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Old 12-04-2006, 09:37 AM   #426
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
Mark,
The first time I cut with Dan ... pushed me toward a stand of white pine saplings and said "have at it."
...
Dan yelled at me and the other guys to quit cutting because he needed to keep some of the trees as a screen from the road. At that point, I realized he had just been using us as cheap landscape labor to thin out his pine grove.
OK, Dan. Now THAT is strategy ...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 12-04-2006, 09:43 AM   #427
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Erick's shortest...post...EVER.

We cleared out a pretty good swath of trees that day, I think there were 5 of us, counting Dan. The point was, the movement of cutting was natural and easily quantifiable in mechanical terms. It wasn't the blade doing the cutting. And, the movement was completely relaxed and natural.

It would be interesting to go to a sugar or bamboo plantation and watch how the most efficient harvesters cut. When I was in Nepal, I often watched women and men in the rice or millet fields, cutting the rice/millet straw with kukris. They could cut for hours with a relaxed posture and muscles, letting gravity do most of the work.
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Old 12-04-2006, 09:44 AM   #428
Mark Freeman
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
Mark,
The first time I cut with Dan (I'd been cutting air with bokuto/bokken for a few years, by that time, and had never held a "live" blade), he took an unmounted naginata blade he had forged, wrapped duct tape around the base for a "kashira" and handed it to me, pushed me toward a stand of white pine saplings and said "have at it." They varied in circumference from 1/2" to 3". Of course, I started with a half-inch trunk, being a bit apprehensive. When I cut through it easily, I moved on to 1" and eventually a 2" though it took me a couple tries to slice through that one (turned out it had a knot). Dan does 3" trunks easily, but he's a genuine Sword Guy (TM).

During the whole thing, I think my mouth was hanging open so wide the moths were flying in and out. I really didn't expect it to be that easy. You'd be surprised. I was. It gets addictive, by the way. Dan yelled at me and the other guys to quit cutting because he needed to keep some of the trees as a screen from the road. At that point, I realized he had just been using us as cheap landscape labor to thin out his pine grove.
Hi Cady,

Nice story, the most efficient way to cut something - get someone else to do it. No flies on Dan then eh?

I have little problem with the concept cutting small pine saplings/trees with a blade, obviously good fun, but like the boards used for karate 'demos' not all trees are the same. Try cutting a 3" hardwood tree in africa and you will likely be repairing both your blade and your hands Maybe Dan could prove me wrong, but I spent a fair amount of time out there and that wood is reeaally hard!

regards,

Mark

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Old 12-04-2006, 09:52 AM   #429
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Mark,
The worst thing about pine is the resinous sap. I had to use paint thinner to clean my hands.

You are right, that young trees are much suppler than old, dense wood, and the density of wood varies by species. But I can tell you right off that in my practice, I quickly learned the consequences of not cutting with proper form or blade acceleration. If I was "off" my technique just a bit, the blade bounced off the tree, and I was hacking. I took a little poetic license in my anecdote above; I didn't "score perfectly" each time. There were times when my form was substandard and I couldn't make the cut. When I tried again, re-focused, I was successful.

It is the same basic principle as board-breaking, Mass times acceleration, coupled with spot-on form and focusing the force/impact through the smallest possible point (in this case, a blade edge). But young pine trees, being fibrous, supple and full of sap, are a much more difficult subject than a nice kiln-dried peace of dead, 1" pine board. Even six or eight of them together. (I did my share of board breaking back in my karate days). Plus, when cutting a tree, you're cutting through (as opposed to with) the grain. I would rather punch or kick through those pine boards than a 1/2" pine sapling.

It would be unrealistic to try to cut through a mature baobob tree, of course. Or any tree beyond a certain caliper. The larger the circumferance and denser the wood, the more friction. Keeping an adequate rate of acceleration, beyond a certain point, would be impossible, and the blade would end up stuck inside.

These little games are meant to be nothing more than a physical expression of the principles you're practicing. By the way, saplings of any species are much suppler and less dense than their mature forms. But again, they do vary according to species, and I'd expect an eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) sapling to have a somewhat different internal texture than, say, ebony of the same caliper (By the way, I'm a professional horticulturist, so bear with me. ). But dense wood trees like ebony grow more slowly than a pine, and thus a 3" ebony is going to be a somewhat older tree than a 3" white pine, and with denser wood. It would be interesting to do a comparison cut. That's a test for someone of skill!

