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Old 11-20-2006, 05:36 PM   #126
Tim Fong
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Erick,
The movement is "natural" because it is based ultimately on finding a particular feeling in the body, then working to maintain that feeling in all joints and in all ranges of motion. Doing this, one discovers how the body is wired together, so to speak.

But without some guidance, only the most talented people will find this, and even then they may not reach their full potential.

It sounds paradoxical for me to say this, but you have to have a structure without a structure. You have noted before that you don't want to teach through an esoteric framework, but I'm afraid that if you are actually trying to teach/study the skills then you don't have much of a choice. Part of the problem is that when most people say "esoteric" they mean "hard to understand" or "silly hippy garbage." But if we go back and examine exoteric vs esoteric we see that what differentiates the two is that exoteric things have a measurable existence outside the body --words, overt physical motions etc. Esoteric things, deal with the world of feelings , sensation etc. Now, as I've said before, I think the two are merging with some of the latest scientific developments in physiology and neuroscience, but that's a different topic.

However, all is not lost...though the process may be esoteric, the results are not. As Dan points out, many people are going out and seeing and experiencing these skills. Thus, the esoteric knowledge (how does this feel) can be checked against exoteric tests (can I stand here in this stance/can I shift my weight without overt motion). I should add that I think it is very important to test otherwise, one risks the potential for delusion. If you are familiar with the ideas of the late Col. John Boyd, this is essentially Observing the Action part of the OODA loop, with Orientation provided by the esoteric context created during solo practice. Without that, a person is going to get delusional pretty quickly. This also requires a lot of honesty --I constantly find myself asking "am I really feeling this? does this actually work? " Sometimes I am self deceptive, which usually means I'm going to get dumped on my ass later.

You claim that Dan, Mike and Gernot are "invested in a paradigm of description" that defies reduction to common language. That sentence does not make sense because the paradigm and language we are using is what is allowing us to communicate. I've never met Dan or Gernot or Rob. But I can talk to them about these things and see where there is some common ground and how to further tune my own training.

That's ultimately how an esoteric process works-- one experiences things internally, tests them in the real world, and sees how the two relate. Then they can only describe the process to someone else, but in the end, as Dan says, it is up to a person to train solo and figure it out.

What's that old saying? A teacher can only show a student a door, but ultimately the student has to go through the door himself.
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:11 PM   #127
DH
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Hi Chris

Yes on the push out exercise. But we do it different then the Aunkia. I stand with feet shoulder width apart, knee's locked, arms out in front-arms locked. Then the other guy stands in a power stance-(hanmi) and the goal is to push straight through the arms and hands. No rising up or moving the arms to absorb redirect.....nothing.
Now, the goal is for the guy pushing to try and push through me, and try to lift a foot and step forward. Then with him in a power stance-he tries to hold me back as I step forward from the weak stance.
Its fun

We do the same thing with both standing facing the same direction say a common left wall in the dojo. First guy extends his right hand, palm out, toward the other guy. Second guy extends his left hand, palm out, to meet guy one. Both push into the palm. Straight through. Now lets say second guy tries to step -around himself- to his left and move forward into first guy, or vice versa.
usually they can't lift their feet.
Other ones are we have a guy hold your hips and you have to walk through their resistence on your hips, or pulling on your arm while you agree with them and neutralize their ability to pull on you.
There are any number of fun tests. But the more potent ones are while moving, with someone setting up, feinting and fighting you at every turn and you not being allowed to do anything but absorb, bounce them off or toss em.
These are just simple examples about testing structure and being able to hold your body together. Muscle and any isolated flexation and you.... are done. Then the flip side is training wayds to undo everything you have learnd .....to do. There are ways to "take apart" the frame of a guy with structure too. ways that give the idea of a "soft art" a whole new meaning.
Loads of fun.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 11-20-2006 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 11-20-2006, 07:55 PM   #128
eyrie
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Whilst I applaud David and think that what he is doing is commendable in observing seemingly natural movement and drawing it out, I am reminded of a comment that my teacher once mentioned in passing, almost casually, that aiki is like "reprogramming your software".

