working through exploration of reasonable questions based on well-understood issues of mechanics in an open discussion in as transparent a manner as I know how. And in one magnificently drafted paragraph (really - nicely done) -- I am treated to backhanded sarcasm -- damning me in the faintest possible praise -- branding me as basically megalomaniacal, unethical, intellectually dishonest and socially irresponsible.
Erik, your irreverent use of science to question the sacred, borders on blasphemy. Don't you know that the earth is flat plane balance on a static pole with springs. To the stockade with you whilst we make preparations to burn you at the stake unless you repent of your gyroscopic beliefs.
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Old 10-01-2006, 06:11 PM   #66
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

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Tim Fong wrote:
You mentioned before that you spent a decade flying helicopters. When you were, say, taking off, were you thinking of gyrodynamic forces, resultants and so on? Or were you focused on how the controls felt, what the instruments looked like and how that related to you own sense of balance (i.e. the horizon etc?). I have a lot of respect for helicopter pilots -- having been in them a few times I realize how chaotic and unstable they are even in the best of conditions.
Once I had learned HOW they were supposed to feel, and got the feel of it burned into my motor pathways, very much the latter.

But having a conceptual scheme about what feelings and indications were important -- and why -- and what my actions might do -- and why -- and perhaps more importantly, what I could disregard and not act upon -- and why-- all of this aided me immensely in that process of learning far more efficiently, and, I might add -- more safely.

And without that purely conceptual learning I might not know about, or how to avoid, dangerous things like torque-induced ground roll (a highly counter-intuitive gyroscopic effect, I might add) and exceedingly deadly things like vortex ring state, that you usually get to experience once and once only (unless you are a test pilot with about eight thousand feet excess altitude to work with). In fact, the realm of negative knowledge, or things to AVOID doing in the fiorst place, is an area in which conceptual learning has distinct advantages -- one avoids having a well disciplined practice regime burning in well-practiced errors. It is in this area that secondhand wisdom of others is vastly superior to one's own firsthand wisdom by sad experience.
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Tim Fong wrote:
I've never met Rob. But we have corresponded quite a bit, and I've practiced the exercises that I've seen in the videos. I've also had the pleasure of having Mike show me how he develops the strength which we are discussing.

And after about 9 months, I can do the pushout drill to some degree. So to me, that speaks quite highly of the method that Rob and others are talking about.
What was your training experience in kokyu tanden ho /kokyu dosa exercises before that? How are they similar from your perspective, and if not, how are they different?

I could not really determine from Robert's post whether we were talking about different things. If not, then this helps me place Mike's posts in a much better perspective. If they are really different, I would like a better description of the process of the drill, the typical difficulties experienced, and the means you learned to resolve them, from your perspective.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 10-01-2006, 06:13 PM   #67
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote:
Erik, your irreverent use of science to question the sacred, borders on blasphemy. Don't you know that the earth is flat plane balance on a static pole with springs. To the stockade with you whilst we make preparations to burn you at the stake unless you repent of your gyroscopic beliefs.
Shame on you. The Earth rests on the backs of four immense elephants, standing on the shell of a giant turtle, and past that -- it's turtles all the way down ...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 10-01-2006, 06:19 PM   #68
Mike Sigman
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

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David Skaggs wrote:
Erik, your irreverent use of science to question the sacred, ...
I seem to have missed something here. What "sacred" tenets has Erick questioned? I thought he was merely "positing" (he said it was his position, meaning, I assume, he is doing no more than offereing a hypothesis) an as yet unproven idea. If Erick has "challenged" or "questioned" some established dicta, I'd like to know what it is.

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Mike Sigman
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Old 10-01-2006, 07:15 PM   #69
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

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Erick Mead wrote:
Shame on you. The Earth rests on the backs of four immense elephants, standing on the shell of a giant turtle, and past that -- it's turtles all the way down ...
And the individual elephants swaying to keep their balance must be in sync, tandem or shall I say harmony with each other to maintain the balance of the earth.

While imagery such as this is useful to some in understanding things, I prefer explanations in using scientific language in American English. Language that I already know and explanations that I can verify without learning different languages, cultures and philosophies.

