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Old 11-15-2006, 09:48 AM   #26
ChrisMoses
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
I don't think the "ukemi" is what identifies the move as aiki. It's all in the first four seconds of the video. Stop it there and what do you have? A child is grabbed and without having been taught to do so, he enters into position for sankyo. Could you expect a better response from a beginner in a class you were teaching? That's basic aikido.
Sorry, don't see that at all. No connection from his center to yours at the moment of contact = no aikido! Simply moving with relaxation is not aiki. Moving with the correct ammount of tension in the correct places can be. Just turning in a circle is not aiki. Aiki is not simple, it's not natural, it's counterintuitive and very complicated.

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Second, as I've said before, I've been to aikido dojos where the sempai were barking "fall down faster!" because that's the way they do it. You once asked, "Why go to such a place?" Now I recall that it was a seminar run by a highly respected aikikai shihan--S. Sensei. That's the way they teach it. Why shouldn't a baby get as much cooperation as a grown man?
David
Well I guess that's a difference between us. I don't go to those dojos or train with those shihan. There are a lot of people living in a shared delusion of what aiki is and what it feels like. Just because they call it aiki doesn't mean I have to agree.
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Old 11-15-2006, 09:59 AM   #27
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Ditto,

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 11-15-2006, 11:20 AM   #28
John A Butz
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

But can the child replicate the principals of aiki at will, against resistance, in a stressful conflict, with consistency? That is the crux of the argument for me.

Children may manifest aiki movement spontaneously on occasion. So do first night white belts, football players(some great aiki in receivers, they just flow with the go), heck one of my cats has a wicked kitty-koshi nage. So I believe it is possible for anyone to do it right, on shear chance, because relaxed movement is effective movement. But, while relaxed movement definitely improves aiki, it is not all of aiki, as Chris mentions above.

We train to be able to consistently and predictably manifest these abilities in stressful situations with consistent and predictable results. The goal is control of the opponent and disruption of his balance, as soon as possible(preferably on contact). To be able to manifest those skills requires deliberate practice, experimentation, and a willingness to grow through failure. I am just not convinced that children can do that.

The goal of this training is to coordinate our bodies in ways that affect the opponents structure. That requires some tension, some stability, some relaxation, which will all be dependent on the situation. The body needs to be able to change and adapt as the situation changes and adapts so that you remain in control of the opponent. Again, relaxation is not all of it. I think some aikido people tend to fall back on "Relax" as a blanket correction for when we can't really tell what isn't working in the technique(I know I do more often then not), and that has lead some of us to a misunderstanding of what is really going on in the body.

Aspects of David's theory, such as the mental attitude of curiosity children have, and the relaxed strength of a baby's grip, are very valid, but by implying that children just manifest aiki spontaneously is skirting dangerously close to the edge of "idiot-savant aikido" where some folks just get it and can't pass it on or explain how they do it.

I do believe that introducing your child to martial arts at a young age will provide them with a useful skill set, and prevent them from acquiring some bad habits in regards to posture and movement. It can even lay the foundation for acquisition of more advanced skills as the child matures. However, I must part ways with the idea that we all had aiki when we were wee toddlers and just happened to lose it as we got older.
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Old 11-15-2006, 11:59 AM   #29
Basia Halliop
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Aikido involves human bodies and also involves the laws of physics such as Newton's laws, gravity, etc... small children, lke adults, have human bodies, human brains, and human senses of balance and live in a universe where the laws of physics apply. So I suppose in that sense I can see that Aikido shares some of the same roots... but there are only so many ways a human body can physically move or react. So far I'm really not at all convinced it means all that much if the occasional small child (or adult) happens to twist their arm in a particular direction -- the joints only turn so many ways, so if you wait long enough, I assume you'll probably see most of them.

Toddlers are getting used to their bodies and consiously or unconsiously experimenting with both balance and physical movement. In that sense, I could see the argument that ALL adult physical activities are in some way related to toddler movement.