Ignatius
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Old 11-20-2006, 08:53 PM   #129
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

I think that the danger here is taking something true but trivial—that children's movement can sometimes resemble aikido movement—and expanding its importance so that it supposedly becomes a basic principle of the art. In the ongoing debate, I'm afraid that I would tend to side with people like Dan Harden, on the grounds of "fruitfulness." You can take what Dan (and Mike Sigman and Rob John and others) is saying about the root of aiki movement and use it to actually improve your waza. It actually means something in the real world. If you take what David is saying as the base of your aikido, then what? What difference will it make? Do the shihan whom we admire say, "my aikido works because I try to imitate my toddler's movement"? The test is always on the mat. Not in how a proposition reinforces things we believe in anyway.

R
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:40 PM   #130
Aran Bright
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Thanks for what is a fantastic thread.

If I can add my two bob. How can aikido be anything other than natural movement, what ever the definition. We started as toddlers and have all learnt to refine our movements. How can we understand counter-intuitive without developing intuitive?

Anyway, the depth of understanding and reflections presented hear are just solid gold for someone who feels like a toddler in the aikido world.

Aran

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Old 11-20-2006, 10:07 PM   #131
Upyu
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
<snip>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.
I think I understand where you're coming from, but I'd have to disagree with you on this point as well.
The skills being discussed were developed from weapons use, and were more or less used to survive a weapons encounter where there's even less room for error, as you so aptly described.
Irimi isn't a "technique," so much as a result of the "internal" movement inside of you that manifests itself as movement.
A sword comes down towards your head, you simply "irekae" or "turn" inside yourself, which results in the irimi movement.
Its the principle behind the (and anyone else with a different view on this feel free to chime in) "He moves first, I move later, but still arrive first" description you often hear.
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Old 11-20-2006, 11:01 PM   #132
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Dan,
Thanks for those exercises. I will try them out for sure =)
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Old 11-20-2006, 11:02 PM   #133
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
But without some guidance, only the most talented people will find this [natural feeling], and even then they may not reach their full potential.
I agree there is no substitute for direct experience. The problem usually comes in communicating correction to ineffective movement and emphasis on appropriate movement. What do you say to the wide-eyed 19 year-old gamely trying to follow along? "There is only one jin. Use it." ???
Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
It sounds paradoxical for me to say this, but you have to have a structure without a structure.
On that we agree. I am more and more confirmed in using a non-linear model of instruction.

I had many excellent teachers. They cannot be replaced. But I have also had periods of intense isolation in my own training -- not chosen -- but invaluable in retrospect for deepening certain connections between movements that I am only now begining to realize were made as I am finding myself teaching them.
Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
You have noted before that you don't want to teach through an esoteric framework, but I'm afraid that if you are actually trying to teach/study the skills then you don't have much of a choice. ... But if we go back and examine exoteric vs esoteric we see that what differentiates the two is that exoteric things have a measurable existence outside the body --words, overt physical motions etc. Esoteric things, deal with the world of feelings , sensation etc.
I deny the premise. Exoteric and esoteric go together. One is the "safe" stuff to be allowed to those "outside" and the other is the secrets, held only for those admitted within. The process of moving from one to the other is one of measuring individual worth to be admitted within the inner sanctum. The process of koryu and menkyo kaiden was of this nature, but that was merely a matter of trust and loyalty -- knowledge of the core would allow an enemy to defeat the art with inside knowledge. In most other settigns the judgment was more in the nature of judgment of moral worth or merit. Aikido has abandoned that aspect of the koryu model.
Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
If you are familiar with the ideas of the late Col. John Boyd, this is essentially Observing the Action part of the OODA loop, with Orientation provided by the esoteric context created during solo practice.
It is funny you should bring up Colonel Boyd. For alI of Col. Boyd's devotion to the conceptual aspects of the limitations of knowledge and meta-knowledge (Rummy, we hardly knew ye) his paradigm was still linear, and dare I say, dialectical. He describe it accurately as a dialectic of creation and destruction. I appreciate analytical approaches, and his was invaluable in its context, which I appreciate on many levels, not the least of which was as a naval aviator.