Last edited by dps : 10-01-2006 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 10-01-2006, 07:15 PM   #70
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

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Erick Mead wrote:
From strawman, to post hoc and now to the fallacy of authority. Quite a rhetorical tour we are having. Keep score, someone.
It sounds like you *are* keeping score. My memory was that you had the straw man, then told me it was actually 'post hoc', but let's just not go down that road. The 'high school debate team' sparring is a little tedious - especially since we *don't* have a referree to step in and hand out the points.

To address your substantive point though, I think that *in a discussion of 'What is Aikido?' then referring to O-Sensei as an unquestioned master is probably a *reasonable* argument to authority. He did in fact found the art, and as I understand it sometimes defined the art with reference to his own practice of it. I'm not sure how looking at O-Sensei's practice and its context is really a 'fallacy of authority'. If you wanted to ignore how he trained, why talk about 'Aikido' at all?
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
And yet, thus were nuclear weapons made possible... So I doubt seriously that a good case can be made to show that "nifty math" does not advance "practical" budo, in principle ... Artillery, anyone ...??
Well, I guess I'm arguing to the audience who understands the important differences in how you would train to invent nuclear weapons or artillery, and how you would train to gain skill in a body-based art like Aikido. That's the extent of the case I want to make.


Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
It's not really possible to argue too strongly against a theory which bases itself in extremely elaborate mathematical constructs and orients itself as being scientific and rigorous
Of course it is -- you just haven't done it yet. First, it is not a theory, much less a new one.
Erick, while we're on the topic of rhetorical styles - I don't think it's conducive to discussion for you to snip the relevant part of my statement mid-sentence and continue to argue as though I have not addressed the point. I said, 'yet which does not actually make any falsifiable predictions nor propose any distinct theorems (provable or otherwise), nor even provide a unique or describable method of implementing whatever its practical application might be.' I'm not talking about gyrodynamics. I'm talking about your application of gyrodynamics to Aikido, which - fascinating as it may be (really) - seems too vague to discuss as though it is more than 'an idea'.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
I am working through exploration of reasonable questions based on well-understood issues of mechanics in an open discussion in as transparent a manner as I know how. And in one magnificently drafted paragraph (really - nicely done) -- I am treated to backhanded sarcasm -- damning me in the faintest possible praise -- branding me as basically megalomaniacal, unethical, intellectually dishonest and socially irresponsible.
Erick, you are the one inserting the emotional content and acting as though I am attacking you personally. I made it quite clear that my comments apply to everyone who teaches Aikido to the extent that they are 'building their own explanatory framework'. I think it's a serious undertaking, and that one has to be careful about misleading others. That's all. Insofar as I sometimes spout off ideas about 'how things work' I include myself in this. The only part of the statement (which you have interpreted as a character attack) which was directed to you specifically was my assertion that I respected your heroic stance. I think it's important for people to experiment with these things. Without personal, conceptual risk-taking, there can't be any progress (either individually or generally). I'm not attacking you and I respect the work you are doing in trying to come up with a pedagogical framework that works. My *general point* about *novel explanatory approaches* is that one needs to be careful not to err in terms of the 'social responsibility' aspect I mentioned. That could be applied to every one of us who is discussing this topic publicly, because people looking for real information have to make personal decisions based on what they read here. None of us is exempt.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Hmmm. While I know I am not that good, I suspect I cannot be THAT bad either. Add "ad hominem attack" to the list -- while we're keeping score on the empty rhetoric.
It's not about you Erick, and we don't need to keep score. If you can't hear that I'm addressing you out of fundamental respect for your intellectual process then there's not much point in discussion. We don't need to keep score of each other's perceived argumentation flaws, or anything of the sort. The topic of discussion, in my opinion is 'What is Aikido' - and I'm simply suggesting that the Gyro Theory, however good it is in some ways, is probably not the best core framework for answering that question.