Like the story about the little girl, though! I like how little kids are willing to experiment and learn for themselves that certain things work.

Last edited by Basia Halliop : 11-15-2006 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 11-15-2006, 12:28 PM   #30
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

There seems to be some sort of Rousseau-ean idea that if one just returns to some Eden of original movement one has "aiki".

Feldenkrais is an incredible system that will re-educate the body / mind in very deep ways. But I can guarantee you that an attack by someone with a committed attack will produce tension that is the result from fear. Just because the person is relaxed and moves naturally, doesn't mean he has done anything other than attain the pre-requisite for doing technique with "aiki". The ability to maintain that relaxation under pressure is a specialized skill.

Doran Sensei once told me that he had occasion to do training for some advanced Zen students. He was amused to find that these students, who had all the meditation and probably had the spiritual insights on a deep level, had all the same issues which a typical beginner had in terms of how to use the body.

"Aiki" in terms of technique REQUIRES relaxation of the mind and body but that doesn't mean that that's all there is to it. Aiki has to do with how and where you project your attention. It has to do with very subtle movement at the instant of contact which involves a great deal of sensitivity and an understanding of the geometry involved that one simply doesn't have without extensive training.

A highly trained practitioner of an "aiki" art will execute technique in what looks like a very natural manner. But a person who simply moves naturally, no matter how relaxed, cannot use "aiki" without the systematic application of other principles. There are teachers around like Don Angier Sensei of the Yanagi Ryu who have done a very good job of enumerating these principles. I maintain that the mind and body in no way will react to stress using these principles without a lot of re-programming and study of the specific principles involved. Other activities like meditation, Yoga, body work, etc can be of benefit when added to proper training but none of them in themselves will to anything at all for you in terms of understanding "aiki" in the martial context.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 11-15-2006 at 12:30 PM.

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Old 11-15-2006, 01:35 PM   #31
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
The question becomes, do you believe that the root of 'aiki' is simply efficient body mechanics or do you believe it is a system of strategies and intents that can be manifest into a recognizable system?
I think it is both. Firstly, I think the child did what we are constantly trying to do, and did so in a 'real' situation. We need to move natuarlly, but the problem here is, we need to learn to move naturally! Maybe we have forgotten what the baby knows. Secondly, we need to train in set ways to develop it into a more powerful and repeatable useable essence.

I think other arts do have aiki, or rather, some people within those other arts have a measure of it, but because they do not name it or aim for it, they do not know what it is, they cannot easuly develop it further, and they have and cannot, of course, pass it on. That is the difference. Aikido names it and aims to acquire it, yet even so, how difficult it is to ... get on track.

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Old 11-15-2006, 02:52 PM   #32
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
There seems to be some sort of Rousseau-ean idea that if one just returns to some Eden of original movement one has "aiki". .... Just because the person is relaxed and moves naturally, doesn't mean he has done anything other than attain the pre-requisite for doing technique with "aiki". The ability to maintain that relaxation under pressure is a specialized skill. ... I maintain that the mind and body in no way will react to stress using these principles without a lot of re-programming and study of the specific principles involved.
There is, however, a barrier to learning those things that comes very much from the level of awareness/response and the developmental change in perception and action that David is speaking to. It is probably a chicken and egg question -- but I sense that in developing aiki skills the one cannot occur without the other and vice versa.

Not to beat the dead sea mammal, but one can only speak authoritatively from experience, and mine includes -- (wait for it) -- a lot of swimming. A point was once made by a fantastic swimming coach of mine early on in my training. God help me, I was ten then, now I am forty, and she has coached my kids.

It had to do with the finish. The finish is a moment of critical concentration of simultaneous effort, relaxation and rhythm that is a peak experience very much akin to that of budo in how the body mobilizes its resources to give effect to the principles underlying proper technique.