Aiki is explicitly intended to operate beyond/outside that cycle. One cannot read O-Sensei's expression of takemusu aiki in operation and realize that it is not within Colonel Boyd's paradigm. Aiki is not dialectical.Aiki is about denying the premise of dialectic, of inner v. outer, esoteric v. exoteric. Aiki is an open secret, free for the stealing.

O-Sensei was very much about making aiki motion and technique the natural, even inevitable response to any interaction. It is about denying the premise of dialectical conflict (attacker/defender) in the first instance. As Hooker Sensei noted, we begin that dialectic with the first battle with gravity, and as we become more and more habituated to it, it progressively infects and hinders our physical, mental and emotional responses. As David suggests, we have other, and earlier developed, resources to draw upon as well. That is why I find his observations useful and appropriate.

Many people have related Zen and aikido, even though the root of Aikido is not Buddhist. The difference is that Zen is about awareness and Aikido is about action. Aikido is also about moral action, right action, that we ought to do as the proper or natural response to another action, in a way that ceases to distinguish one action from the other.
Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
You claim that Dan, Mike and Gernot are "invested in a paradigm of description" that defies reduction to common language. That sentence does not make sense because the paradigm and language we are using is what is allowing us to communicate.
But it is true. Jin I understand, because I have the background. I do not think it means what Mike thinks it means, but then, we have very different views of how Chinese knowledge is intended to communicate meaning. Either way, for students in the West, we must find images and metaphors that work better than the cultivation and manipulation of arcane essences that lack common reference.
Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
I've never met Dan or Gernot or Rob. But I can talk to them about these things and see where there is some common ground and how to further tune my own training.
Of course. You have all seen the elephant. Having done so , as long as you agree on referents to a known reality you could communicate in Romanian verse and it would not matter to the clarity of discussion -- but only for those with the prior references to draw upon.

My task is in aiding those trying to acquire that original reference. Beyond that it is a matter of invdividual motivaiton and contemplation to follow that reality where it leads. Through training, training, and more training

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 11-20-2006, 11:24 PM   #134
Mike Hamer
 
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Ki Symbol Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

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.

I think that is a very good reason to be bragging Dan! For me, seeing that baby with my own eyes do something that I just naturally picked up as aiki movement, is pretty cool. I take pride in the fact that my martial art can be spontaneously seen in toddlers by someone with a slight knowledge on the basic footwork and principles. Have you ever gotten that feeling that sometimes when you perform a technique smoothly for the first time, is when it's the easiest? When you stop worrying so much about what to do next, or if your doing it "right" and you just go with the flow? I recall my Sensei saying on multiple occasions during training, "It's simple, not easy" The mentality of a baby is a simple one, they don't second guess their movements. The little girl in my case, simply wanted to be left alone to play with the phone. Her movement led her "opponent" away from his goal, which is exactly what she wanted, and her mind moved her body automatically to accomplish this goal. As we get older, this automatic reaction sort of dies down. Maybe it's because we start learning more about the world around us, and based on certain doubts and fears, we start second guessing ourselves. So maybe one trains to fine hone their reflexes, and reactions to their surroundings? They still have to go through the "middle man" if you will, or the second step in the process of stimulus to action. The small child puts their entire willpower into his or her minds desire, and mind and body move as one. IMHO!!

I hope I got my point acrossed , actually I'm not even sure that had a point, I'm just sharing my personal thoughts on the topic.

To speak ill of anything is against the nature of Aikido
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Old 11-21-2006, 01:56 AM   #135
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Mike, thanks for the explanation there. The thinking behind all these sayings mentioning the universe or heavens is very confusing to me, I'm not even sure what universe people are referring to here! (Taking Ten-Chi-Jin as an example, where Ten is translated as "heaven", Chi as "earth" and Jin as "person", the focus is on combining outside forces(mostly gravity, and the buoyancy of the atmosphere I suppose) and internal forces (inside the body)).