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Old 10-01-2006, 07:24 PM   #71
Mike Sigman
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

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David Skaggs wrote:
(in support of Erick Mead's "scientific" explanation of how kokyu works) While imagery such as this is useful to some in understanding things, I prefer explanations in using scientific language in American English. Language that I already know and explanations that I can verify without learning different languages, cultures and philosophies.
So why not verify and let us know what you find. Here... do something simple. Analyse the simply thigh or chest pushes O-Sensei does on this video clip in terms of "gyro-dynamics".

http://www.neijia.com/UeshibaKokyu.wmv

They are pretty simple moves, yet they are the heart of kokyu-nage and without the spinning and turning of gyro's. Let's see some analysis. I can do and explain these things without resorting to angular momentum in any meaningful way, yet I don't consider myself particularly skilled. Perhaps I am just simple and ignorant... alas.

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Mike Sigman
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Old 10-01-2006, 10:16 PM   #72
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

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Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
On the other hand, this is a completely different kind of learning (with far fewer guarantees) than that associated with simply absorbing an already-understood body of knowledge.
I don't know, Erick. I understand the rhetorical point you are making - but it's a big problem if people have somehow failed to learn the non-secrets, ...And since it *is* possible to communicate them without *too much* difficulty, I have to wonder about any rhetorical position that denies the importance of doing this.
The problem is the self-selective nature of this group that is prepared to learn it without such difficulty. If all we teach are those that come looking, then well, of course, you are indisputably right. If we are seeking to broaden the exposure and reach those who may not have considered aikido, or know nothing about it, we have a different problem of threshold reference. We could take the callous commercial inducements route of the more common gendai and not care, or the sport route and promote the "bigger faster stonger" paradigm, but that would give up root principle and the deadly seriousness in the task of the art. All of that is inappropriate to aikido.
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Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
It seems that you do not account for the body's capacity to store and release energy through torsional deformation or the manipulation of internal pressure.
Not at all, or at least not in the way you, Mike and others seem to advocate. It is more correct to say that the strain form of energy storage is among the conceptual items that I specifically see that aikido is intended to avoid as unnecessary in application of technique. It is also correct to say that in an attack, that kind of "wind-up" joint loading is precisely the vulnerability that aiki exploits.

A torqued joint has potential energy (which can be released by a negligible disturbing input.) It also has established a plane of force orientation, and thus is exposed to distrubance without direct resistance on two other coordinate planes. Strain energy is what creates overt "feel." And technique that "feels" like almost nothing unitl it feels like the mat is striking my body somewhere is the epitome of performance in my experience as uke.

Applying or receiving subnstantial amounts of such strain energy in the body necessarily requires strength, or rather, strength is a major measure of the limits of both applications of it. Aiki technique does not require it, and is not limited by it, although it certainly can be applied to give or take it at need, and is often performed so as to give such results, it is the ultimate goal of training to dispense with it.

The only stored energy necessarily released and then recovered is a transient angular momentum, not a potential torque strain. I only receive such strain if I try to reject energy I gather or hold onto energy I release. If I let them both go, I am not under strain, because I allow the energy to move me as it will and retain no potential wind-up or tension energy to impart. I leave the energy in the movement.

Traditionally, nage gathers ki in the hara, transforming and then giving it form with technique and then gives it concrete connection through ki musubi and juji to another person, letting the all ki no kokyu pass by means of aiki technique maintained with kokyu tanden ho.

This is my analytical equivalent, by no means as succint, but by being less dense, perhaps more approachable. Energy is traded in a small, brief drop of the CG, losing potential and gaining kinetic energy. That energy is transiently stored as angular momentum in an additional excursion of the normal hip gyration of the existing balance sytem. By means of precessional transformations that angular momentum energy is transferred from hip to spine to shoulder to elbow to wrist. (These are also seen in training exercises such as funatori and furitama).

Nage's delivery of energy in technique is performed so as to fade to nearly nothing at contact -- where the actual energy at contact is nil, but the potential energy again reaches a maximum (cresting the hill). Nage's actual momentum energy, at nil on contact, is very naturally brought into synchrony by perpendicular plane to uke's attack momentum, which is at maximum actual energy for delivery on one plane, but close to nil in actual energy on two of three coordinate planes.