Some guys (lookit me) had technique that went to hell the moment they began to "compete" seriously with the guy next to them. Those guys would start to beat the water furiously, as though it could submit to brute force, and lose all the breath (ki) necessary to finish strongly at the end. So there is an aiki lesson in here somewhere.

She said:

Don't waste energy struggling with the water -- it always wins.

Don't struggle for breath while under water -- it doesn't help.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 11-15-2006, 03:35 PM   #33
ian
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Chris,

Why make it a dichotomy? It's efficient body mechanics applied in strategic intent. Babies have the efficient movement because, as George Ledyard says, "...kids move in a manner that is natural because they haven't yet had the experiences that build up layers of tension in thier minds and bodies." And they're not doing anything other than the simplest movements that support their intent.

David
I know how to solve this - David, I hereby challenge your toddler to a fight!

I think you'll then agree that those 'natural aiki movements' as you call them do not have real application since aikido is more than just the movement (as Sensei Ledyard said).

If you can produce the same type of video footage when a todler is being attacked even by something its own size (e.g. a small dog) I would start to believe aikido (in its completeness) is natural within us. It is completely evident from your video that the todler is not unbalancing you, you are unbalancing you.

P.S. Erik - a couple of years ago when I learnt to swim properly (i.e efficiently instead of forcefully) I also saw so many correlates with aikido. Indeed it led to my belief that aikido training should really break down the movements into component parts prior to building them up (just like swimming drills). I would say there is no way that humans swim efficiently naturally (for those interested, 'Total Immersion' is the best book you'll ever get on becoming an efficient and fast swimmer)

Last edited by ian : 11-15-2006 at 03:40 PM.

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Old 11-15-2006, 04:24 PM   #34
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Erick, I appreciate your analogy to swimming and I agree thoroughly with your approach. It's also interesting to consider that babies lose the breath-holding instinct after they learn to sit up and are affected by the desire to be vertical in gravitation. Interesting points all around.

Gernot, I see what you're saying, but you're already on the level of "refining" the natural abilities into an art, while I am looking below the level of refined art to the raw materials from which the art is created.

It seems to me that almost everyone now believes that the martial arts were "figured out" or "thought up" abstractly by some genius somewhere and then worked out from an abstract concept of principle to a reliable application in human interactions. I used to believe that, myself, but now I see it more like production of wine. We sometimes hear of animals that get drunk off fermented berries and I suppose the first discovery of wine began with finding some of those berries. But while it is natural for berries to ferment if left alone, it's another thing to find enough of them to do anything with and quite another thing to find these berries on a consistent basis. You finally have to figure out what's happening in nature and cultivate that, then refine the process until you have a reliable and consistent way to produce the effects that we originally find in nature. And in many ways, the product so far exceeds the quality and appearance/effect of the natural product that one can forget entirely that it all comes from something that happens naturally in the world without human intervention at all.

Quote:
Gernot Hassenpflug wrote:
...it is entirely possible that many people will quickly pick up at a young age the "natural" way to let the body absorb such a force spectrum in the best possible way (i.e., to minimize injury and stress on individual parts), and also will build up requisite sinews, muscle and bone, and develop breathing and behaviour to enable existence in such a hostile environment.
From my observation, all children do this reliably unless they are psychologically or physically traumatized at an early age. But they tend to lose it quickly because it is such a subtle thing that it's easy not to notice its workings and because an older, experienced person can soon defeat even the best of naive babies. However, if the parent prevent's the child's being traumatized and actively guides their development to cultivate these responses, I believe that a great, refined skill can be developed while they are very young. A good example is the son of Akahori Sensei, the judo teacher at the Yoseikan in Shizuoka. I met that boy when he was twelve years old or so, doing judo like everyone else. But he was being raised by a master of judo, 24 hours a day, and by the time he was fifteen, although he still was not terribly large or muscular, he had become unmoveable for me and I was nearly 40.

