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Old 11-19-2006, 06:50 PM   #101
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
This last post has demonstrated to me at least that you have no real concept of how irimi works. I'm not talking about strength on strength, neither is Dan. Bye now.
Yes, Chris, I do have practical experience in irimi. That is the only way to deal with a sword attack and a serious sword attack will tell you how real your irimi is. However, that is only one of the omote forms of the ura of kiai. There are also ura forms of aiki. Irimi has an ura form as well as the omote. The baby illustrated elements of that in his entry for sankyo and Morihei Ueshiba demonstrated many other forms of aiki than irimi. So that is neither the only form of aiki, nor the only root.

Best to you.

David

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

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Old 11-19-2006, 06:52 PM   #102
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
I'm not talking about strength on strength, neither is Dan. Bye now.
Well, I know you're not, but can you demonstrate these powers on the current grand yokozuna of sumo? Can you neutralize Akebono?

David

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

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Old 11-19-2006, 07:05 PM   #103
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

David,
Funny you should mention Akebono. Here is video of him with a Chen taiji practioner:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpdzhYjx_zw&eurl=

It isn't a free fight, but it does show Akebono attempting to push the Chen guy off his base... and yeah, the Chen guy has to put a leg back.

Without the internal skills though, I think, he would have gone flying.
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Old 11-19-2006, 07:41 PM   #104
DH
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
So I think you're talking about something other than aiki in these things you describe.

Not that I discount what you do. In fact, I'm still hoping to meet up with you one of these days and experience the things you are talking about. But I have had perfectly fine results from the aikido I have learned over the past 31 years and I have observe children able to do things that could easily be trained into advanced aikido if anyone recognized it in them and knew how to train it.

Hope we can get together sooner rather than later.

Best wishes.

David
Hi Dave
First Up I appreciate the time it took you to put together such a long reply. Even though we completely disagree it just goes to show it can be done and still remain friends eh? To completely disagree but do so with respect is something I wish more folks could manage.

Man O man do I think you're wrong though
First up what you call Aiki.... I call basic jujutsu or Judo. It isn't aiki to me at all. Pushing on a proverbial door and having someone pull it open is no bid deal. It is neither high level or anything I'd want to do and call a high level anything.... anytime soon.
So for you to identify that and go "Oooohh look look, Aiki in a child" Is to me just saying "See a child can do my art." Its not something I'd be bragging about anytime soon. So saying to me (your quote) " So I think you're talking about something other than aiki in these things you describe." Is really just another way of you saying the equivilent of: Dan this is all I know of what Aiki is. Since I don't know about, and haven't felt anything more profound- its all I can relate it to."

Again, these skills are of a higher order. They have less to do with the other guy and more to do with ourselves. That, is the real key. The rest of the blending stuff is nonsense if you don't develop your self first.And there are far more efficient ways to move then that stuff.These skills need to be explored where ever we may find them. Others are finally contributing and describing what they are doing and/or others in Aikodo finally getting out and experiencing them: Ledyard, Murray, Holz, Moses, Fong, Hassenpflug, and a few others in Aikido who choose to be silent and remain behind the scenes are reporting what they have found. In fact, don't you find it even in the least bit odd, or strange, that no one.....not one, has reported back that these skills are baloney? Rather the opposite is true, they are reporting back in a consistent voice. How'd that happen? And it appears they report these skills are profound and essential to what aiki really is. That you do not see it or can even fathom it as being Aiki is understandable.

As Ellis said "Hidden in plain site"
As Mark Murray said To borrow a phrase from Amdur, it really is hidden in plain sight. But you'd need to be a genius to actually know how to read it and pick up the internal stuff on your own.
And this goes to what is being taught. It is indeed what Ueshiba learned from Takeda in the first place. But you cannot learn in a vaccuum. You mentioned Ueshiba's quote about people who get it ....can do what he does in months. Takeda said the same thing. So did Sagawa.
So .......where are the people doing it? If it was supposedly taught?

I'd not settle for anything less in my life. I'd be out searching and finding them wherever I could.

Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 11-19-2006 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 11-19-2006, 07:43 PM   #105
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
It isn't a free fight, but it does show Akebono attempting to push the Chen guy off his base... and yeah, the Chen guy has to put a leg back.

Without the internal skills though, I think, he would have gone flying.
Sure. That's good for a brief demo. And I don't present Akebono as the ultimate in anything, especially now that he's quite a while out of the ring. I just don't know how the top champions are anymore since I left Japan.

However, how would you do against Akebono? How do you suppose Chris or Dan would do?