Then the gyrational cascade back into uke's balance system is begun by technique along the line of least strain -- cascading that angular momentum energy back downhill, using the obverse of the mechanism that delivered it, and adding to it the gyrationally transformed momentum of the attack. This propagates back down the same chain into the center of uke's balance center, with the excess of his attacking energy disrupting its normal gyration beyond recovery limits, and providing nage postural advantage. As it is a purely rotational transformation that occurs along the line of least strain with negligible induced strain energy, uke does not feel "resisted" by the reaction or strain energy that creates "feel."
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Probably not, since "joint locks" are not the principle on which aiki rests, nor does the application of kokyu require anything like a "joint lock" -- although they may well easily result from its application.
Hmmm, probably best to drop it then - since you introduced the topic in the first place, seemingly as an explanation of how kokyu works in your gyro model.
If you may recall, my example with nikkyo was specifically with the other joints unrestrained from rotation, and thus not capable of being "locked" so as to illustrate that natural rotational transformation. Nikkyo as a joint lock is an application of strain energy that occurs by restraining the natural rotations, and a resulting occurrence -- a contingency, but not a principle of action.

We should train nikkyo with sufficent "feel" to maintain form and so students know what is happening in that rotation and their good connection with it, and strive to lose that feel without losing the connection. With proper ki musubi in the technique, every joint is moving simultanouesly in three axes and no joint ever achieves sufficient positional stability for uke to focus the resistance that creates the lock.

Even in kihon, the lock is uke's to create, not mine to apply, although I certainly can if I choose to, and do for training or demonstration purposes. But for good training what I really need is an uke who continues his attack, and therefore makes nikkyo work on my choice of form but HIS choice of energy. Given my druthers, I'll happily stand there until he continues his attack -- and locks himself up.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Anything that rotates obeys gyroscopic laws of mechanics. Period - no exceptions.
Yes, but this isn't really saying anything. Obviously there are places where gyroscopic laws are an appropriate analytical tool and those where they are not - just like any other subset of mechanics. We're just disagreeing about whether this is a good place to try to apply these rules.
Please frame the elements of your disagreement to show why these rules are not admissible for a given technique or aiki movement. That's all I ask. Contradiction is not argument -- Monty Python notwithstanding ...
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
Yes, this is the crux. Let me clear up my position - in case it was not made clear earlier in this response. The topics to which I (and other posters) are alluding are what I would consider foundational basics.
Then cease alluding, please. "S'plain! S'plain!"
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
I personally find soccer better with a ball, and I have witnessed the frustration of those trying to play soccer without one. ...
I personally find soccer better with a very tall bourbon whisky, preferably two, as it does seem very nearly entertaining at that point, or at least marginally more so than the grass growing under their feet ...
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
Some people are saying, "The Emperor has no clothes," and are being labeled as elitists or as trouble makers. ... I'm really just writing because I want others who don't really know about the existence of a pragmatic paradigm based on traditional training methodologies to know there is such a thing - so they can benefit from it *if they choose*. ... I think it's important that the simple explanations being offered are understood for what they are.
Which is anything but simple based on the articulations I have seen attempted here so far in this and other threads, or at any rate, no less complex or inhibiting than rotational dynamics.

Take the "pushout drill" as example (and the most concrete thing I have seen yet described). It seems to me that this is kokyu tanden ho, traditionally understood. I visualized while reading what was written and then did it and it fit quite neatly into my spectrum of kokyu ho repertory. If I am missing something in my grasp of what is being described -- please point it out. Or, point out some other exercises or techniques that illustrate the problem I keep hearing alluded to, but I have not yet heard articulated.

In my training career, I have been doing kokyu tanden ho/ kokyu dosa regularly in three different cadet branches of aikido -- mainline Federation Aikiaki, Iwama and ASU, in no particular order (four if you count my brief sojourn with Chiba, and not counting my intermittent training opportunities in Yoshinkan in Japan, who did not do it,at least while I was training).

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 10-01-2006, 11:41 PM   #73
Tim Fong
 
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Erick,

I think I am getting a better picture of what you are saying. And it seems to me like your model may make sense from an analytic perspective (thought I'd like to see a way to do some data analysis/motion capture etc)

So here's how I train (keep in mind I am pretty much a beginner at this aspect).

