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Old 11-16-2006, 09:18 AM   #51
ChrisMoses
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Done here. Sufficient to say I disagree with your entire premise completely. It flies in the face of my own experiences and all developmental science that I have studied.
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Old 11-16-2006, 10:18 AM   #52
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
Done here. Sufficient to say I disagree with your entire premise completely. It flies in the face of my own experiences and all developmental science that I have studied.
Well, we have established before that you disagree and I understand that you have views based on studies. But I developed these ideas after long aikido training and direct observation of many small children. And since first promoting the idea on e-budo and then on Aikido Journal, I've received many more examples of direct observation of untrained children doing the essence of aiki--maintaining their own posture and balance, moving in circular patterns and neutralizing another person's strength and ability to control them.

People disregarded Ben Franklin's claim that the tiny spark that jumps from a doorknob is the same as the lightning that comes down from the sky, but today we know that this is true. Giant oaks come from acorns, huge trees come from mustard seeds, wine comes from sweet berries and samurai arts evolve from child reflexes.

Best to you.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-16-2006, 10:40 AM   #53
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

In your opinion...for that last part...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 11-16-2006, 12:02 PM   #54
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
In your opinion...for that last part...

Best,
Ron
Well, it's not a beginner's opinion in aikido or in child development. I've observed numerous nieces and nephews, taught scores of children in formal aikido classes, studied Feldenkrais (which is based largely on studies of child development) and observed and interacted with my own chidren (three of them, all exhibiting aiki movement at the toddler stage) and I have numerous examples from other people observing children in action. Plus, a major part of my aikido experience was in Japan with an uchi deshi to O-Sensei.

So if it's my opinion, it's a deeply informed opinion.

And again, I say that those who dislike the idea either probably don't have children or just haven't paid much attention to them when they were doing things not considered to be worth paying attention to.

To me, that's a very important part of aiki: paying attention to little things that other people don't consider meaningful at all.

Best wishes.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-17-2006, 08:48 AM   #55
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

No children of my own, but when in the presense of the children of others, I pay quite a bit of attention. Just don't come to the same conclusions. But, hey, good discussion anyways...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 11-17-2006, 11:46 AM   #56
TAnderson
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

David,

I am curious how you would explain the derivation of "aiki" systems that evolved from armed and armored soldiers. These systems required unique articulations based on the weapon and armor of choice.

I would also like to note that when a person/child cedes their position to an incoming stressor does not denote the blending of aiki. In other words moving from your position and blending are not the same thing. Also, some microorganisms (including single cells) will respond to stress by trying to alleviate it in some manner including locomotion. I would not call this aiki.

Regards,
Tim Anderson
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Old 11-17-2006, 01:24 PM   #57
Michael Douglas
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

I think David Orange is wishfully (willfully?) deluded in this 'toddlers show aiki movement' theme.

And this I absolutely disagree with. Most young kids have terrible balance.
Quote:
David Orange wrote:
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.
At what phase of child development is this harmonious movement reliable?
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Old 11-17-2006, 02:17 PM   #58
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

I just remember falling on my face a lot.

Course, that might be why they called me a klutz...

Best,
Ron

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Old 11-17-2006, 06:28 PM   #59
Michael Douglas
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Didn't O-Sensei return to his dojo one time and shouted at the students ;
"That's not MY Aikido!! Youz all Klutzes!!"

Yes' I'm sure that's how it went ...
and
"90% of Aikido is tatami"
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Old 11-17-2006, 08:03 PM   #60
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
No children of my own, but when in the presense of the children of others, I pay quite a bit of attention. Just don't come to the same conclusions. But, hey, good discussion anyways...
Well, you have to be in their presence a lot at all kinds of times of day and night, in their many moods.

My insistence, of course, cannot make this idea true, but I have documented examples and my reasoning. I never mind a contrary view if it's supported by reasoning.

Best wishes.

David

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

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Old 11-17-2006, 08:10 PM   #61
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Tim Anderson wrote:
I am curious how you would explain the derivation of "aiki" systems that evolved from armed and armored soldiers. These systems required unique articulations based on the weapon and armor of choice.
But all those things were based first on the human skeleton and muscles. All those warriors were first humans, and first children. And most of them were fathers as well as warriors. Armor, weapons, etc., are all limited by the nature of the human body and nervous system, all minds formed by life with parents and children.