Quote:
Gernot Hassenpflug wrote:
...clearly most people never learn such a mode of movement, nor develop their bodies for it. Exercises for this development exist, as Mike Sigman, Robert John, Dan Harding and others have in several cases explicity described, and their practice is gruelling, exactly because the hostile environment I described above (or a vastly more complex superset thereof) is being mentally duplicated and simulated.
I think these things can be developed in a natural lifestyle without their being experienced as "grueling" if the child is never led away from his natural mode of movement. That doesn't mean that he keeps moving "like a baby," but that the baby evolves through adventurous interaction with the world, climbing, digging, pulling, pushing, even wrestling, etc., into a well developed adult. If an experienced teacher introduces the important principles into such a natural life, they will act like yeast and make the refinements in a natural process that will not be perceived as anything special at all. It's like the Zen saying that Zen practice is like walking in fog. You never notice it while you're in it, but when you go inside, you find that you're soaking wet.

So the final art is neither entirely natural nor inevitable, but must be built on natural materials to be reliable, consistent and replicable.

Best wishes to all.

David

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

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Old 11-15-2006, 04:34 PM   #35
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
Aiki is not simple, it's not natural, it's counterintuitive and very complicated.
Chris, while I would like to agree with you, I prefer to agree with O-Sensei that aikido is natural movement.


Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
Well I guess that's a difference between us. I don't go to those dojos or train with those shihan. There are a lot of people living in a shared delusion of what aiki is and what it feels like. Just because they call it aiki doesn't mean I have to agree.
It's not really a difference, because I haven't gone back and I've never gotten along well with anyone who had that attitude, but from what I've seen, that's the prevalent attitude for black belts.

On the other hand, we are discussing beginners. How much resistance would you give a sixteen-year-old beginner in lesson #1?

David

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Old 11-15-2006, 04:56 PM   #36
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
John Butz wrote:
But can the child replicate the principals of aiki at will, against resistance, in a stressful conflict, with consistency? That is the crux of the argument for me.
Well, who really can consistently show aiki at will? It depends on many factors. It might take decades of training to be able to "do aikido" consistently and at will against "any and all" attackers. If that's the case, then only a few eighth dans even do aikido at all.

Quote:
John Butz wrote:
while relaxed movement definitely improves aiki, it is not all of aiki, as Chris mentions above.
Well, first, it's not simply relaxed movement. It's relaxed, balanced, centered and in timing and harmony with the obstructive movement of another person. And at a certain phase of child development, it is reliable.

Quote:
John Butz wrote:
We train to be able to consistently and predictably manifest these abilities in stressful situations with consistent and predictable results.
And yet, many people go decades and still cannot reliably do aikido on "any" comer. I think a large part of that is because of a real illusion of what aikido really is. As Jesus said, "Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

The problem is that most people are trained "away" from "the way that they should go" early on in life. Before they can be trained away from the right way, children frequently demonstrate aiki movement. Social stress is what squeezes that ability out of them with physical/emotional tension, which changes everything about how they relate to the world.

Quote:
John Butz wrote:
The goal is control of the opponent and disruption of his balance, as soon as possible(preferably on contact). To be able to manifest those skills requires deliberate practice, experimentation, and a willingness to grow through failure. I am just not convinced that children can do that.
Well, re-read Mikel Hamer's first post on this thread. The little girl did a beautiful tenkan with the cell phone and the boy tried to follow and fell down. Sounds just like Tohei or Ueshiba.

Quote:
John Butz wrote:
The goal of this training is to coordinate our bodies in ways that affect the opponents structure. That requires some tension, some stability, some relaxation, which will all be dependent on the situation. The body needs to be able to change and adapt as the situation changes and adapts so that you remain in control of the opponent. Again, relaxation is not all of it.
And relaxation is not all the baby does. They wriggle, they squirm, they drop their weight, they pull, they push, they twist and turn and all directly in time with what you're trying to do with them. When you want to put the diaper on the baby and he doesn't want you to do it, you can have a hard time getting it on him. Those whole-hearted and whole-body movements are something a martial artist should aspire to.