Regarding the issue of what the Aikido teacher and Minoru Akuzawa are doing, I'll take Dan's train of thought and run with it. What are they doing and what are they doing differently?

First of all, I believe now (after some comments by Akuzawa on the weekend) that the martial arts are a set of moves designed to hide the real techniques, and deceive the observers as to what is going on on the inside, and prevent the opponent from discerning what is being done to him from where and when. This kind of deception is not the kind where one opens a door at the same speed as someone tries to reach the doorknob!

At the very basic level, I think there is the connection of the lower back (coccyx perhaps) to the elbows on the one hand, and the lower back (I think) to the knees on the other. This explains why people who may be good in seated position fail to be as strong when standing.

The aikido teacher opens the shoulder and forward hip joints by extending arms relaxed and stretching the body up. The elbow and wrist, knee and ankle joints, and the spine, are probably lso stretched, but I think the main focus is on the shoulder and hip area (in seated position). Then, regardless of breath action, dropping the
coccyx a few millimetres as though about to sit down (without dropping knees or neck) powers the elbows and arms slightly, certainly in the opposite direction of whichever way the partner may be twisting or pushing. This affects partner's shoulders and balance, allowing the practitioner to unblanance further, using again the lower back drop to "extend" the arms. The connection to the knees comes about from the outward turn of the legs (which closes the buttocks and opens the front hip arch or "kua", IIRC) and the inward turn of the feet (from below the knees). The palpable connection of the knee, hip, elbow in this manner during movement allows upward (by the lower back drop stretch) and downward (by a rise of the lower back) powered movements to be generated from a point far away from the elbow joint, and thus "under" the partner's strength. If the partner puts pushing pressure on the practitioner, the latter should not tense up the joints but simply power the elbows and knees from the lower back at will, since the power will be generated regardless, as long as the relaxation is there and the joints are open, even if the partner is moving the arms in some way. Once the power generation starts, the partner's balance will be instantaneously affected. Together with the stretch/compression of the lower back is the action of the ribcage which also does this action, and in this way one can imagine how the breath can easily and directly be added to the mechanical leverage described above. I would not call this "ki" though, as it is too basic.

The above is what the aikido teacher did, after I can recall how his outstretched arms affected my shoulders and body.

Minoru Akuzawa says and does the same thing, thus the point of aiki-age is not to lift but to train this connection of knee-hip/back-elbow. If the partner takes good ukemi, i.e., shoulders rise but body stays down, then to lift the partner's weight up demands great efforts from the practitioner, and the connection(s) get a hard work-out.

However, Akuzawa does not need or want extended arms and legs. Instead, he focusses on keeping the connections (trained with the various shiko, tenchijin, mabu and other exercises) and utilizing them to flow incoming forces around from one part of the body to others (and to the ground). That sounds very similar to the idea of good aikido, so I think at the source both the Aikido sensei and Akuzawa are based on the same thing. The emphasis in actualization is different though. I gather that the aikido is invariably powered from the lower back (connection to the knees makes the power come from the ground, of course, finally), whereas Akuzawa talks and demonstrates often that he is only using one finger, or the wrist, or the forearm to power the connection (to avoid injuring the other party) as opposed to using the whole body (presumably with this he means utilizing the back and legs as well as breath). So although the connections may be similar, the powering of them may differ. But I am not sure of this.