Quote:
Tim Anderson wrote:
I would also like to note that when a person/child cedes their position to an incoming stressor does not denote the blending of aiki. In other words moving from your position and blending are not the same thing.
No, they're not always the same thing. And aiki does not always even move off the line of attack. But in the first video, when grabbed, the child extends his ki arm and turns around, spontaneously, never having been taught to do so, into perfect position for sankyo. And in Mikel Hamer's first post of this thread, the little girl leads the little boy smoothly around until he falls. Both are good examples of blending.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-17-2006, 08:15 PM   #62
raul rodrigo
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

It seems to me that David O has constructed the following argument: aikido is "natural" movement, toddlers can move "naturally" in ways that (to some) look like aikido movement, therefore toddler movement is at its roots the same as aikido movement. Its not quite a syllogism, but it can seem persuasive to some. To me the two premises that lead to David's conclusion could stand a lot more scrutiny. What is "natural" about aikido? Is a toddler movement really "aiki"? When pressed, David tends to repeat the conclusion instead of reexamining the premises. It seems to me that within his argument the words "natural" and "aiki" have been defined in such a way that they support his conclusion virtually by definition. So the thread goes around in circles; its persuasive to those who agree with it already, but it doesnt seem to have any traction with those who don't. For David: is there a way of restating the argument in a way that isn't just preachng to the choir?
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Old 11-17-2006, 08:18 PM   #63
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote:
I think David Orange is wishfully (willfully?) deluded in this 'toddlers show aiki movement' theme.
Did you read the aikido journal blog post? And did you watch both videos? And what about Mikel's examples? This isn't something I've seen once or twice. I've seen it consistently in children as soon as they are able to walk.

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote:
Most young kids have terrible balance.
And all acorns have terrible root structures. Yet giant oaks result from their growth. Aiki is like that. It comes from the weakness of children, the ura of strength.

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote:
At what phase of child development is this harmonious movement reliable?
I'm not sure what you mean. It will reliably appear in children as soon as they can stand and walk. And the roots of it appear even earlier. Do you mean when does it become a reliable fighting skill? In that case, I'd have to say that for most people it never does become reliable. After their parents are able to catch them time after time, they get the idea that strength rules and that their impulsive escape measures are useless. As I've said, these skills must be guided and cultivated by someone who understands them. The child must be innocently encouraged and taken through activities that develop these skills without his noticing. This gives him a strong foundation without his realizing it. Eventually, he will need explicit instruction, but with a natural foundation, he will be able to grasp it so quickly it won't take much rote repetition.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-17-2006, 08:49 PM   #64
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
It seems to me that David O has constructed the following argument: aikido is "natural" movement, toddlers can move "naturally" in ways that (to some) look like aikido movement, therefore toddler movement is at its roots the same as aikido movement.
Raul,

The premise is this: ancient fighting masters had developed many types of jujutsu techniques. At some point, one of them noticed that children's instinctive escape movements were able to momentarily neutralize their parents' best efforts to control them. Invariably, the parents won through superior size and strength, scooped the children up and the evasion was finished. But some master must have said, "If that child just grabbed the wrist with his other hand, he could dominate or at least gain the moment to escape."

It is my idea that this jujutsu master then began to practice moving as he had seen the child move. But he added the wrist lock that the child didn't know about and he was able to beat larger men convincingly by moving into their weakness, to the point where he was strongest.

This is how I think aikijujutsu was first born, the first second it came to be. That is my serious premise. So I think that you can guide a child in such a way that he builds on that same evasive ability until he is old enough to be shown some joint locks and throws. But I think that observation of children momentarily overcoming superior size and strength is the source of aikijujutsu and, therefore, of aikido.

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
...the two premises that lead to David's conclusion could stand a lot more scrutiny. What is "natural" about aikido? Is a toddler movement really "aiki"?
When I was uchi deshi in Japan, Mochizuki Sensei, an early uchi deshi of Morihei Ueshiba, showed me some little things, now in then, in minute detail. And he told me some things that he didn't say as part of normal classes. Some of these times were when no one else was at the dojo and he and I were waiting for someone to show up. Other times would be in the mornings, when he was sitting in the kitchen, writing, or in the hours past midnight, when I would get up to use the restroom and find him sitting in the kitchen having a beer and some blue cheese. He would pull a stool over with his foot and take down a glass for me to share his beer, and he would tell me about the war or his time in Mongolia, or France, or his childhood, his training with Mifune or Ueshiba Sensei.