The best way to demonstrate what I mean by "pressure" is by showing a process by which you can also develop this feeling, since it's not something I can measure or show with scientific instruments _at this time_. That's a key comment. I AM NOT saying this is not measurable by science, or is not a regular explainable phenomenon. I just don't know what it is. I am open to investigating this with FMRI, motion capture, EEG or radioactive tracers in the blood , but I lack the facilities or the expertise to do that.

Onwards...so if you take a look at the yoga position "downward facing dog"
http://yoga.org.nz/postures/dog_yoga_instruction.htm

Once you get into the full posture, if you experiment with your breathing while staying as relaxed as possible eventually you'll feel that the the expanding and contraction of your body created by your breathing, changes the amount of pressure you feel in the palms of your hands (from the ground) as well as the feeling of pressure _inside the arms and shoulders. It will also change the feelings of pressure in your legs and at the foot-ground interface, assuming you are flexible enough to have your heels touch the ground. (took me a year or so). You will have to build up the muscular endurance to reach this point, which can take a few weeks. that is, you have to be strong enough to hang out in the posture long enough to feel what's happening in your body. Hardcore yoga peeps call this "prana" and that's fine they can call it wtf they want but to me it's just a feeling, and not some metaphysical thing that involves channelling the power of the universe.

Okay so on to the breathing:
Basically there are two schools of thought on breathing. Some yoga ppl say that you should always breathe "abdominally." This does not mean you actually put air in your stomach. Obviously not. What it does mean is that when you inhale, you let your stomach muscles expand, and when you exhale it flattens toward your back. Your chest does not rise and fall much when you do this.

The second school of thought is that you should always keep a flat stomach. This is a pilates thing that you may be familiar with. For the non-pilates ppl, the flat stomach is the feeling you get if you put your fingers on spot where your inner thights meet your pelvis. When you do that and cough, those are the muscles you keep flat. If you do this, you flatten the stomach muscles toward the spine, and therefore when you breathe your chest will expand and contract.

If you get into the downward dog posture, then alternate the types of breathing you do in cycles (flat stomach/stomach expansion) you will begin to eventually feel the sensations I have outlined above.

Once you do that you will feel how what you are doing is feeling how the weight (mass times gravity) of your body is distributed, and how your breathing changes that.

The weight of the body is simply a force (f=ma) and of course you can create (some) force on/in your body (i'm not sure about the exact terminology here, nor how it works exactly) through muscular tension. The next step, once you can find the feeelings of pressure in downward dog is to recreate those feelings while standing up. You can do this by playing around with the tension created when you extend or contract your arms, flex your wrists, open your hands and do things like...make those weird hand positions (crane beak, sword hand, leopard paw, etc etc) you see in Southern Shaolin and karate (esp Okinawan karate)

Now take those feelings you can create in your arms and upper back, and recreate it while standing up. At my stage, I use some overt muscular tension to create the pressure, then try to let it go. When I set to do pushout, I create those feelings right before my training partner makes contact with my hands, and I strive to maintain them throughout. Once I accept the force of the other person, I try to feel it in my feet. I've noticed that the harder they push the more I feel like I am being driven into the ground. My theory is that somehow I'm translating the push in Z into a Y force that increases the normal on the shoe, and thus the force of friction which keeps me from being knocked back. Now that I think about it, I should get some scales and test this out.

As far as kokyu ho stuff, I never did it when I practiced hapkido. Once in a while one of my friends would teach what I now realize is a tension-based qigong exercise, but none of us (including him) realized how to use it to develop what we are discussing here.

This is kind of odd considering that a number of my former club mates were ranked (dan ranked in some cases) in aikido, but so it goes.
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Old 10-02-2006, 12:18 AM   #74
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
So why not verify and let us know what you find. Here... do something simple. Analyse the simply thigh or chest pushes O-Sensei does on this video clip in terms of "gyro-dynamics".

http://www.neijia.com/UeshibaKokyu.wmv

They are pretty simple moves, yet they are the heart of kokyu-nage and without the spinning and turning of gyro's. Let's see some analysis.
OK. Not the best images for kinematics of hip gyration, but hey, what the hell ...

Thigh push.

First- the attack is set in uke's Anterior/Posterior plane and it is oriented at a slight angle up from the ground.