I know people who can't do what I can do and I know plenty of people who can do more than I. But my aikido has never failed me when it counted and there's more to it than physical technique, including the whole realm of "overcome the opponent mentally, at a glance," in which no touch is even necessary. That's where I have always won when the situation was really serious. But I wouldn't expect it to work on the current sumo champion.

And there is still the matter of the sword. The only way to "beat" the sword is to not be there when it arrives. And whether you do that with irimi or tenkan or whatever method, there must be an element of evasion to it.

Still, even if you successfully evade the sword with irimi, if the guy is still too powerful (internally, externally or any mixture of the two), you can't effect him and he will be able to attack again (in reference to Chris' earlier statement).

Thanks for the clip.

David

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
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Old 11-19-2006, 07:52 PM   #106
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
This last post has demonstrated to me at least that you have no real concept of how irimi works. I'm not talking about strength on strength, neither is Dan. Bye now.
Since there are limits to everything, even special and secret training, clearly there would be a limit, as Dan has also pointed out to dispel notions of invincibility - I remember Minoru Akuzawa saying after having some really big guy (twice his weight, lterally) pushing against him (Ark has his feet parallel, and his body arches back while he maintains his balance at his own limits) that he thinks at his level probably his training lets him face people up to twice his weight. Any more than that and he'd be overpowered (if he did not move, that is). So that means that the special training can make up for, give or take, one more times one's own weight against a TRAINED opponent (trained to a high level in boxing and some amount of grappling, in this case). I would say most aikido people do not qualify as trained in this sense, so a small guy could surprise people more than twice his own weight.
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Old 11-19-2006, 07:55 PM   #107
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Dave it isn't about fighting skills, never was. That's a different topic. Fun, but different topic all together
Stick to the skills themselves.

Dan
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Old 11-19-2006, 08:05 PM   #108
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
David,
Funny you should mention Akebono. Here is video of him with a Chen taiji practioner:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpdzhYjx_zw&eurl=

It isn't a free fight, but it does show Akebono attempting to push the Chen guy off his base... and yeah, the Chen guy has to put a leg back.

Without the internal skills though, I think, he would have gone flying.
Hi Tim:

I think that there has to be a distinction between "rooting" and "neutralization". Grounding an incoming force is more considered "rooting".

I had an interesting thought last weekend when I worked-out with a couple of fairly large guys. I'd be willing to be that I could teach them enough in one weekend to defeat anyone who thinks they can "neutralize", etc., someone just because they've had success in doing it with someone who is clueless about jin. I.e., it's easy to do tricks against the uninitiated, but I fear that these tricks against the uninitiated can become somewhat of a goal in themselves. Any honest person who does these kinds of tricks should recognize how tenuous the edge can be and not get too carried away with the fantasy of what they can do to "others". I've seen some pretty embarrassing moments happen to some of these people in the past.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 11-19-2006, 08:11 PM   #109
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

I thought I'd add something here quickly, after a few days of thought: I had a chance to train VERY briefly with a man who took ukemi from O-Sensei, felt Kisshomaru Ueshiba in training, trained with Morihiro Saito for many years until his passing, and was Koichi Tohei's chief uke. From the stories I'd imagined him over 6 foot tall and 200 lbs, but no, a slight man with soft hands and arms, thinnish, and very friendly. And yes, he could do. In brief, he extended his hands (body leaning back if needed, back straight) and I could no longer feel where his strength was (i.e., his arms, shoulders, upper body were invisible tactile-wise). Fingers move first, he said, and it worked that way (he giving me feedback as I tried). The extension is much more than just sticking arms out though, but he emphasizes that for him he has to stretch out the arms, he cannot do aikido with arms that are not extended (has to do with breath power). Of course I had questions, so...when pressured up close, he would drop his body (while stretching up) without actually dropping his limbs. He does not apparently do any solo exercises, except for standing and breathing LOL. So it's all there. He also said the new Ki Society does not train like Tohei used to. He himself received extra training to show off aikido. He also said Tohei was the worst to take ukemi from, because you could not feel where his strength was coming from...suddenly BOOM and you were flying.