Quote:
John Butz wrote:
I think some aikido people tend to fall back on "Relax" as a blanket correction for when we can't really tell what isn't working in the technique(I know I do more often then not), and that has lead some of us to a misunderstanding of what is really going on in the body.
I don't think I have ever emphasized "relaxing" as the core of how a baby expresses aiki. Especially if you read the aikido journal blog entry Roy Klein linked. The baby drops his weight, turns, pulls, pushes, squirms and moves to the position where you are weakest and he is strongest. It's willful movement with all the force he can summon. It's real "shuchuu ryoku" or concentrated strength.

Quote:
John Butz wrote:
I do believe that introducing your child to martial arts at a young age will provide them with a useful skill set, and prevent them from acquiring some bad habits in regards to posture and movement. It can even lay the foundation for acquisition of more advanced skills as the child matures. However, I must part ways with the idea that we all had aiki when we were wee toddlers and just happened to lose it as we got older.
Actually, it disappoints me to see parents dress their kids up in dogi and put them into lessons on the mat--especially pre-school children. That's when the parents can be learning from the children.

I think that most people who don't accept this idea either have never had children or were at the dojo when their children were going through these levels of development unobserved. Then, later, when they have lost the "nature"of aiki, they have to have it "re-programmed" into them as "second nature."

David

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

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Old 11-15-2006, 05:06 PM   #37
ChrisMoses
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Smile Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Chris, while I would like to agree with you, I prefer to agree with O-Sensei that aikido is natural movement.
After a lifetime of study it probably felt pretty natural. I played guitar for years and years, and even though I hardly ever practice now (and haven't regularly for probably 10 years) I can still pick up a guitar and burn through scales up and down the neck. It feels completely natural to me, but I remember how very difficult it was to learn, and how unnatural the shapes of the hand needed to be to accomplish those very scales.

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
It's not really a difference, because I haven't gone back and I've never gotten along well with anyone who had that attitude, but from what I've seen, that's the prevalent attitude for black belts.

On the other hand, we are discussing beginners. How much resistance would you give a sixteen-year-old beginner in lesson #1?

David
Well then why do you keep bringing them up as justification for experiencing aiki where there is none?

As for beginners, we don't have many beginners where I train now, almost everyone there has at least one blackbelt or blackbelt level skill in at least one art. The only beginner we have is a relative of my teacher, and is about that age. He has to put up with the same level of resistance as anyone. His first day he didn't get to throw. In fact he just took ukemi and lifted weights for the first six months. The first day he got to do a technique (osoto gari) I gave him more resistance than I would for most mid level students in a typical aikido dojo. Strong constant resistance so that he had to actually accomplish the goal of the exercise. No backleading at all. He did great and is coming along really well in a very short period of time.
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Old 11-15-2006, 05:08 PM   #38
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
I know how to solve this - David, I hereby challenge your toddler to a fight!

I think you'll then agree that those 'natural aiki movements' as you call them do not have real application since aikido is more than just the movement (as Sensei Ledyard said).

If you can produce the same type of video footage when a todler is being attacked even by something its own size (e.g. a small dog) I would start to believe aikido (in its completeness) is natural within us.
If what you say is relevant, then your aikido would have to be effective against someone 18 feet tall and weighing about 1600 pounds (considering that I am about three times my child's height and about 9 times his weight, guessing you are about 6 feet and 180 lbs. [90 kg, apx]).

Do you suppose your aikido would be effective against someone that size, who had thirty years of aikido experience with beings of his own size?

Does that mean that your aikido is not aikido?

What we're talking about here is the "ROOT" of aikido. That it is an innate part of the human nervous system, that aiki is natural to human beings and that it must be cultivated--not that babies are already full-blown masters of aiki-jujutsu. We are all born with the roots of it and we can develop it from those roots with guidance or we can attempt to "program" it into ourselves, based on something other than our natural nervous responses.