Also, we used to do sumo sometimes and I got a lot of my ideas from that. He said there were two kinds of jujutsu: yawara and judo descend from sumo, while aikijujutsu descends from sword fighting. But both are jujutsu and both are influenced heavily by sumo.

Now what do you have in sumo? Two big babies in diapers. They say the sumotori represent small gods, but I think they also represent giant babies. Who hasn't seen two babies pushing each other like sumotori? That give-and-take, pushing and yielding is a great example of the principle of ju--letting the force build up, then defeating it by yielding. Sumo is also very strongly connected with children. It's a big sport for children in Japan, beginning around the local Shinto jinja. And there is a day when babies are handed over to sumotori to see which baby can cry the loudest.

Well, to me, the big question is "What is not natural about aiki?"

To us, it seems unnnatural because of the pajamas and the belts and hakama, the exotic samurai sword. But to the Japanese, all that stuff is as normal as Little League baseball is to Americans. There is nothing exotic about any of it. They grow up seeing it. We think it's unnatural because of the costumes, accoutrements, language and foreign customs.

But Mochizuki Sensei told me to think about whirlwinds and how water goes down a drain. Aiki, he told me, is related to those things. So I guess another reason aiki seems unnatural to us is that Western culture tells us that we are separate from natural phenomena such as windstorms, lightning and whirlpools.

Last, Sensei clearly defined aiki as "the ura of kiai." He explained that when someone attacks, he is using kiai in a straightforward way, which is the "omote" of his attack, a punch or kick or downward strike. Aiki is to attack the "ura" of his "omote" attack. So it is, essentially formless, or more precisely, it is tailored to the form of the attack--the ura of the omote of the attack. This means that we do not go force-on-force, but flow around the strength to its weakest point--the ura of his strength--where our own strength is most effective.

And that is exactly what babies do when they don't want to be held, or picked up, or diverted from what they are doing. You straightforwardly go to pull them by the hand, they twist and step to a position where your grip cannot move them and they can maintain their position. Maybe that means stepping behind you. Maybe it means sitting on the floor. The only reason it isn't far more powerful is the baby's lack or knowledge of joint locks and throws, as well as the low level of development of the voluntary nervous system. However, those patterns are written in our DNA and are expressed not accidentally, but because they work.

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
When pressed, David tends to repeat the conclusion instead of reexamining the premises. It seems to me that within his argument the words "natural" and "aiki" have been defined in such a way that they support his conclusion virtually by definition.
Well, I'm using "aiki" as a judan meijin uchi deshi of Morihei Ueshiba explained it to me, so I feel very secure in holding to it.

And by "natural," I mean "innate to human beings, written in our DNA."

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
So the thread goes around in circles; its persuasive to those who agree with it already, but it doesnt seem to have any traction with those who don't. For David: is there a way of restating the argument in a way that isn't just preachng to the choir?
How was that?

Thanks.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-17-2006, 09:34 PM   #65
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
What is "natural" about aikido? Is a toddler movement really "aiki"?
I just saw this really interesting article on the Aikido Journal website:

http://www.roleystoneaiki.com/The%20...of%20Aiki.html

It reminds me of that saying "Masakatsu Agatsu," or "true winning is self winning," usually translated as "True victory is victory over oneself."

But now I am convinced that "Masakatsu Agatsu" means that "True victory is winning oneself" or "winning the right to be oneself."

And no one is more himself than an eighteen-month-old child.