Well, so, the next night I trained with Minoru Akuzawa in Tokyo. Comparison: Ark does generate power form any position, not necessarily extended. I would say Ark does not feel the same, so there is a difference as far as I ma concerned, but not I think at a basic level, more at the power release level, in the choice of doing the transfer to the partner. Ark's aiki-age is not lifting practice, the upward motion is not relevant at all, according to him. The importance is a training of self-control wrt connection of elbow, hip, knee and the inner-body feeling. Thus, the extension, if you will, is not visible externally but takes place internally. I am not sure, but maybe the aikido of Tohei emphasizes one type of extension (which covers all 6 directions) with the breath prevalent, while Ark's training covers a different application of extension which is more a matter of flow/transfer of power across the body based less prevalently on breath. I cannot describe this yet though, nor do it, so maybe I am entirely wrong here. Maybe Rob or others who train with Ark can shed light on that point...
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Old 11-19-2006, 08:56 PM   #110
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
Hi Dave
First Up I appreciate the time it took you to put together such a long reply. Even though we completely disagree it just goes to show it can be done and still remain friends eh? To completely disagree but do so with respect is something I wish more folks could manage.
Absolutely, and I do want to meet up with you and see what you're doing. However, as I've said, from the descriptions, it sound much more like what I've experienced from Chinese martial artists than from any Japanese artist I've ever met. (and very few Chinese stylists, for that matter).

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
First up what you call Aiki.... I call basic jujutsu or Judo. It isn't aiki to me at all.
Well, Minoru Mochizuki called it aiki and he was a long, close friend of Morihei Ueshiba. Also, while I was in Japan, the daito ryu published a commemorative magazine to go along with a demonstration. Mochizuki Sensei was featured prominently in that magazine. The daito ryu listed him as one of about eight very prominent masters. I'll dig that magazine up and give some more detail later. Anyway, I don't know what you're doing but I do know what he did and how he explained to me, in detail, what the essence of aiki is and I'm not concerned that you think I don't understand what it is. I'm also not angry or offended. I'm challenged, but not to re-think what aiki really is--only to learn more about what you are doing.

When I was living at the yoseikan, there were two other uchi deshi there, one a yoga man who had been uchi deshi at a Japanese yoga dojo (that's what they called it). The master of the system was a good friend of Mochizuki Sensei's and Sensei used to go and give little seminars to the students at the yoga school. This one guy was young, very strong, very limber and had developed a lot of internal skills through yoga. He came to live with Mochizuki Sensei and was able to advance very quickly.

The other uchi deshi was a skinny Japanese fellow who was a student of shiatsu. He was on track to be a shiatsuist, maybe a seikotsu-in. He used to show me things in magazines about guys who specialized in hara development and he talked about the amazing feats they were able to do. But while we understood hara to be the center of all Japanese arts, this kind of hara training was understood to be a separate field of specialization. Doing it didn't make them masters of aiki but doing full-out aikido and judo also would not take you to the level of hara mastery those guys had.

Still, as I said in an earlier post, I've been able to move around some pretty big and strong men in my time and aikido has never failed me. I don't need it to be any more than it has been to me.

Still, I am intrigued by what you are doing and I'm interested in learning more about it, specifically from you because I've been able to deal with you better on an intellectual basis than with some others. So again, looking forward to meeting.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
So for you to identify that and go "Oooohh look look, Aiki in a child" Is to me just saying "See a child can do my art." Its not something I'd be bragging about anytime soon.
Well, I don't say a child can do my art. I do say that all the martial arts in the world are based on human nervous system qualities that all healthy children manifest from the time they can stand up and walk. I can illustrate the roots of karate and judo in child movement just as well as I can show aiki. It doesn't reduce the art to say that children already have the "roots" of it. But it does cue me to the fact that there is a better way to train the responses than we see in most martial arts schools.

Really, Mr. Miyagi, in The Karate Kid, was showing the same idea in the way he trained Daniel without the boy's realizing it. When that movie first came out, I thought that the polish and snap and sharpness were the important parts and I ridiculed the movie for showing Daniel progressing to a high level in a mere six months. Now I realize that that movie really did show a lot of the truth of karate (though I still don't put any stock in that standing on one leg kick).

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
So saying to me (your quote)
" So I think you're talking about something other than aiki in these things you describe." Is really just another way of you saying the equivilent of: Dan this is all I know of what Aiki is. Since I don't know about, and haven't felt anything more profound- its all I can relate it to."
Well, considering that Mochizuki Sensei showed me some pretty profound things and explained a lot of it in tiny detail, I don't feel bad about that and I still don't think that what you're talking about is essentially aiki. It sounds like those skills would make anyone better at whatever art they were doing, including tai chi and judo, aikido, karate, xing yi or whatever. But it won't necessarily make one better at facing a sword.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
Again, these skills are of a higher order. They have less to do with the other guy and more to do with ourselves.
I won't deny that I could use some of that. A lot.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
The rest of the blending stuff is nonsense if you don't develop your self first.And there are far more efficient ways to move then that stuff.
Maybe so, but that stuff has served me very well for the past thirty years. Birmingham is currently rated #6 in the most violent cities in the US. I've been all over this town and in lots of places I should never have gone. The aikido I learned through yoseikan has gotten me through some very bad encounters, let me recognize traps before I walked into them, some others after I had walked into them but before they could be sprung. Whatever the violent types needed to see, my aikido training had supplied it for me.