Lacking someone 18 feet tall and 1600 pounds, do you suppose your aikido would work against, say, Jon Bluming?

Best wishes,

David

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

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Old 11-15-2006, 05:18 PM   #39
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

David Orange wrote:

I haven't gone back and I've never gotten along well with anyone who had that attitude, but from what I've seen, that's the prevalent attitude for black belts.
David



Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
Well then why do you keep bringing them up as justification for experiencing aiki where there is none?
Frankly, the shihan in question could probably convince even you that he knows aikido. I just don't like the way he teaches people concerning ukemi. When he saw my ukemi, he announced to the class that that was "judo ukemi" and that it was bound to lead to injuries. Also, I didn't refuse to fall. I just didn't fall when the technique didn't cause me to fall. I understand that this is because, in the shihan's case, he would knock you down with atemi if his general movement didn't cause you to fall. Frankly, most of the students there could have hit me with full power without knocking me off balance, though I believe the shihan could have done it. I would never say that he didn't have aiki, but that method of teaching does not seem to be passing on the essence of aikido to modern students.

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
As for beginners, we don't have many beginners where I train now, almost everyone there has at least one blackbelt or blackbelt level skill in at least one art. The only beginner we have is a relative of my teacher, and is about that age. He has to put up with the same level of resistance as anyone. His first day he didn't get to throw. In fact he just took ukemi and lifted weights for the first six months. The first day he got to do a technique (osoto gari) I gave him more resistance than I would for most mid level students in a typical aikido dojo. Strong constant resistance so that he had to actually accomplish the goal of the exercise. No backleading at all. He did great and is coming along really well in a very short period of time.
And is that what your own first experience was like? Is that how you would start an eight-year-old?

David

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

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Old 11-15-2006, 05:22 PM   #40
ChrisMoses
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
I think these things can be developed in a natural lifestyle without their being experienced as "grueling" if the child is never led away from his natural mode of movement.
This quote was in reference to "...clearly most people never learn such a mode of movement, nor develop their bodies for it. Exercises for this development exist, as Mike Sigman, Robert John, Dan Harding and others have in several cases explicity described, and their practice is gruelling, exactly because the hostile environment I described above (or a vastly more complex superset thereof) is being mentally duplicated and simulated."

Having spent a couple hours with Rob and the Aunkai and a few weeks working on their basic exercises (in addition to some of our own compatible solo work that I'd already been working on) I can say that in my own experience neither the teaching methodolgy nor the skills themselves are natural or intuitive. In the interest of full disclosure, I don't think the skills they're teaching exist anywhere within mainstream Aikido, but they would go a long way towards explaining people's reactions to OSensei should he have picked them or something like them up along his path. (Ellis' blog over on AJ about solo spear work is a good related read). It was also obvious how the skills/abilities that they're working on would be immediately applicable to ones Aikido in a very beneficial way.
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Old 11-15-2006, 05:27 PM   #41
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
David Orange wrote:
Frankly, the shihan in question could probably convince even you that he knows aikido. ...in the shihan's case, he would knock you down with atemi if his general movement didn't cause you to fall.
There's a lot of behavioural conditioning in mainstream aikido. It's destroying the art. I've dealt with similar teachers, possibly even the same one. I just don't deal with them now, and don't use their actions to justify anything.

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
And is that what your own first experience was like? Is that how you would start an eight-year-old?

David
No I wasted a lot of time. I would start an eight year old in judo and let them learn about kuzushi and have some fun.
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Old 11-15-2006, 05:40 PM   #42
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Re: Aikido: Three in a row!

