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Old 11-21-2006, 05:18 PM   #176
Mike Hamer
 
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Wow, this thread has been completely derailed, and has turned into a completely different topic. Oh well, STILL A GOOD THREAD! Never though it would get this huge though...

To speak ill of anything is against the nature of Aikido
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Old 11-21-2006, 05:26 PM   #177
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Yeah, but Mikel... how many people does it take to get across the idea that the "baby's movement" stuff will only go so far?

The ki, kokyu, jin, etc., stuff is what they really mean by "natural" movement. It's not a reliance on muscular movement; it's a return to using the strengths of ground-support and gravity (the ki of heaven and the ki of earth) as the power behind our movements, rather than just brute force.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 11-21-2006, 06:14 PM   #178
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
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.
Dan, I think I've been smack in the middle of the topic of the thread the whole time. Ueshiba said that aiki is natural movement. Mikel started with the example of the young girl moving with aiki, Roy Klein mentioned my article on Aikido Journal, I added the videos and the discussion went on from there for many pages, primarily on whether aiki and aikido were developed based on children's movement.

Much of that discussion involved "what is aiki" and whether I understood what aiki is. I gave Mochizuki sensei's definition and there was a lengthy discussion on how large a part evasion plays in the nature of aiki. As it is defined as the "ura" of kiai, it cannot exist unless someone else is there, exerting kiai against us. Doesn't that stand to reason?

Hence, the focus on "fighting," though as I've said, aikido comes from "not fighting" someone who is trying to fight us. And that leads back to Ellis Amdur's comment that babies fight with a simian overhead flailing, to which I replied that aiki comes from the movement of babies who are not already embroiled in a conflict, but are too interested in what they're doing to be bothered by anyone else, so they just brush it off.

However, for aikido, as budo, the key question has always been effectiveness in self defense and combat. And the sword has always been the ultimate measure of that.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
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?
Maybe, but as you say, it is a different topic.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
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.
Well, as I've said before, that sounds to me like a difference between Japanese and Chinese approaches to martial arts.


Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
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.
And it's fascinating to read about that, but I've addressed that. I think what you're describing is something other than Ueshiba meant when he said that aikido is natural movement. Frankly, once, Mochizuki Sensei did a technique on me that locked my wrist. Normally, when someone does that technique, I can move other parts of my body to some degree, but that one time, I felt that I was unable to move any part of my body. The lock was firm but not especially painful. Still, for a moment, until he let me go, I couldn't move anything at all. No one else ever did that to me.

Still, what he did in the dojo, what the fantastic shihans there were doing, can all be explained in movement that children could easily make--if they were larger and simply more coordinated. Everything could be simplified to basic combinations of movements of the body, arms, legs and head to prevent the attacker's strength from pinning them in place. And the attacker's efforts to restrain them always took the attacker off balance. This aspect, after learning basic, general techniques, depended more and more on a higher organization of the body in "centering" which is to say "tanren". You can tell someone of my mediocre skill that you're more developed in tanren, but that's why I always come back to the more highly developed people who have proven their higher degree of organization by rising through the objective levels of an art like judo. Someone who has reached a legitimate sixth dan in judo would surely give you a different feeling of strength than an old Harry Dean Stanton type, such as myself. But even the strong judo man might still lack the knowledge of how to evade the sword, despite all his strength. And I say that because you have so frequently commented that "blending" as aikido is nonsense. But when the opponent is swinging a sword, any failure to blend is the nonsense.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
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?
Very interesting, yes, but as I've said before, I know how I feel when I use my whole body to move people who are resisting me. It's grounded. It's unified and aligned. It has ki flow. Surely it could be more refined, but Mochizuki told me that I "pretty well" understood aikido. So I think it's either a confusion of descriptive terms or we're really talking about something other than aiki.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
How did it affect them on the inside? Why or how could that be natural or unnatural-the subject of the thread?
Well, what I could see as aiki would be that you are describing a method by which you are able to access the ura of the opponent's strength through his very touch upon you. That would be a very high level of aiki, indeed. But can it work "at a single glance" to win without fighting, though the opponent really intends to kill you? And would that kind of aiki be able to overcome a sword attack?

If you're saying, though, that you're describing aiki as accessing the ura of the opponent's strength through his very touch, that could explain a lot of things that Ueshiba did--though he said very explicitly that aiki is "natural movement". So if what you are doing is aiki, it must be natural.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
Why do you keep bringing up fighting? What does fighting have to do with anything we are discussing?
No discussion of budo is complete without addressing the fighting application. That is the real test of what we say. Which doesn't mean that you and I need necessarily fight. There we would be comparing different things. But how you or I could face a random attack "on the street" is the important consideration for a discussin of budo, all ideas of self-improvement, strength and ability notwithstanding.