What I can be sure of, to the degree that I an feel the difference myself (not in me, but in the partner, to my great surprise I may add), is that Akuzawa's methods are completely applicable to aikido. For example, in kote-gaeshi, if the partner stiffens his arm, fist and shoulder, I cannot throw him even if he is a little lighter than I am. But by remaining open in the joints above, and powering from the lower back (for example) it is easy to unbalance the partner at the next part of his body which is not tensed (chest, or hips, or thighs) with no perceivable effort, even though his strength in the arms does not lessen. This Akuzawa demonstrated on Saturday and I could do it today to my own satisfaction at aikido. Second, kicking with teh kua open, as in shiko, something I had pointed out to me on Saturday, adn which I can now relate to how the lower back is connected to the knee: it is easy to take out someone's leg even when they have their weight on it, with a simpe 1cm motion. To say that I was surprised is an understatement, I was flabbergasted, as was the partner, and the gasps from the students next to us watching my explanations were proof. And I recall feeling exactly... nothing, and neither did my partner. So, at the end of the day, before breath and other advanced methods of generating power, the standing and training of connections is paramount, I think. In that regard I cannot see a difference between what the Aikido sensei and Akuzawa do.
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Old 11-21-2006, 02:01 AM   #136
grondahl
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Does Akuzawa have any planned seminars in Europe in the near (a year or so) future?

Last edited by grondahl : 11-21-2006 at 02:16 AM.
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Old 11-21-2006, 02:25 AM   #137
Upyu
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

I think we're supposed to have two in April, in Paris and Holland...
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Old 11-21-2006, 03:36 AM   #138
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Erick,

I think we might agree more than we disagree. I mentioned Boyd specifically because I remembered that you were a naval aviator. As far as the linear cycle, I read a brief by Dr. Chet Richards last year where he detailed how really the OODA loop was meant to evolve to be a simultaneous process, after the practitioner grasped the basic meaning. I think it was on one of his briefs at D-N-I.net actually.

Yes, I realize that traditionally esoteric knowledge was held close to the vest (and indeed that is one of the meanings of esoteric, i.e. hidden knowledge, or knowledge that requires initiation) but I think the rise of the internet means that is pretty much over. It's not going to stay hidden for long, in other words.

As far as jin etc, I tend to actually use the word body connection in my regular conversations with people on this topic. As to how to explain this to the notional 19 year old, I have no idea. That's really not a concern for me right now. I know that I first saw pieces of this puzzle when I was in my early 20s, and if someone had explained to me the drills that we've discussed in these threads, it would have made sense. Just for context, I was doing 15 to 20 minutes of standing practice a day at that time.

I'll drop my discussion of esoteric vs. exoteric, because I think it is cluttering up the thread and not too helpful.


Gernot:
When you say the back drop, do you mean that the shoulders drop back while the hip tips forward, stretching open the front of the hips?

Last edited by Tim Fong : 11-21-2006 at 03:40 AM.
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Old 11-21-2006, 05:27 AM   #139
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Hello Tim, everything from the lower back to the fingertips is moved when the lower back drops, so someone hugging the waist from behind feels upended and dropped, someone holding the shoulders feels a force into his own shoulders, and someone gripping the elbows or wrists feels the force coming from underneath his own (shoulder-powered) strength. The front of the hips are open in two senses at least: once in the upward direction, opening the leg-hip joint in the same way as the shoulder (and elbos) joints are opened by the feeling of the arm that is dropping as though to pick up something on the ground. The hips are also opened in the sideways sense, as both legs are twisted outwards, pressing the buttocks together as part of the stretching up process. The knees thus are turned outwards, but below the knees the feet are turned back in again. I would not say the hips tp forward or the shoulders drop back in any overt sense, though that position may exist (how to check this?) asa result of the above. With back drop I mean drop the lower part of the back at the coccyx without dropping the hips or neck/shoulders, so I suppose actually the ribcage and expands a bit downward and probably there is some change in the spine and hip relationship. Certainly, when asking students to do this most of them cannot easily imagine what to move and what not to, so most drop their hips (from the knees) taking the whole body with it, which does not create any expansion (or compression if opposite way). What are you referring to (bearing in mind my low level!)?
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Old 11-21-2006, 07:27 AM   #140
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
What do you say to the wide-eyed 19 year-old gamely trying to follow along? "There is only one jin. Use it." ???
I agree with the general idea of what you're saying, Erick, but that comment about the one jin was in response to a side discussion about the difference between "rooting" and "neutralizing".... which, for all practical purposes, are simply variations of the same thing. I've spent a lot of time writing out long explanations of how to do many of the jin/kokyu things on this forum and others... it would be too much to re-write what *should* be basic knowledge already, every time I use a word.