Well, really, like Ueshiba, I attribute most of that to God's mercy, but part of that mercy was that He made me a direct student of Minoru Mochizuki. And, frankly, I believe that part of it is in letting me get to know you.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
These skills need to be explored where ever we may find them. Others are finally contributing and describing what they are doing and/or others in Aikodo finally getting out and experiencing them: Ledyard, Murray, Holz, Moses, Fong, Hassenpflug, and a few others in Aikido who choose to be silent and remain behind the scenes are reporting what they have found. In fact, don't you find it even in the least bit odd, or strange, that no one.....not one, has reported back that these skills are baloney? Rather the opposite is true, they are reporting back in a consistent voice.
I don't find it odd or strange at all. I believe you can do what you say. But I also believe that, as you admit that you're still discovering a lot about it (as Mike Sigman also admits), you're having to draw a lot of conclusions and I don't think these are always correct. I think what you're doing would be a big help to aikido, but good aikido training will give people a tremendous amount of benefit--almost superhuman abilities--without the specific training you advocate. Because you don't claim that it makes you infinitely undefeatable, do you? Do you suppose you could neutralize Akebono? Or the current #1 yokozuna in Japanese sumo? It is, after all, all relative.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
...it appears they report these skills are profound and essential to what aiki really is. That you do not see it or can even fathom it as being Aiki is understandable.
I can accept that the skills are profound, just not that they are essential to what aiki really is. Either that or I have developed a lot of those skills despite many people's claims that I have not. I can move people bigger and stronger than myself with the skills I learned in yoseikan. I have stopped many attacks by unbalancing the intended attacker mentally and stopping his ability to organize himself to attack. I did live and train and actually taught some in Japan with a judan meijin and rolled regularly with his top shihan.

In fact, I think the truth is that aikido (yoseikan, at least), judo and jujutsu, do develop those skills to some degree. What you're describing appears to be just a more intensive specialization in that particular area of development.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
And this goes to what is being taught. It is indeed what Ueshiba learned from Takeda in the first place. But you cannot learn in a vaccuum. You mentioned Ueshiba's quote about people who get it ....can do what he does in months. Takeda said the same thing. So did Sagawa.
So .......where are the people doing it? If it was supposedly taught?
Well, he did tell outright in that article what the secret is. And it is a frame of mind. A frame of mind which babies, by the way, possess in spades.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
I'd not settle for anything less in my life. I'd be out searching and finding them wherever I could.
Well, Dan, that's exactly what I did when I was young--when everyone else I knew was developing a career and building retirement accounts. And after twenty years of that, I found myself in Japan with a lot of "real life" problems that martial arts could not solve for me. I had a lot of trouble when I came back from Japan and it went downhill from there until 2000, when I got into my current job. In the past six years I've had to develop a career where people at my age were retired from twenty years in the military or had law degrees or Master degrees and some real incomes. I had my pen, my sword and a family to support.

Now, at age 51, I'm a project coordinator in epidemiology and a study coordinator in an international biostatistics study. I can't pour more into traveling around when I want to--not to mention getting the time off work. I appreciate what I have and I'm interested in learning more, but that's really less important than meeting my house note and building my retirement fund. So I hope you will remain favorably disposed toward me until I can catch up with you and see first-hand what you do.

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 11-19-2006, 09:02 PM   #111
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Gernot Hassenpflug wrote:
... I remember Minoru Akuzawa saying...that he thinks at his level probably his training lets him face people up to twice his weight. Any more than that and he'd be overpowered (if he did not move, that is). So that means that the special training can make up for, give or take, one more times one's own weight against a TRAINED opponent...
Gernot, that's a lot of what I'm getting at, too. Once it goes so far, then you have no choice but to move. And then it becomes a matter of precisely how you move. And when the attacker has a sword, even a higher degree of precision is necessary.

So for a baby to neutralize people three times his height and nine times his weight, even for a moment, is relatively fantastic.

Best wishes.