Best to you.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 11-21-2006, 06:24 PM   #179
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
The ki, kokyu, jin, etc., stuff is what they really mean by "natural" movement. It's not a reliance on muscular movement; it's a return to using the strengths of ground-support and gravity (the ki of heaven and the ki of earth) as the power behind our movements, rather than just brute force.
Hello Mike, can you specify which is which: Ki of heaven = ground support, Ki of earth = gravity? Seems like one of those definition things like wind: do you define where it comes from or where it is going to.
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Old 11-21-2006, 06:24 PM   #180
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Christian Moses #120 wrote:
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).
Yes, that's centering. Sounds like you're doing it well in a very subtle exercise.

[quote=Christian MosesI 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).[/quote]

But you see these kinds of reactions in children. So they were not always counter-intuitive. It was our intuition that was fooled over the years by being taught again and again that strength and force are superior and cannot be overcome without superior force.

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
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.
And yet, Ueshiba said that it is natural. It does take a very subtle mind to grasp that strictly through observation, but with thousands of hours of training plus very subtle observation you could stumble across it. But most people never would and for the vast majority of people, it will always work.

Best wishes.

David

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

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Old 11-21-2006, 06:32 PM   #181
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
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".
Mike,

Do you consider lions and tigers to move in harmony with those universal laws?

Why would only man be created to move out of harmony with those laws?

We begin moving and living naturally but gradually become distorted because of social stress. The exact process is due to anxiety, which is felt in the stomach. To quell that anxiety, people tense the stomach unconsciously in a partial fight-or-flight response. This bends the body somewhat, but it also puts pressure on the nerve plexus in the abdomen and partially soothes the feeling of anxiety. Living in long-term social stress makes most people unable really to stand straight as they are naturally meant to. At that point, none of their senses can be accurate because they can't properly feel or adjust to gravitation. Everything they do has to compensate for that unconscious misalignment of the body. This is the basis of most of my ideas on learning any subject.

Best wishes.

David

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

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Old 11-21-2006, 06:38 PM   #182
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Christian Moses #123 wrote:
Out of morbid curiosity, were you referring to this article?? If so, I don't know where the rabbit/oak tree reference comes in.
That's the article. But the rabbit and the oak tree refers to your saying that you can control a child.

But what do you think? CAN a rabbit eat an oak tree?

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
"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."
And babies are like that. If they had our size and strength along with their attitude, fearlessness and sense of self as universe, very few people could stand up to them.

But, again, it does say that repetition is not the secret, but a mental attitude.

That's something to think about.

Now, as to the rabbit....?

David

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

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Old 11-21-2006, 06:39 PM   #183
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Gernot Hassenpflug wrote:
Hello Mike, can you specify which is which: Ki of heaven = ground support, Ki of earth = gravity? Seems like one of those definition things like wind: do you define where it comes from or where it is going to.
Well, what does it matter over knowing how to do it???? Let your head be held up with the Ki of Heaven.

Mike
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Old 11-21-2006, 06:41 PM   #184
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Mike,

Do you consider lions and tigers to move in harmony with those universal laws?
Give it up, David. Learn to quit while you're behind. The "baby's motion" stuff only goes so far and then you have to start ad-libbing, as you know.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 11-21-2006, 06:42 PM   #185
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
And yet, Ueshiba said that it is natural. It does take a very subtle mind to grasp that strictly through observation, but with thousands of hours of training plus very subtle observation you could stumble across it. But most people never would and for the vast majority of people, it will always work.

Best wishes.

David
Care to cite a source for that, and what word he used in Japanese for 'natural'? If it's 'natural' why would we need careful observation, we should just do it?
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Old 11-21-2006, 06:43 PM   #186
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cant...stop...myself...

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Well, I'd disagree. I don't know of a single westerner who I'd consider skilled in Taiji, Bagua, etc....
I just have to point out, that if that were true, you wouldn't get it either. Perhaps you're painting with a bit too broad a brush.
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Old 11-21-2006, 06:46 PM   #187
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote:
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.
Dennis, the big breakthrough in my thinking came when I began to conceive that we don't stand through conflict with gravity, but through cooperation with it. Ben Lo gave five rules for tai chi practice. The first two are: 1. Relax; 2. Stand up straight.

As I mentioned a couple of posts back, our bodies become distorted when we tense the stomach to soothe the abdominal nerves stimulated by social stress and sensed as anxiety. If we release that tension (relax), the body naturally straightens.