Most of this stuff, as has been noted, is really useless to discuss unless you've seen and felt it... AND had someone competent explain what's really going on. Just like describing an "exercise" without telling someone how to do it is a waste of time, BTW.

The thing of the most benefit to the wide-eyed 19-year-old is that he sees an extended conversation which clues him/her (assuming he/she's beyond a certain threshold IQ... the good stuff *does* take a certain amount of smarts, curiosity, etc.) that there's more to Aikido than smoothing out your techniques and learning to rap endlessly about the correct way to fold a hakama. There are a lot more clues out nowadays than there were even a decade ago. The 19-year-old has to follow up. And that doesn't guarantee that more mistakes won't be made, either.

Right now is an interesting time in Aikido and a number of other arts. Many, many people are aware that there is something missing. Information is scarce, people are offering guesses as knowledge, status is being protected, yada, yada, yada. It's fun to watch. Being a 19-year-old trying to find information isn't easy, I agree, but these conversations tell a lot to them anyway.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 11-21-2006, 07:35 AM   #141
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Toddlers have not yet learned how (or been conditioned) to flex muscles and hold them tense, so, they are naturally relaxed. This natural state of relaxation is something that is overcome by conscious and unconscious emotional concern as we get older and more aware of our surroundings.

I'd say we learn, counterintuitively, to become tense, despite the fact that it impedes our natural movement. Relaxation/non-flexing of muscles is key to making a lot of methods work, but is not in itself the methods themselves. A lot of observations have been made of little children doing "amazing feats" such as the anecdote provided above, and it isn't surprising that adults are so amazed by these things, given most of us have forgotten what it was like to be so relaxed. Muscle tension is almost a constant in the adult human demeanor.

In doing what we do, we have to re-learn the natural state of relaxation. So that we can do the "unnatural" movements of our art. (Actually, I like the earlier-mentioned terms of "intuitive" and "counterintuitive" in place of "natural" and "unnatural" movement. )

As an aside: While I do agree that, as humans are creatures of nature, all of their movements -- however contrived by conscious thought -- must then also be natural. When I was studying primate evolutionary ecology during one of my grad student stints, I often wondered why a chimpanzee, when compared to a human of comparable body mass, seems capable of greater "feats of strength" than the human. If I had continued my studies, I would have tested that apparent fact to see whether, in fact, chimps have more muscle power, pound-per-pound, than humans do. Now, along with that aspect, I would ask whether chimps are more "naturally" relaxed than humans are, and thus -- in their non-tense state -- able to do many more things than we seem capable of.

We can learn a lot from toddlers and chimps. But not aiki technique, so don't go getting and strange ideas.
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Old 11-21-2006, 07:38 AM   #142
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
As far as the linear cycle, I read a brief by Dr. Chet Richards last year where he detailed how really the OODA loop was meant to evolve to be a simultaneous process, after the practitioner grasped the basic meaning. I think it was on one of his briefs at D-N-I.net actually.
"Rapid-cycle" OODA. It really is old school week ...

Quote:
Tim Fong wrote:
As to how to explain this to the notional 19 year old, I have no idea. That's really not a concern for me right now.
I am selfish. I have begun to find that I actually learn much more, the more I try and teach it. Truly, in giving, we receive, I suppose ...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 11-21-2006, 07:46 AM   #143
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
When I was studying primate evolutionary ecology during one of my grad student stints, I often wondered why a chimpanzee, when compared to a human of comparable body mass, seems capable of greater "feats of strength" than the human. If I had continued my studies, I would have tested that apparent fact to see whether, in fact, chimps have more muscle power, pound-per-pound, than humans do. Now, along with that aspect, I would ask whether chimps are more "naturally" relaxed than humans are, and thus -- in their non-tense state -- able to do many more things than we seem capable of.
Animals utilize their qi; they have better developed qi than we do. The theory among Chinese, Indians, etc., is that we evolved to a point where our natural qi is not what it once was, when we were more animal like. Hence, you have to do qigongs, etc., to build your qi strength back up. Jin/Kokyu powers are not natural to animals... those are learned skills.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 11-21-2006, 07:54 AM   #144
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
I am selfish. I have begun to find that I actually learn much more, the more I try and teach it. Truly, in giving, we receive, I suppose ...
Hi Erick:

This is sort of a hot button of mine. "Teaching" is not meant to be a time of experiment and fulfillment just for a teacher. That's why I don't teach. I didn't know enough to teach (I only know a few basics) and I'm glad I didn't saddle some well-meaning "wide-eyed 19-year-old" with what turned out to be incorrect ideas.

And I've listened to and worked with many people who were taught something wrong... and almost none of those people can now make the effort to overcome those wrongly imbued habits to any great extent. Their well-meaning "teacher" led them down the wrong road, thinking that "years of practice" must mean "I'm getting better". You get the drift.

I'm not singling you out, but I've been there and seen that problem of "teachers" for too many years. And I've met too many really nice people who were taught shoulder instead of hara and now they'll never make it back... a beginner can pass them easily.

Let's be careful with the idea of "teaching". It's a loaded gun and it's destroyed many lives. Reading some of the posts on various martial arts lists, I shudder to think of the many personal theories that are being foisted off as "The Real Stuff" (tm).

FWIW

Mike
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Old 11-21-2006, 08:21 AM   #145
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

I'm nowhere near competent enough to provide a detailed analysis on this subject. So, here's my rambling thoughts...

Mikel and David's examples and theories do have an underlying truth in regards to a lot of aikido. Expanding that, the theories given also have a basis for aiki in a lot of aikido.

Let's face it, some (I won't say how many because I really don't know) schools of aikido teach relaxation, timing, and body movement as a basis for "affecting" uke. In certain regards, what toddlers/children do can actually be seen as a crude level "natural" basis for aiki and aikido.

Don't get me wrong, this is just rambling and I really haven't come to any conclusions on the theories and ideas presented here. Give me a few years.

But, there is an aikido that uses "effect" rather than "affect" and in the former instance, I really can't see how this theory holds up to aiki and aikido.

Let me explain ... when one uses body movement and relaxing to physically off balance uke, then one is "affecting" uke. It's a very direct, action verb and something is being done to uke.

When one uses internal arts to keep oneself centered and uke attacks, then there is an "effect" on uke that is more of a cause and effect situation. It's more of a secondary matter and there is no direct, action done to uke.

So, when doing internal aiki and aikido, I'd have to say that this really isn't "natural" or "intuitive" and that the theory doesn't hold. As I said before, you'd have to be a genius to figure this stuff out on your own.

However, I've been trying to get a handle on how Ikeda sensei felt as related to how Dan felt. And I'm wondering if somewhere down the line, at some point in aikido training, all this technique-driven practice and going from big circles to little circles and hip driven movement and relaxing doesn't somehow provide an opportunity for one to find these internal arts, albeit in a different manner. Granted, it isn't going to be an opportunity that's easily recognizable. And there are much better training methods for learning this internal stuff.

Eh, anyway, that's my rambling thoughts regarding this thread's theory.

Mark
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Old 11-21-2006, 08:23 AM   #146
ChrisMoses
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

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Gernot Hassenpflug wrote:
So, at the end of the day, before breath and other advanced methods of generating power, the standing and training of connections is paramount, I think. In that regard I cannot see a difference between what the Aikido sensei and Akuzawa do.
I can, Akuzawa is able to teach it in a very short period of time, where in Aikido, there is a lingering idea that it will take a lifetime to ever be even a shadow of your nearly magical teacher...
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Old 11-21-2006, 08:27 AM   #147
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I've spent a lot of time writing out long explanations of how to do many of the jin/kokyu things on this forum and others... it would be too much to re-write what *should* be basic knowledge already, every time I use a word.
Unfortunately as these discussions get longer the explanations become almost impossible to track down by any interested newcomers.