David

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

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Old 11-19-2006, 09:06 PM   #112
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

David,

Re: the sword. I think it's about weight transfer. Weight is the force of gravity acting on mass. It's another force passing through the body. The person who can manipulate the force of another pushing in on them, and bring it to their feet could also manipulate the force of their weight. So that perhaps they might look like they were standing with weight on the front foot , when in fact, they weren't. Think about the advantage that could give a person.

Here's some fodder for idle speculation. In "Modern Bujutsu and Budo" Draeger writes that the lifted rear heel in kendo is "...traditionally attributed to the secret teachings of Ito Ittosai." Why do you think it was a secret? And how/why do high ranking kendoka get away with turning the foot out, and fighting relatively flat footed?

Mike,

Point taken. I have had to take a break from judo, and it'll be interesting to see how the skills fare during randori, aka, it'll probably be humbling.

What would you say is the difference between rooting and neutralization? Is neutralization more active? I have had maybe one or two times in pushout where suddenly it felt like my opponent wasn't pushing hard at all...is it something like that? Sorry if we went over this before and I've forgotten.
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:08 PM   #113
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
Dave it isn't about fighting skills, never was. That's a different topic.
Okay, Dan. That expresses perfectly what I've been saying. Aikido is a fighting art. It is an art of self defense and it has served me very well ever since I began training in it. It took me from someone who was next-to-last chosen for every game, afraid of all the bigger kids, to a 51-year-old who meets those old bullies and finds them much worn down by time, rather shrivelled and nothing like a threat to me anymore. The years and what I've trained in have been far kinder to me than to them. Their response, of course, is that they have a lot more money than me, now (most of them), bigger houses and cars and they're going to retire with big pensions.

But as a method of self-defense, I am very happy with aikido as I have learned it. This doesn't detract from what you do, but it does show that we are talking about different things. I am talking about aikido as I learned it from a meijin and I see the roots of that art in every child who learns to stand and walk.

David

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

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www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:17 PM   #114
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
Re: the sword. I think it's about weight transfer. Weight is the force of gravity acting on mass. It's another force passing through the body. The person who can manipulate the force of another pushing in on them, and bring it to their feet could also manipulate the force of their weight. So that perhaps they might look like they were standing with weight on the front foot , when in fact, they weren't. Think about the advantage that could give a person.
Interesting points, Tim, but I'm not sure how they relate to being unarmed and facing an attacker who is armed with a sword. There's no way to deflect or redirect that without being cut unless you evade it with the body. Chris' statements don't address that. He does say "irimi," but irimi does have to evade the attack. So evasion is central to aikido.

Best wishes.

David

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

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Old 11-19-2006, 09:29 PM   #115
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

This thread has illustrated a couple of points for me.

First: the limits of the power of description. All these different ways of trying to describe the elephant to the those who have never seen one. I credit David for observation of an instructive principle of movement underlying much of what we do. It is not complete, but it is not wrong either.

Like Zen, the mountain is again a mountain and the river again a river. But by the time that realization is reached there is much that has informed our awareness of both mountain and river. They are netither more nor lor less than what they simply are, and yet they have become are far more to our awarenss for having contemplated them to the point that they assumed, for a time, a far greater dimension, illusory though that may ultimately be.

Likewise, Dan, Mike,and I take it, also Gernot, are invested in a paradigm of desrcription that seems to defy easy reduction to common language. May be I am wrong about that, but after a number of iterations in the attempt, I have yet to get one. That's not a criticism, but an observation of this and other discussion in which these things come up, particularly with Mike. I fully admit am equally liable to explore other paradigms that they do not share, and which are perhaps no better in that regard, although my purpose in doing so is somewhat different.

I agree with the point about the open secret, but I disagree strongly with the manner in which you all have attempted to describe it. That is not to say it is not useful in some contexts, or at least useful to them. I part company simply because it seems not generally useful to those not already familiar with the paradigm on which it rests. The description should not obscure the thing itself. The thing itself should be approachable from other paradigms as well.

Lastly, I disagree that aiki techniques are "unnatural." On that basis, walking is "unnatural" because it must be learnt and practiced. Human beings are given really only one "natural" faculty -- learning and adaptation. It distinguishes us in degree from every other creature. It is also precsiely this aspect of our nature that we have in common with the process of takemusu aiki in which all these "techniques" are intended to be melded into a intuitively seamless and fluid whole.

David's exploration is very worthwhile. I may not agree with the extension of his observations in the degree he may suggest it, but neither do I think he is wrong in attempting to justify a position in that direction. His effort it has the singular benefit of making the question of movement as an element of aiki more approachable for the more average student of the arts than those more esoteric and recondite.