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 12-04-2006 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 12-04-2006, 10:14 AM   #430
Mark Freeman
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Cady,

trees are easy, try cutting an outstretched sheet of newspaper with a bokken, it's not as easy as it sounds - get someone to hold the sheet by the corners, creating a sharp tight line with the top edge, try cutting through the sheet with the bokken - if the cut is 'clean' the paper will part in two even peices, if not it will bunch up / or tear at the points being held. Trust me, you need alot of sheets to practice with. Using force makes for an awful mess, it really makes you concentrate on corect posture and letting the bokken do the work - even then, it is still more precise than it sounds.
Trees, pah, trees are for whimps

regards

Mark
p.s I wouldn't even try to cut a baobab with a chainsaw

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Old 12-04-2006, 10:29 AM   #431
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
trees are easy, try cutting an outstretched sheet of newspaper with a bokken, it's not as easy as it sounds - get someone to hold the sheet by the corners, creating a sharp tight line with the top edge, try cutting through the sheet with the bokken - if the cut is 'clean' the paper will part in two even peices, if not it will bunch up / or tear at the points being held. Trust me, you need alot of sheets to practice with. Using force makes for an awful mess, it really makes you concentrate on corect posture and letting the bokken do the work - even then, it is still more precise than it sounds.
Trees, pah, trees are for whimps
Mark, Mark. That's one of the most subjective demonstrations I've ever heard... and I don't see any reason behind it, TBH. I think my next-door neighbor's kid could do that one, since it is highly dependent on how the paper is being held and tensioned.

What next? Kirlian photography? (The "aura" is a function of voltage and frequency... very different from what is being represented).

Regards,

Mike
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Old 12-04-2006, 10:49 AM   #432
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
trees are easy, try cutting an outstretched sheet of newspaper with a bokken, it's not as easy as it sounds - get someone to hold the sheet by the corners, creating a sharp tight line with the top edge, try cutting through the sheet with the bokken - if the cut is 'clean' the paper will part in two even peices, if not it will bunch up / or tear at the points being held.
That is a very simple, effective and humbling exercise. Our iaijutsu instructor swears by it for correction of form. The rest of the dojo swears at the clean-up afterward.

Talk about criticality ... I tried improving my sense of that by cutting with the kissaki at a point below the top edge -- to get the aim point/arc path/hasuji better coordinated. You need to be closer than you might think you should be.

We haven't done it in a little while, but we did do test cutting tatami rolls last month -- clean cuts for the most part. Keep dropping the shoulder, though, and I still feel that long afterward. Flat cuts are still the absolute worst.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 12-04-2006, 10:56 AM   #433
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

East meets West - external vs. internal:

http://www.rhodesindia.com/news/index.shtml
(scroll down to metallurgy)

"After examining an iron bar that Richard cut in two with his sword, Saladin took a silk cushion from the floor and placed it upright on one end. "Can thy weapon, my brother, sever that cushion?" he said to King Richard.

"No, surely," replied the King, "no sword on earth, were it the Excalibur of King Arthur, can cut that which poses no steady resistance to the blow."

"Mark, then," said Saladin and unsheathed his scimitar, a curved and narrow blade of a dull blue colour, marked with ten millions of meandering lines and drew it across the cushion, applying the edge so dexterously that the cushion seemed rather to fall asunder than to be divided by violence. "

I heard a better version: Richard the westerner hued a mighty piece of wood in two with his broadsword. Saladin, the easterner, let fall a thin scarf of silk, and with a single stroke that scarcely disturbed the fall of the scarf - two pieces then fell to the ground.

Silk's expensive though......can i use rayon to train?

dave
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Old 12-04-2006, 11:05 AM   #434
Thomas Campbell
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

The story comparing Richard's and Saladin's sword cuts makes for a nice comparison of force v. subtlety . . . but the ability of a blade to cut falling silk probably has more to do with the quality of the blade edge than the movement skill of the person wielding the blade.