Mike,

if you've taken the trouble to create a detailed explanation, is it possible for you to put it somewhere referenceable on the web, as you do with your force diagrams?

Similarly, there are plenty of questions about the terminology that keep recurring that could be handled by an agreed link, perhaps to an entry this site's wiki.

Would anyone like to take a stab at 'jin'? Instructions on how to add an entry to the AikiWiki can be found here .

Last edited by Ian Thake : 11-21-2006 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 11-21-2006, 08:43 AM   #148
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

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Ian Thake wrote:
Unfortunately as these discussions get longer the explanations become almost impossible to track down by any interested newcomers.
Hi Ian:

One time I hosted a very well-known martial artist for a seminar and he asked me what I would like for him to teach. I told him. He shook his head and said that those sorts of things should not be taught to the public. I told him that he didn't understand westerners... you can tell them the secrets of the universe, but they'll never use them, so it's perfectly safe to tell anything freely. They can't distinguish between the truth and the local water-cooler discussions. And they'll never think hard enough to figure it out.

Quote:
if you've taken the trouble to create a detailed explanation, is it possible for you to put it somewhere referenceable on the web, as you do with your force diagrams?

Similarly, there are plenty of questions about the terminology that keep recurring that could be handled by an agreed link, perhaps to an entry this site's wiki.

Would anyone like to take a stab at 'jin'? Instructions on how to add an entry to the AikiWiki can be found here .
Well, to understand "Kokyu", you first have to understand what "jin" is. For instance, Ushiro Sensei was trying to teach "Kokyu" via his favored kata, Sanchin. Sanchin works both jin and the body fascial development that is the focus of what "ki" really is, in the practical sense of body usage. Ushiro tries to teach Kokyu as a wholistic thing; I try to break it into components to make it more easily understood.

I've said before that jin is the "essence" of kokyu because of the fact that you have to understand jin before you can get the whole things. "Jin" is not something any baby is ever going to do, BTW.

If Jun will allow a couple of outlaw (i.e., not purely Aikido) terms in the AikiWiki, I'll give it a shot when I've got some time.

Best.

Mike

Last edited by Mike Sigman : 11-21-2006 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 11-21-2006, 09:02 AM   #149
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
When I was studying primate evolutionary ecology during one of my grad student stints, I often wondered why a chimpanzee, when compared to a human of comparable body mass, seems capable of greater "feats of strength" than the human. If I had continued my studies, I would have tested that apparent fact to see whether, in fact, chimps have more muscle power, pound-per-pound, than humans do. Now, along with that aspect, I would ask whether chimps are more "naturally" relaxed than humans are, and thus -- in their non-tense state -- able to do many more things than we seem capable of.
Animals utilize their qi; they have better developed qi than we do. The theory among Chinese, Indians, etc., is that we evolved to a point where our natural qi is not what it once was, when we were more animal like. Hence, you have to do qigongs, etc., to build your qi strength back up. Jin/Kokyu powers are not natural to animals... those are learned skills.
Chimps and other non-hominid apes actually have greater mechanical advantage on the length of muscle attachment from nearly every limb joint. Thus, they have better "springs and pulleys" than we do, Mike. With one exception, -- the hips and buttocks. We are the big-ass apes in more than one sense...

What we lose in leverage, though, we gain in degrees of freedom of joint rotation, responsiveness and flexibility, which also allows our highly dynamic stance -- but I feel like things are going to start gyrating in a moment -- so I'll sit down, now.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 11-21-2006, 09:24 AM   #150
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

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Mike Sigman wrote:
... He shook his head and said that those sorts of things should not be taught to the public. I told him that he didn't understand westerners... you can tell them the secrets of the universe, but they'll never use them, so it's perfectly safe to tell anything freely.
That's not true, at all.

We'll immediately forget it, and when doing something else utterly unrelated, later remember it, apply it, and then think we invented it ...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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