As for things like the "pushout" exercises -- I have detailed my observation of the mechanics in play there elsewhere on this forum and the underlying mechanical principles that " hide" where strength is coming from. I find nothing mystical about it, although training to employ thoe mechanics is a skill -- as much as walking. I'll be the first to say that getting a body of complex and uncommon mechanical knowledge thoroughly mapped into aiki principles and getting it into a common language framework of description is a task of significant further lifting.

As for my own experience, I know I have advanced further and expanded my understanding, facility and verstatility in application more by dwelling deeply on the simplest of things in the art. I have not had that same experience in succumbing to fascination and allure of the more esoteric possibilities that the history and the multidimensional nature of the art may also afford. I truly think that it is distracting to many students. I do not find David's approach at all problematic in that way.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 11-19-2006, 09:44 PM   #116
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Eric, regarding "natural", I cannot find any reason why you would call learning and adaptation any more "natural" than walking. As far as I can gather, this kind of "natural" is a fluke, something that comes to certain people without their knowing the process of having come to this point. To all other people (and to them if they try to teach it) there needs to follow a step-by-step process of training and improvement (self-realization). This applies equally to walking (whose differences in the minute useage of the body differ widely between individuals) as to learning the use of the mind for reasoning. IMHO.
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Old 11-19-2006, 10:51 PM   #117
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Gernot Hassenpflug wrote:
Eric, regarding "natural", I cannot find any reason why you would call learning and adaptation any more "natural" than walking.
I meant to express my view that one is not more natural or unnatural than the other. Call it what you will, human beings learn walking without being affirmatively taught how (other than by example). The only "natural" thing from one point of view is the capacity to observe and learn -- the rest is an artifact of that process.
Quote:
Gernot Hassenpflug wrote:
As far as I can gather, this kind of "natural" is a fluke, something that comes to certain people without their knowing the process of having come to this point.
Which I suppose underlines my point -- the thing has a reality quite indepedent of the process we may select to teach it. More than one proces can encode and decode knowledge of that thing.
Quote:
Gernot Hassenpflug wrote:
To all other people (and to them if they try to teach it) there needs to follow a step-by-step process of training and improvement (self-realization). This applies equally to walking (whose differences in the minute useage of the body differ widely between individuals) as to learning the use of the mind for reasoning. IMHO.
What you have described is the difference between pre-conscious or unconscious learning and adaptation and a conscious programmattic form of it. My point, and I take it to be David's as well, and with no small amount of authority, O-Sensei's too, is that under the right conditions human beings learn because they have an innate nature to do it. Takemusu aiki is possible because we all have it in us to do it "naturally."

A seed grows into a tree, naturally; that does not negate the importance of certain absolute preconditions at every stage of that that natural process which set limits on its commencing, continuing and completing its course. These are limits on what it means to be a tree, not limits on how to go about understanding what a tree is.

Programmatic forms of teaching that depart from these conditions usually get in the way of the learning, because they intentionally obscure certain real connections that exist, all in the service of conscious "simplification." I have discussed this with several others in the thread on systematic teaching and its proper role and benefits.

I have no brief against that form of teaching, although I do not use it. It works for many; it does not work for all. so long as it is addressed ot the preconditions of what aikido is, as opposed to how we understand what that is. Unavoidably, the latter tends to sever the teaching, in part, from the reality that it is there to try and represent. It sets an intentional limit on the ability of the far-ranging learning faculty of the mind to make a real connection, because that connection has been disallowed at that stage of the programmattic training.

It is a tenet of natural learning that the mind learns faster without many boundaries. It also learns in a manner that is not linear, and thus comes in for criticism from a linear perspective that without a program to follow, it is not getting to the "important" learning soon enough, or not at all, yet.

When you have a limited set of goals in learning, unstructured learning is inefficient. When your goals are not limited because you seek to teach an art with universal aspects of its applicaiton, then unstructured learning is in fact more efficient, because many more connections are formed by the inituitive exploration of the space of that knowledge without concrete barriers against making such connections as they come up. It will offend any preconceived notion about the particular path that learning is "supposed" to take.

The typical admonition along these lines in most dojos I have been in is simply this: "Keep training."

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 11-20-2006, 05:55 AM   #118
DH
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Blush! Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Okay, Dan. That expresses perfectly what I've been saying. Aikido is a fighting art. It is an art of self defense and it has served me very well ever since I began training in it. It took me from someone who was next-to-last chosen for every game, afraid of all the bigger kids, to a 51-year-old who meets those old bullies and finds them much worn down by time, rather shrivelled and nothing like a threat to me anymore. The years and what I've trained in have been far kinder to me than to them. Their response, of course, is that they have a lot more money than me, now (most of them), bigger houses and cars and they're going to retire with big pensions.