I should point out that one of the problems with talking about what Aiki is, or Aikido is or should be is that different teachers, organizations and practitioners have wildly different takes on what those words even mean. For some lines of aikido moving the whole body as a unit in large motions is correct, for what we do that's completely wrong. So I should conceed that what you may be practicing as aikido may indeed be found in the movements of babies, but I have found that the stuff that really works on me and for me is far from intuitive or something which I feel was unlearned. For example, it is not intuitive to have a very relaxed hand, bicep and major pec simultaneous to having flexed triceps and shoulder/back muscles while grappling, but that's one example of how we *sometimes* transmit force. These skills are very hard to develop and don't reflect how humans natually move.
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Old 11-15-2006, 05:46 PM   #43
Mike Hamer
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

On another note, before the little girl did this, me and my friend were talking about baby's being full of a natural positive outlook, or positive ki if you will. The girl walked by us, and my friend looked at her and said " Life is beautiful, isn't it?" The little girl just started laughing.

To speak ill of anything is against the nature of Aikido
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Old 11-15-2006, 05:51 PM   #44
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

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Christian Moses wrote:
I would start an eight year old in judo and let them learn about kuzushi and have some fun.
So where do you start an 18-month-old?

I think he's doing just fine. The second step, which he's already entered, is a game called "get your nose." I gradually got him interested in grabbing my nose, then I got him to keep going for it even when I evaded with "chi sao" types of parries. Then I got him to keep going when, after evading his grabs for my nose, I would grab his. Now, at age two, he is continuing to go for my nose while rather effectively parrying my attempts to get his nose. By the time he's four, it will be hard for any of his contemporaries to hit him in the face, I believe. And he should be able, by then, to flow from an evasion, into the natural sankyo he can already do.

In this way, I'm building on the roots of his natural movement, rather than trying to "teach" him by a totally self-contained external set of lessons based on one-two-three programmed responses.

Best wishes.

David

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

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Old 11-15-2006, 05:53 PM   #45
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: Three in a row!

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
...it is not intuitive to have a very relaxed hand, bicep and major pec simultaneous to having flexed triceps and shoulder/back muscles while grappling, but that's one example of how we *sometimes* transmit force. These skills are very hard to develop and don't reflect how humans natually move.
Well, again, I think that's an example of a refined art that has come a long way, like a fine wine that has been fermented, aged, cleared and bottled, then left to age longer.

Still, it came from grapes.

Best,

David

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

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Old 11-15-2006, 06:08 PM   #46
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

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George S. Ledyard wrote:
There seems to be some sort of Rousseau-ean idea that if one just returns to some Eden of original movement one has "aiki".
No, it's not that "if one just returns there." It's saying "that's where we came from." It's not easy to go back there once we have left, though Feldenkrais does help us re-discover it.

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George S. Ledyard wrote:
Feldenkrais is an incredible system that will re-educate the body / mind in very deep ways. But I can guarantee you that an attack by someone with a committed attack will produce tension that is the result from fear.
I don't think that any training makes any human being impervious to fear--especially when taken by surprise. But I do believe that the arts of aiki took fear responses into account and built some of the technique upon them. I can show how techniques of both aikido and karate can emerge directly from the instinctive response of snatching one's hand away from someone who grips it. Fear can never be completely eliminated from one's responses and it will always emerge if the stimulus is sudden and strong enough. In those cases, the nerve responses that reach the brain first are more primitive than those that can be trained, and the signal from the brain back to the muscles will get their earlier on those primitive pathways so that we may do something entirely unexpectedly and unconsciously before we have any opportunity to enact any trained response. And those repsonses will remain when conditioned reflexes have faded, if conditioning is stopped. And they will still be there below even the most consistently trained reflexes, to emerge predictably if the stimulus is sudden and intense. So the question is what do you do with those fear responses if they enact before the trained response has a chance to be chosen?

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George S. Ledyard wrote:
Just because the person is relaxed and moves naturally, doesn't mean he has done anything other than attain the pre-requisite for doing technique with "aiki". The ability to maintain that relaxation under pressure is a specialized skill.
True, but I have never put "relaxed movement" as the most important aspect of aiki movement. True, we seek to be relaxed in any muscle we're not actively using, but even standing up requires a balance of relaxation and tension, so any active movement has to be the same.