I don't know about paper. I use scissors, myself.
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Old 12-04-2006, 02:24 PM   #435
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Thomas Campbell wrote:
The story comparing Richard's and Saladin's sword cuts makes for a nice comparison of force v. subtlety . . . but the ability of a blade to cut falling silk probably has more to do with the quality of the blade edge than the movement skill of the person wielding the blade.

I don't know about paper. I use scissors, myself.
There is only one type of steel capable of that and even that edge has to be prepared and presented. Hundreds of Smiths have tried it and failed. The old tests was a test done with wootz steel on silk. Everything else slides off. Thats a clue.
Wootz steel is a different process from mechanical damascus aa well as the Japanese folding process. In many respects Wootz was the finest steel in the ancient world.

And yes cutting oak is harder than cutting pine and cutting dry bamboo is a different creature than green.

Lets get off this "cutting trees" stuff. It really isn't a strong point. I shouldn't have brought it up. Its more swordsmith stuff for me.

The martial art internal aspects are my own interests. So is spear work, that is a related but a separate topic. Still its tough to get folk to offer anything interesting.
Why did Ueshiba and Takeda do so much spear work?
Why did takeda and Kodo do jo work?

For technique?
Or for power?

Dan

Last edited by DH : 12-04-2006 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 12-05-2006, 03:11 AM   #436
Mark Freeman
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Mark, Mark. That's one of the most subjective demonstrations I've ever heard... and I don't see any reason behind it, TBH. I think my next-door neighbor's kid could do that one, since it is highly dependent on how the paper is being held and tensioned.

What next? Kirlian photography? (The "aura" is a function of voltage and frequency... very different from what is being represented).

Regards,

Mike
Have you tried it Mike? if so then explain your contempt in detail, if not, your comments are not worth much

It is not for demonstration it is for practice, it is highly unlikely that your next door neighbours kid could do that ( although you can't exclude beginners luck!). Maybe I'm just a novice after many years of training, I really found this practice to be of great use and very humbling when first tried.

I'm begining to wonder...Kirlian photography? what are you on?

regards,

Mark

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Old 12-05-2006, 07:19 AM   #437
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
Have you tried it Mike? if so then explain your contempt in detail, if not, your comments are not worth much

It is not for demonstration it is for practice, it is highly unlikely that your next door neighbours kid could do that ( although you can't exclude beginners luck!).
I dunno, Mark... the fact that you allow for possible "beginner's luck" should be enough to answer your question. There are too many variables, including as I said, the tension and way the the paper is held. I'm not into "sword-cutting", "paper tricks", and so on. It's usually more role-playing than I have time for. I suggest people practice the basics before they practice the gew-gaws.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 12-05-2006, 07:30 AM   #438
Mark Freeman
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I dunno, Mark... the fact that you allow for possible "beginner's luck" should be enough to answer your question. There are too many variables, including as I said, the tension and way the the paper is held. I'm not into "sword-cutting", "paper tricks", and so on. It's usually more role-playing than I have time for. I suggest people practice the basics before they practice the gew-gaws.
I allow the 'beginners luck' only so not to be absolutist

the fact that you see no benefit in sword cutting practice says nothing about the practice, more about you. As I said, it is not for demonstrating anything, only to help practice perfecting a type of cut. It is not a trick.
Role playing? what are you on? a question that seemed to pass by last time.

I'm all for practicing the basics, no points scored there

regards,

Mark

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Old 12-05-2006, 07:48 AM   #439
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
As I said, it is not for demonstrating anything, only to help practice perfecting a type of cut. It is not a trick.
Role playing? what are you on?
Do you carry a sword around with you, Mark? If not, why do you spend a lot of time perfecting your sword cut? BTW, I did western fencing for many years, so there are many things with swords which I practiced during most of my adult life.... so using a sword is something I can claim. However, generally I think that people should practice what they actually use. Why practice a correct sword cut, for instance, if someone only has marginal atemi skills? If you think about it like that, perhaps you'll see my point. Sword-cutting is cool, but not if one's other basics are not well-formed.

However, I will bear it in mind that you can do a cool newspaper cut with a bokken and I will tremble appreciatively.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 12-05-2006, 08:23 AM   #440
Jim Sorrentino
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Hello Dan,
Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
The martial art internal aspects are my own interests. So is spear work, that is a related but a separate topic. Still its tough to get folk to offer anything interesting.
Why did Ueshiba and Takeda do so much spear work?
Why did takeda and Kodo do jo work?