But as a method of self-defense, I am very happy with aikido as I have learned it. This doesn't detract from what you do, but it does show that we are talking about different things. I am talking about aikido as I learned it from a meijin and I see the roots of that art in every child who learns to stand and walk.

David
David
You missed the point entirely. I was merely trying to keep the conversation on track about your natural movement theory VS my argument for unnatural, trained body methods. And to keep it out of a discussion centered around fighting. THAT is why I said fighting is different topic.You could of course talk about these skills and how they are valid for stability, balance, and health and ways to train them........Then..... talk about training the body to fight using these skills. As for testing under pressure- an MMA format is far more trying then doing aikido anyway. It also gives validity to provable skills in a changing pressured environment as opposed to more cooperative play or "static tricks." Connection, Aiki, and setting up a throw is a whole different topic with collegiate wrestlers or MMA guys with 5 oz gloves and knees smashing into your head and chest. And sword, spear, and the ways the body moves while using them is a great discussion as well....But as I said again and again, that's a different topic.
I enjoy debating with you here and there bud, but sometimes its hard to keep your mind from wandering all over the place. The real question was about a method of training the body. I didn't, and still don't, see the need to bring up play time.

Maybe a more interesting topic is to address Gernot's post about the AIkido guy having to extend the arms to do his aikido and what that says about a skill level? Or what about breath power? How would that affect his fingers? What connects them? How about what is happening on the inside of that Aikido guy, as oppossed to enountering power at a touch anywhere in the body in the other method with Arkuzawa. Or Mark Murrays experience in feeling me VS Ikeda in the same week. There are two men, who don't know each other, feeling two different means of holding the body together and telling you they are different. Both have given a written opinion about their views as to whether they would call it "aiki" vs "aiki"-do and how it felt different. How about follow up questions to them about the feel and what they think is going on? About what this "whole body feel" -they who are thousands of miles apart- both try to describe? How or why is there such a difference that it is tangible upon contact? How did it affect them on the inside? Why or how could that be natural or unnatural-the subject of the thread?

Or would you rather relegate the discussion to single leg shoots to a side mount crucifix with knees in the head? Why do you keep bringing up fighting? What does fighting have to do with anything we are discussing?

Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 11-20-2006 at 06:10 AM.
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Old 11-20-2006, 07:03 AM   #119
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Edit ran out.

Another question that goes to the heart of your whole debate about kids and movement and higher levels is addressed in the Sumo VS Tai chi video

Why did Akebonna get off balanced and land foward?
Do you suppose if I were to push you -that I'd fall over if you moved? First off...I wouln't. Second, lets say even if you were to try and off-balance me by moving away then "leading or pulling and I just stood there...How would I do that? What am I doing? How?
Why did Akebono fall down?

I appreciate your earlier statement telling me what I do isn't Aiki. No problem. Your ealier Aiki description (of opening the door or leading the knob)....offers a solution..to a problem I'd never present you with.
Your solution is nullified by the fact that while you would be most likely pushed over...I am not pushing on you that way.
Aiki is not the two of you..never was. It is in you.

Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 11-20-2006 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:46 AM   #120
ChrisMoses
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
Why did Akebonna get off balanced and land foward?
Do you suppose if I were to push you -that I'd fall over if you moved? First off...I wouln't. Second, lets say even if you were to try and off-balance me by moving away then "leading or pulling and I just stood there...How would I do that? What am I doing? How?
Why did Akebono fall down?

I appreciate your earlier statement telling me what I do isn't Aiki. No problem. Your ealier Aiki description (of opening the door or leading the knob)....offers a solution..to a problem I'd never present you with.
Your solution is nullified by the fact that while you would be most likely pushed over...I am not pushing on you that way.
Aiki is not the two of you..never was. It is in you.