I see five distinct movements by O-Sensei, all fundamentally part of kokyu tanden ho.

1) A set of the upper torso forward (and thus of the hips slightly back) which, is also a set of the hips slightly off line to O-Sensei's rear.

This slight teeter is rotation in uke's Medio Lateral M/L (cartwheel) plane, in which his attack is not oriented. It cannot be easily seen from the video, but my experience tell me that uke's attack is now slightly offline to his left, i.e. -- the vertical plane of his attack has been shifted left (counter clockwise) about the horizontal plane, by virtue of a rotation in the M/L plane. As a result his balance center is now left of the line and forward.

2) A horizontal gyration (tenkan) of the hips creates a draw rotation of uke tipping him forward toward kuzushi and left (on one limb of the hips' natural figure eight pattern);

This rotation by O-Sensei is in uke's horizontal plane, in which his attack is not oriented. It creates an increase of the A/P moment forward, which leads to further precessional aggravation of the left rotation of the line of attack. Uke is precariously in the edge of kuzushi to the left front.

3) The set of the hips is brought forward again as O-Sensei's torso straightens, warding uke's balance center from collapsing left of the line but closing the center line from recovery forward and right.

This slight reverse teeter is, again, rotation in uke's M/L plane, in which his attack is not oriented. This creates an opposite moment in uke's horizontal plane of rotation (clockwise) from the first teeter but now uke's balance is yet further forward and the rotation moment primarily brings his rear balance component in line along the left edge of that balance envelope. Uke now has virtually no moment arms against the ground to resist further rotations.

4) Then the natural return gyration (irimi - the other limb of the figure eight balance envelope) tips uke into rearward kuzushi and carries uke around out the back of his balance envelope along the left edge along the ikkyo line of the body in a rear roll, to effect the projection outside of his balance system.

The reverse of the first rotation in uke's horizontal plane yields the reverse rotation about the A/P plane, a toppling moment backwards.

5) O-sensei gives a firm irimi closure lean of the thigh out the ikkyo line to ensure the projection and "send him on his way."

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I can do and explain these things without resorting to angular momentum in any meaningful way, yet I don't consider myself particularly skilled. Perhaps I am just simple and ignorant... alas.
OK. Do that, please. Five easy pieces. No Japanese other than irimi tenkan and kuzushi. Not just what happens but why. Your turn.

Meanwhile I will work on the chest push. I can see it is the same, but the descriptioin needs to be laid out.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 10-02-2006, 12:36 AM   #75
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What is "Aikido"?

Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
It sounds like you *are* keeping score.
... Erick, you are the one inserting the emotional content and acting as though I am attacking you personally.
I've been a lawyer and aikidoka too long to care if someone attacks me or not. I just want to make sure it is a clean and direct attack -- THAT I can work with. The other stuff is just, well, not useful, and needs to be noted as such.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
I made it quite clear that my comments apply to everyone who teaches Aikido to the extent that they are 'building their own explanatory framework'.
I think my point is that I do not want "my own." I want to apply a framewrok that is beyond individual predilection or whim, and as close to universal as I can get.
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
If you wanted to ignore how he trained, why talk about 'Aikido' at all?
Because he said so. He developed aikido to shortcircuit his essentially unguided shugyo marathon exercises that led to it. I train in aikido to get what he got by the means he provided. Aikido does not recapitulate O-Sensei's life story, nor was it meant to.

Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
Well, I guess I'm arguing to the audience who understands the important differences in how you would train to invent nuclear weapons or artillery, and how you would train to gain skill in a body-based art like Aikido.
And saying that because they are differnt that analytic thought or nifty math does NOT apply is non sequitur. O-Sensei clearly believed that part of the disease was an essential element of the cure.

Subtlety in application and appreciaiton of force are the watchwords of both analytical physics and aikido. If we seek to train in a spirit that will remedy the very unhealthy budo of nuclear arms (and other technical accomplishments of warlike aim), we cannot shrink from addressing the spirit of aiki toward the budo that led to them, and that budo is largely framed by lots of "nifty math."
Quote:
Chhi'mčd Künzang wrote:
It's not about you Erick, and we don't need to keep score.
Well, where's the fun in that?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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