Best wishes.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-18-2006, 05:32 AM   #66
Michael Douglas
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

I have to disagree with David again on these points ;
Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Who hasn't seen two babies pushing each other like sumotori? That give-and-take, pushing and yielding is a great example of the principle of ju--letting the force build up, then defeating it by yielding.
...
And that is exactly what babies do when they don't want to be held, or picked up, or diverted from what they are doing. You straightforwardly go to pull them by the hand, they twist and step to a position where your grip cannot move them and they can maintain their position. Maybe that means stepping behind you. Maybe it means sitting on the floor. The only reason it isn't far more powerful is the baby's lack or knowledge of joint locks and throws, as well as the low level of development of the voluntary nervous system.
OK first, those pushing babies.
Simply, the stronger or heavier or less unbalanced pushes the other over or they both fall, or they both topple to the side. This is because of their absolutely terrible balance, wobbly structure and weakness. They aren't conciously or subconciously letting force build up then yielding, they are just so bad at shoving that your deluded observation sees such 'ju' things there. Please don't be offended I'm not trying to insult you but I need to use the 'deluded' word to make myself clear.

Now this ; "they twist and step to a position where your grip cannot move them and they can maintain their position."
They pull, usually directly on your hold which is inefficient. They flail randomly until you (not me) might feel they are at a place where you cannot move tham and they can maintain their position : I say not true, even in the slightest.
Or they sit down on the floor. Genious (Sarcasm).
Quote:
David Orange wrote:
... The only reason it isn't far more powerful is the baby's lack or knowledge of joint locks and throws, as well as the low level of development of the voluntary nervous system.
Or maybe it isn't powerful because they are uncoordinated, weak, and have terrible balance. They just 'struggle' and are easily controlled by an adult or older child who is concentrating on the task.
When a child is seen to escape or be unmoved by an adult I see an adult who is distracted, exasperated, and actually unwilling to control that child by force ... for example by actually pulling or gripping hard. We are still talking babies and toddlers right?
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Old 11-18-2006, 07:42 AM   #67
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mikel Hamer wrote:
Anyway, the girl got a drink and started walking into the living room where we were. She tripped on the edge of carpet and fell down, but she just reached out her hands to absorb the impact.
Of course, trying to absorb the impact of a fall through one's hands is a good way for an adult to sprain or break their wrists. It is safer for children to do so because they have a shorter distance to fall and thus less time for the force of acceleration to take place. This is a case where the natural movement that the child does might be counterproductive for an adult.

Of course, a big part of aikido is refining and and reshaping natural movement. Think about how walking is natural, but an aikidoist reshapes their walking to allow walking to unbalance an attacker.
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Old 11-18-2006, 11:33 AM   #68
markwalsh
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Human being are born with less concrete "instincts" than all other organisms - this means we can learn more but are vulnerable as infants. If interested in this topic suggest studying the research as to what these instincts really are - less than you might think, more predispositions than stone commands.

The basic attack pattern of human animals is a fisted downwards blow to the front/top of head (kinda like 2001 Space Odyssey shomen) and can be seen in riots and infants worldwide (cross cultural comparison essential here). This instinct is very relevant to aikido as is the "flinch" response and the mechanics of how babies breath as compared to adults (we're all messed up basically)

Just facts and opinions here from a body orientated psychologist whose done some homework - not taking sides as both profoundly agree and also disagree with the "baby" aikido notion. Recommend reading Paul Linden and Mosh Feldenkrais as excellent starting points, and gald that people are observing kids too.

One thing I think we can all agree on is that we have a basic design and that aikido is about working with this model not in antagonism to it (driving with the brakes on).
Mark
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Old 11-18-2006, 01:52 PM   #69
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Sorry David. You know I like ya. But this theory is just more of the same "natural movement" hypothosizing out there. Rediscovery because we forgot this great skill we used to have?.....nonsense.

The higher levels of what your body can do are simply not natural at all. In fact they are un-natural in nature and take years to perfect.
The body? Has no essential need for them and therefore no happenstance to have discovered them. Aside from the concept being poppycock...... Why would the body adopt them for movement in the human frame as a "natural need" in the first place, for a child-only to lose them? Did the child morph into a cucumber or a quadraped or a motor vehicle and not have the "natural need" anymore? No need to answer, as I said I already wrote it off anyway.

Percentage wise, how many men can do them, even among those who have searched half their lives to find them in the first place. A child not only cannot have "discovered" these un-natural movements or body methods- by a natural process of discovery- and then lost them-they cannot have learned them in the first place. It takes a greater level of concentration and mental control then they posses. And last it takes years of concentraion in interplay to develope them to a high degree with interaction.

Followng the examples offered in the videos and descriptions- if a person thinks "leading" in front of a push or "blending" by moving and "opening your door" is something akin to what aiki is, or is anything of a high order. I wish them well in their pursuits.

Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 11-18-2006 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 11-18-2006, 03:07 PM   #70
Tim Fong
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

David,
What would it take to prove your theory wrong? Can it be falsified? Is there any experiment that could prove it wrong? I'm curious.
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Old 11-18-2006, 03:27 PM   #71
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote:
OK first, those pushing babies.
Simply, the stronger or heavier or less unbalanced pushes the other over or they both fall, or they both topple to the side.
Well, that's really what happens in a sumo match.

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote:
This is because of their absolutely terrible balance, wobbly structure and weakness. They aren't conciously or subconciously letting force build up then yielding, they are just so bad at shoving that your deluded observation sees such 'ju' things there. Please don't be offended I'm not trying to insult you but I need to use the 'deluded' word to make myself clear.
No, I don't think you need to use that word. I understand your emotions. It's okay. You're flailing. However, babies do push and give way. Again, it's the "root".

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote:
They pull, usually directly on your hold which is inefficient. They flail randomly until you (not me) might feel they are at a place where you cannot move tham and they can maintain their position : I say not true, even in the slightest.
Well, you're very broadly generalizing in a way that tells me you have not really observed babies in action. Do you have children of your own? How much time have you spent really dealing with toddlers?

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote:
Or maybe it isn't powerful because they are uncoordinated, weak, and have terrible balance. They just 'struggle' and are easily controlled by an adult or older child who is concentrating on the task.
If they were your size, doing what they do, you would be hard-pressed to control them. Again, you generalize very broadly. Children are not really that terribly uncoordinated or weak. Their nervous systems are learning and developing coordination second-by-second. It is the time of the most spectacular rate of learning that a human ever experiences. You should observe chidren much more before you continue commenting.

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote:
When a child is seen to escape or be unmoved by an adult I see an adult who is distracted, exasperated, and actually unwilling to control that child by force ... for example by actually pulling or gripping hard. We are still talking babies and toddlers right?
And I'm only talking about a phenomenon about as long-lived as the spark you get when you touch a door knob. I don't think you have the perception to detect something that fine from your comments. For a very brief instant, babies are able to willfully escape. As I've said repeatedly, their parents are almost always able to catch them right away, which is why the babies themselves don't recognize and learn to capitalize on that kind of movement. If they did realize how powerful their evasions are, they could develop it as they grow and we soon would be unable to control them at all.

However, if we guide them gradually and creatively, we can still protect them, yet nurture that ability so that it can eventually become as powerful as the lightning that is the correlate of the spark.

And now a question for you: can a rabbit eat an oak tree?

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 11-18-2006, 03:32 PM   #72
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

From another angle, I have been doing Aikido for over 25 years, and did Judo before that. In 2002, when my kid was about 2, he had a plastic sword and came at me with it while I was practising outside. Of course, I did not want to clobber him with my bokken, but he managed to hit me several times in a random kind of way. Since that moment I realised that my bokken training was useless. As as result of that, I took the bokken patterns to pieces and tried teaching/practising the basic parts with my students in Korea - with the aim of creating something more freestyle or realistic. I have no idea if what I am working with works since there is no ready battlefield nearby to test it, but it has been a lot of fun. The name I have adopted for my new creation is Assault and Battery But it is not really freestyle, rather, an attempt to reach freesyle.

My kid is my teacher!

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Old 11-18-2006, 03:32 PM   #73
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Tim Casady wrote:
Of course, trying to absorb the impact of a fall through one's hands is a good way for an adult to sprain or break their wrists....This is a case where the natural movement that the child does might be counterproductive for an adult.
But it's not the only way children fall. I've spent hundreds of hours watching children naturally at play and in general they are able to fall quite well. Considering some of the falls I've seen children take, it's a wonder anyone reaches adulthood. But most of us do. And that is a testament to the effectiveness of the reflexes we're born with.

Quote:
Tim Casady wrote:
Of course, a big part of aikido is refining and and reshaping natural movement. Think about how walking is natural, but an aikidoist reshapes their walking to allow walking to unbalance an attacker.
I would say the aikidoist does not actually reshape his walking, but changes where he walks. On the other hand, children walk to that place from a very early age. If we help them cultivate that kind of movement from the beginning, they won't forget it and won't later have to be "re-programmed" at long and frustrating pains.