Cheers
Dan
First to comment on this part. This has been a weird aspect of the push out exercise (if we're talking about the same one: legs mostly straight, mugamai/natural posture, one partner resists while one extends the arms...). Most people in Aikido think that to generate a lot of force, the attacker has to have a lot of momentum or must be off balancing themselves to throw their weight into the attack. Before ever dealing with the Aunkai, I knew this was false, but particularly after working on their exercises I'm getting a sense of how to actually do this. One of the guys we train with hasn't been able to move me in this exercise unless he leans into me with all of his weight, at which point I release the tension in my arms and he stumbles forward in a rather dramatic fasion. When it's my turn, I've pushed him back so suddenly that he's forgotten to absorb with his arms and had to take a few steps backwards. The guy in question is much stronger than I am, but he hasn't figured out how the exercise works *yet*. He will. I should point out that this isn't a rank beginner, we've been training together for well over a decade, and he has blackbelts in several arts. He has gotten frustrated at my pulling my arms back when he's leaning forward and started doing the same thing to me, only I wasn't leaning forward at all, so it didn't affect my balance in the slightest (my arms just shot out the rest of the way lacking any resisitance). *I'm not great at this exercise* but just doing it for a couple weeks has changed my ability to generate power and maintain body structure. However, I really believe that I would have never stumbled onto this method for power generation myself. Which leads me to...

...a point I made the last time we had this little discussion. I HATE the term "natural movement." By definition we can't really move unnaturally, so it's a really terrible way to describe things and leads to lots of confusion. I prefer to think of "intuitive" and "counter-intuitive" movements. Aiki works because it takes advantage of intuitive/reactive movements (in uke) through counter-intuitive strategies and movements (as I see it anyway). That's why I get my panties all in a bunch over people talking about "natural" movements in aikido. The real 'aiki' stuff is specifically the kinds of things that you wouldn't stumble across, and that's why they work.
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:53 AM   #121
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
What would you say is the difference between rooting and neutralization?
Where you direct the jin. There is only one jin.

Best.

Mike
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Old 11-20-2006, 11:47 AM   #122
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Gernot Hassenpflug wrote:
Eric, regarding "natural", I cannot find any reason why you would call learning and adaptation any more "natural" than walking. As far as I can gather, this kind of "natural" is a fluke, something that comes to certain people without their knowing the process of having come to this point. To all other people (and to them if they try to teach it) there needs to follow a step-by-step process of training and improvement (self-realization). This applies equally to walking (whose differences in the minute useage of the body differ widely between individuals) as to learning the use of the mind for reasoning. IMHO.
Hi Gernot: The type of "natural" movement so often commented upon in Asia is sort of a misnomer (or at least a misleading term) in the same way that "harmony with the universe" can often be misinterpretted by westerners.

The "natural" movement idea is movement that is in accord with the "laws of the universe"... so it is in akin to the idea of "harmony with the universe". To cut a long story short, "natural" movement does not mean "intuitive" movement; it must be taught. True, there are segments of Asian thought that will attribute small segments of this kind of movement to babies, but that is in a very limited sense and, IMO, reflects a sort of logical filler to explain how a foetus is "natural" because it is curved over due to the yang nature of stresses up the back and the yin nature of forces closing the front. I.e., the foetal position in the womb.

My opinion, FWIW.

Mike
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Old 11-20-2006, 12:56 PM   #123
ChrisMoses
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Comments on O-Sensei's article? Can a rabbit eat an oak tree?
Out of morbid curiosity, were you referring to this article?? If so, I don't know where the rabbit/oak tree reference comes in.

If you are talking about this article, then the *only* thing that was actually said (supposedly) by OSensei was, "The secret of Aikido is to harmonize ourselves with the movement of the universe and bring ourselves into accord with the universe itself. He who has gained the secret of Aikido has the universe in himself and can say, "I am the universe." " That doesn't tell me much actually, next to nothing from a practical standpoint, but then I guess that's why 20 years later it's still the 'secret' of Aikido instead of the beginning of an amazing 3 month course.
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Old 11-20-2006, 01:12 PM   #124
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

We have the natural an involuntary actions (movements) of our lives and then we have those that are voluntary. The involuntary, or unconscious movements are pure and uncorrupted as infants but as we grow older we add voluntary actions to our lives and all of these actions are born of conflict. From the act of standing to the many aspects of voluntary movement are a result of conflict. Conflict with gravity, conflict with the earth and conflict within ourselves as the body structure sets up opposing dynamics to cause action and reaction. As we grow older the conflict sometimes works it's way into the involuntary realm. We start to breath high in the chest using conflict of the muscles in the chest. We let the conflict interfere with the heart rate and our nervous system. What was once only useful conflict now becomes un-useful. I can't speak to other arts but in Aikido we strive to remove as much unnecessary conflict as possible and it is sometimes called learning natural movement. If you watch Ti Chi and Aikido people seem to float across the ground at times and at times are rooted to it like trees. These are both natural and in accord with the harmony of nature at the moment. Natural is what it takes to blend and not break.

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Old 11-20-2006, 03:56 PM   #125
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Where you direct the jin. There is only one jin.
There are, however, many, many jinni ...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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