For technique?
Or for power?
Both --- but I bet you already knew that.

Rather than start yet another thread, I recommend that people interested in this line of inquiry read Ellis' excellent 8-part article, A Unified Field Theory: Aiki and Weapons, on his blog on Aikido Journal at http://www.aikidojournal.com/?author=8. It is not necessary to subscribe, although in my opinion, this series alone is worth the subscription price.

Jim
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Old 12-05-2006, 10:15 AM   #441
Fred Little
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
"Budo as love" and the Yagyu doctrine of katsujinken "life giving sword" are a close fit.
Erick:

Based on what little bit of exposure I have had to Yagyu Ryu Heiho -- of which I am not a student -- the Yagyu doctrine of katsujinken is not well-served by either the literal translation of "life-giving sword" or the formulation "budo as love."

It may be a fine "creative misappropriation" of a cryptic doctrine.

But that is a horse of a different color.

My .02 on a comparatively narrow point in this discussion, fwiw.

Best,

FL
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Old 12-05-2006, 10:51 AM   #442
Mark Freeman
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Do you carry a sword around with you, Mark? If not, why do you spend a lot of time perfecting your sword cut? BTW, I did western fencing for many years, so there are many things with swords which I practiced during most of my adult life.... so using a sword is something I can claim. However, generally I think that people should practice what they actually use. Why practice a correct sword cut, for instance, if someone only has marginal atemi skills? If you think about it like that, perhaps you'll see my point. Sword-cutting is cool, but not if one's other basics are not well-formed.
How can you pose the questions you do and then post the article on caligraphy and ki on the other thread, either you have two separate personalities or you are just yanking my chain for the fun of it
Of course I don't carry a sword, but I guess you practice with a shovel as that is what you seem to use the most
I don't spend alot of time perfecting my sword cuts, but I do like to practice with people that can cut 'properly' not just wave it around in the air. I do this for fun, not for your approval.

Quote:
However, I will bear it in mind that you can do a cool newspaper cut with a bokken and I will tremble appreciatively.
Good

regards

Mark

Last edited by Mark Freeman : 12-05-2006 at 11:03 AM.

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Old 12-05-2006, 11:01 AM   #443
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
How can you pose the questions you do and then post the article on caligraphy and ki on the other thread, either you have two separate personalities or you are just yanking my chain for the fun of it
Hmmmmmm.... bear in mind that I'm not assured your abilities in ki/kokyu skills are where Abe's are, Mark. Let's just put it delicately that I wouldn't ask Abe the same questions that I ask you.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 12-05-2006, 11:10 AM   #444
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

I share Mike's philosophy of practicing only what you are realistically likely to use (well, to some extent; I don't intend ever to kill anyone if I can help it...but even skills capable of being lethal can be adjusted to be non-lethal; and sometimes one must learn the whole thing just to have a full comprehension of the lesser thing). For that reason, I've never been as much "into" practicing classical weapon arts and I do not pursue them passionately today. However, it is part of my foundation and I spent some years in that training before moving on. What I learned there still affects my movement and comprehension of empty-hand disciplines I pursue today.

Thus, I would point out that there is much of value in such arts (btw, don't confuse them with sport versions such as kendo or Western fencing) because they do teach you how to move from the hara (dantien) and to move as a unified body, among other things. There is much to be gleaned from classical sword. In the ancient koryu, one started learning with larger weapons and gradually graduated to smaller ones and ultimately to empty hand. The principles are applicable across the board, adjusted to suit the size and purpose of each weapon, or the unarmed combatant.

Pracitioners of Ono-ha Itto-ryu, TSKSR, Yagyu Shinkage-ryu and other old classical weapons systems gain a very different experience than practitioners of kendo or fencing. The sword skills, while archaic, are appreciated as art forms unto themselves, but also as vehicles to learning principles useful for other, more modern applications -- with or without a weapon.

Cutting silk, watermelons, trees, etc. -- like karateka breaking boards -- are just "games" and demonstration exercises. They are not representative or indicative of the content of the art itself.