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George S. Ledyard wrote:
Aiki has to do with how and where you project your attention. It has to do with very subtle movement at the instant of contact which involves a great deal of sensitivity and an understanding of the geometry involved that one simply doesn't have without extensive training.
Well, we can see children doing these things naturally, and they do have the right mental attitude from early on. But, yes, to cultivate it to a high degree of reliability and effectiveness, they at least have to be guided by someone who knows what he's doing. I can agree with that.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I maintain that the mind and body in no way will react to stress using these principles without a lot of re-programming and study of the specific principles involved.
And I maintain that these principles are all deeply written in our natural nervous systems. But by adulthood, for most people, they have been thickly over-written with a lot of mistaken ideas and data that only hamper their ability to be spontaneously effective.

But even in someone with a good foundation, it takes someone to guide him in refining it.

Best wishes,

David

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

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Old 11-15-2006, 06:34 PM   #47
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mikel Hamer wrote:
...my friend looked at her and said " Life is beautiful, isn't it?" The little girl just started laughing.
The rays of the rising sun flow in,
My mind is clear.
Going to the window, I run about the Heavens
Shining like the dawn.
- Morihei Ueshiba

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
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Old 11-15-2006, 08:44 PM   #48
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
So where do you start an 18-month-old?
I think I'd start with letting them be a kid. I find it really amusing how you simultaneously talk about how you're child understands the nature of aiki and then immediately afterwards talk about the drills you're using to teach him aikido. How do you know that what you're doing isn't tearing down what he already knows and you've forgotten? It's absurd.

Wrestling with your kids sounds like fun though. I think more parents should play with their kids like that.
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Old 11-16-2006, 02:19 AM   #49
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
The rays of the rising sun flow in,
My mind is clear.
Going to the window, I run about the Heavens
Shining like the dawn.
- Morihei Ueshiba
Words of wisdom.

To speak ill of anything is against the nature of Aikido
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Old 11-16-2006, 09:41 AM   #50
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
I think I'd start with letting them be a kid. I find it really amusing how you simultaneously talk about how you're child understands the nature of aiki and then immediately afterwards talk about the drills you're using to teach him aikido.
No, Chris, a drill is preset movements that he has to repeat to a count. "Get your Nose" is just a game, free-flowing with no win-or-lose, no right-or-wrong and full of fun and laughter. I'm observing his creativity more than trying to teach him anything. It's pretty amazing to see the amount of determination a child can build and the tricky ways they develop to restrain your hands while freeing their own.

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
How do you know that what you're doing isn't tearing down what he already knows and you've forgotten? It's absurd.
Only if you fail to really see the spirit of what we're doing. I know it's not tearing down what he knows because I'm not covering up his innate knowledge with programming that I'm imposing on him. I'm drawing out his responses and seeing what he does, letting him find out for himself what's effective and letting him discover new approaches by the second. This also exercises his hand-eye coordination without imposing any set patterns on his movement.

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
Wrestling with your kids sounds like fun though. I think more parents should play with their kids like that.
Well, he's still too small to really "wrestle" with, but we can roll around on the floor and have a good time. And I see the roots of a lot of martial arts in the simple defensive movements he uses while we play. For instance, the te gatana. Since he was tiny, and as Mikel pointed out in is first post, he has used the Unbendable Arm in movements quite like you'll find in Tomiki aikido to casually shove my head aside or push up under my chin when he doesn't want to be bothered. Relaxed, yes, unbothered, yes, but STRONG and with the appropriate muscle tensions required.

Whenever I go to get his ribs, his elbow automatically comes back to cover the ribs and brush my hand away from him. This is the root of why karate pulls the elbow back when punching. All martial arts are built on these kinds of defensive reflexes found in babies.

Best wishes.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

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