Best to you.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-18-2006, 03:39 PM   #74
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mark Walsh wrote:
Human being are born with less concrete "instincts" than all other organisms - this means we can learn more but are vulnerable as infants. If interested in this topic suggest studying the research as to what these instincts really are - less than you might think, more predispositions than stone commands.
True, but they are well oriented to survival, otherwise the death rate among humans, with such a weak infancy, would be 90% by age five, I would guess. But the vast majority of children grow to adulthood, despite all manner of obstacles and threats.

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Mark Walsh wrote:
The basic attack pattern of human animals is a fisted downwards blow to the front/top of head (kinda like 2001 Space Odyssey shomen) and can be seen in riots and infants worldwide (cross cultural comparison essential here).
What Ellis Amdur called "simian-like overhead flailing."

Quote:
Mark Walsh wrote:
Recommend reading Paul Linden and Mosh Feldenkrais as excellent starting points, and gald that people are observing kids too.
Most of my ideas were formed from reading extensively in Feldenkrais ("Body and Mature Behavior" and "The Potents Self" as well as others) after twenty years of aikido--five of those in Japan with a judan master--and applying that thinking to direct observation of children in action. And since you are aware of Feldenkrais, you will appreciate the tiny levels at which I am observing.

Quote:
Mark Walsh wrote:
One thing I think we can all agree on is that we have a basic design and that aikido is about working with this model not in antagonism to it...
Mark, that says it extremely well. My point is that we have that model from the beginning and that we can cultivate aikido from the qualities of that model from early childhood straight through into old age.

Best wishes.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-18-2006, 03:58 PM   #75
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
David,
What would it take to prove your theory wrong? Can it be falsified? Is there any experiment that could prove it wrong? I'm curious.
Tim,

I don't know what could prove it wrong. Aikido is a human art, developed from the qualities of human beings. Children are humans. The nervous system they have remains with us until death. Many of the reflexes they possess remain the most basic responses to situations in adulthood and training cannot replace them.

What training can do (as far as reflexes) is make us tend to over-ride some basic nature, as long as we continue to condition those other responses. But with any living creature (such as Pavlov's dogs), the response will fade away once the conditioning is stopped. And then what will you have? The creature will revert to the natural responses it had before training.

Also, there are multiple levels to the nervous system. The higher levels can be conditioned, but the lowest levels cannot. And those levels communicate with the brain via pathways with greater speed of transmission than the higher levels. If there is time to decide on a response, we can substitute conditioned responses for the primitive response. But if the stimulus is sudden and intense enough, the primitive response signals will reach the brain first and its reply will reach the muscles before there is any opportunity to respond differently.

If you slip on a banana peel, you will likely be able to catch yourself without falling, or fall in such a way that you aren't seriously hurt, all before you can think to respond in some other way. That is a reflex response. But if you consciously try to do something else while slipping, you will likely be injured. You might be so highly conditioned that you respond in a different way, but only if you have time for those conditioned reflexes to communicate with the brain and get a response.

Children are working very close to the innate level. They have not yet learned to over-ride impulses and they have not yet been conditioned to respond differently. When a child pulls, pushes, twists and turns, he is acting according to nature's directives inscribed in his most primitive nervous system. Not all of those responses are "aiki". Not all of them are necessarily "good". But all of the "aiki" responses are there as soon as the child learns to stand and walk. They are simply there in root form that can only be seen if you know where and how to look and if you look very carefully and constantly.

I grew up and trained in aikido for twenty years without ever imagining that aiki was directly based on child movement, so I was effectively convinced of that for most of my life. In the past ten years, I've only seen evidence that it is true and I've seen many examples that it is consistently true for all but the most damaged children.

On the other hand, there are experiments and tests that can be devised that can prove all but the most powerful aiki men incapable of expressing and using aiki, regardless of how long they've been training.

I am always open to anyone who can give me reasons and examples as to why this might not be true, but mostly what I get is sheer denial without any real reason.

Dan Harden just posted some views that I don't have time to addess at the moment. I will get back to that later tonight or tomorrow.

Thanks for the question. And please post any suggestions you might have for tests or whatever.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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