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 12-05-2006 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 12-05-2006, 11:17 AM   #445
Mark Freeman
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Hmmmmmm.... bear in mind that I'm not assured your abilities in ki/kokyu skills are where Abe's are, Mark. Let's just put it delicately that I wouldn't ask Abe the same questions that I ask you.
I have no idea whether my ki/kokyu skills are anywhere near the person you mention, as I have had no contact with Abe. Are my skills to be determined on the Mike 'o' meter before they have any validity. As "most of the aikido world" rank very low on it I'm happy to live in the parallel universe of "all those who practice aikido but haven't been ranked by Mike yet" ( there are more than you'd like to think Mike )

Don't bother putting things delicately Mike, it is completely out of character and doesn't suit you.

regards,

Mark

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Old 12-05-2006, 12:39 PM   #446
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
I have no idea whether my ki/kokyu skills are anywhere near the person you mention, as I have had no contact with Abe. Are my skills to be determined on the Mike 'o' meter before they have any validity. As "most of the aikido world" rank very low on it I'm happy to live in the parallel universe of "all those who practice aikido but haven't been ranked by Mike yet" ( there are more than you'd like to think Mike )

Don't bother putting things delicately Mike, it is completely out of character and doesn't suit you.
Oh no... are you striking back at with an imaginary "Mike o meter" because your feelings got hurt??? I hope not!!! Let me say it once again, Mark. If someone does something well, I'm anxious to tell him. If someone does something poorly, I'll tell them. I said I haven't seen you, so I withold judgement and you turn it into a personal attack. Maybe you're right to do so; maybe not. But let me say this.... if someone came onto an Aikido, Karate, Judo, whatever list and said "Hey guys!!! Just checking around on the side, it appears that maybe we've been missing something!".... they'd get a very negative reaction. All of us know that. So a negative reaction is a probable in these sorts of discussions, UNLESS you want to be self-effacing and very polite... in which case you will simply get ignored by the established "teachers". That's a proven fact and I'm sure many others will support the contention.

Secondly, you're not even in the same breath with Seisaki Abe. You *may* have some skills, but I've seen nothing you've written to support that beyond the rudiments. Maybe I'm wrong. Let's say I am. I'd still be reluctant to say too much positive without seeing what you do because I've personally seen (over the years) that when you give a positive appraisal, too many people immediately think "Aha! I'm there already". And this goes along with my cautions about "Oh Yeah". So fine... you worry about the "Mike O Meter" and make clever comments, but also consider the idea that we might meet someday and those clever remarks could come back to haunt you. And yeah... I'm goading to you to get better and better so you can impress the hell out of me. If I complimented you, you'd get lazy.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 12-05-2006, 12:53 PM   #447
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
And yeah... I'm goading to you to get better and better so you can impress the hell out of me. If I complimented you, you'd get lazy.
One of my goals now is to be noticeably better every time I meet you . Rob is also on this list, and he's only been working under Ark for three years now, so (and here begins the dewy-eyed dreaming) if he ever gets lazy, I may be able to pass him up.
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Old 12-05-2006, 01:05 PM   #448
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Tom Holz wrote:
One of my goals now is to be noticeably better every time I meet you . Rob is also on this list, and he's only been working under Ark for three years now, so (and here begins the dewy-eyed dreaming) if he ever gets lazy, I may be able to pass him up.
Yeah, but now that you've had input from Dan, Rob, and me, I definitely *expect* you to be well beyond the theory stage. I.e., instead of compliments which might lull you into a sense of camaraderie by the water-cooler, the heat is on!

I remember reading some posts on one of the other lists where the water-cooler syndrome had pretty much kept a few guys at wondering aloud for 15 years why they hadn't progressed much. I consider that part of my fault for having been too understanding.

You're on notice, Tom... and you helped put yourself there! This ain't no %#@*^ weenie-roast.

Mike

Last edited by Mike Sigman : 12-05-2006 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 12-05-2006, 01:17 PM   #449
Mike Hamer
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

This thread......wow. I'm not even close to a point of understanding all of this talk, but I'm still proud of what my thread has turned into! Almost 19 pages!

To speak ill of anything is against the nature of Aikido
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Old 12-05-2006, 02:12 PM   #450
Cady Goldfield
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 886
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Are you saying you're marking the quantity, not quality of it, Mikel?
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