We stand up because of a series of nerve reactions that occur when we sense pressure on the soles of our feet. When our weight presses certain nerve points on the soles of our feet, our legs reflexively extend, our spine lengthens, and our head changes its relation to the torso. And, voila: we stand up as a response to gravity. We don't have to fight gravity to stand: it stimulates our nervous system to stand. The less we fight gravity, the better and more easily we stand, with less effort involved. We stand our best when we don't interfere with that process at all--which is natural standing.

Best to you.

David

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

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Old 11-21-2006, 06:52 PM   #188
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Dan Harden#127 wrote:
Loads of fun.
Cheers
Dan
Dan, I hope you don't get me wrong in any of what I say. What you do does sound like loads of fun. It's intriguing and very interesting.

It sounds like maybe you are accessing the ura of the opponent's strength through his own touch.

How does that description sound to you?

Thanks.

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 11-21-2006, 06:56 PM   #189
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Ignatius Teo #128 wrote:
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,

I would agree with him. But I'd more likely say "de-bugging" our software.

When you get a brand new computer, everything works just as it should. But through use, especially on the internet, you pick up all kinds of memory-hogging and resource-abusing bugs that leave you barely able to get any little thing done.

By high school or college, most people have gotten far from their natural state of mind--so far that they have no idea what natural even means. So, by that point, "re-programming" is easy to conceive.

However, in Feldenkrais, I learned that you can "reset", which is sort of like "restore software," putting you back to pretty much the original condition you had when you were brand new. And then you find out that the functions you thought you had to "program in" are actually inculded in your original operating system.

That's how I see that.

Best to you.

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 11-21-2006, 07:09 PM   #190
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo #129 wrote:
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"?
Raul, you miss my point entirely. It is not to imitate the toddler's movement and go back to moving like a baby. Far from it.

The point is to realize that aiki movement is innate to our nervous systems. We, of course, would do adult aiki--not baby aiki at all.

What this means for our technique is that we have to realize that aikido is not "second nature" stuff that has to be programmed into us. We have to look carefully at the techniques to find out how they are really built. Like a house, they are built "on" something. If we build them on "second nature" responses developed through conditioning, then the techniques will disappear if we ever stop conditioning the responses we have based the techniques on.

However,"first-nature" responses do not have to be conditioned. They will never fade because they are innate to us. How can we tell that they are innate? Because babies have them, old men have them and young men demonstrate them unfailingly when the stress is sudden or strong enough. We will always "revert to nature."

And if you stop conditioning "second nature" responses, those "first nature" responses will reappear in every case (unless you've injured yourself in "second nature" training.

So my point is to look at your natural, unconditioned responses, look deeply at your aiki techniques, and perceive "where" those techniques can be based on your "first nature" responses that cannot be changed by conditioning.

If you will always "revert to nature," but your aiki techniques are based on your true nature, then you will always revert to aiki. Not baby aiki, but adult human aiki, effective among humans because it is true to human nature. That will never disappear.

Now, does that make more sense?

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
The test is always on the mat. Not in how a proposition reinforces things we believe in anyway.
Haven't you noticed that Dan is always scolding me because I insist on keeping the topic close to fighting applications? How I always relate aiki to dealing with the sword? What I say holds true to what you say: the test is always on the mat (or, more precisely to my way of thinking, on the street).

Best to you.

David

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

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Old 11-21-2006, 07:10 PM   #191
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Aran Bright wrote:
Thanks for what is a fantastic thread...the depth of understanding and reflections presented hear are just solid gold for someone who feels like a toddler in the aikido world.
I agree with you, Aran. It's a very good thread and I see that it now has five stars on it.

This one has gone pretty well.

Cheers.

David

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

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Old 11-21-2006, 07:14 PM   #192
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
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.
Rob, if it really takes you out of the way of the sword, that's all that counts. On the other hand, that is evasion, which is one of the basic things I'm talking about as aiki.

I thought I would make it to Aunkai next year, when I attend my sister-in-law's wedding, but apparently she has decided to have it in Hawaii. So I don't know when I'll get to Japan again. Chris Moses' description of Ark's power was quite intriguing. And he had good things to say about you, too.

BTW, what do you think of the description of those skills as "accessing the ura of the opponent's strength through his own touch"?

Best wishes.

David

Last edited by David Orange : 11-21-2006 at 07:18 PM.

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

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Old 11-21-2006, 07:51 PM   #193
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

David,
I think you really have to consider how the movement is powered, which makes all the other things you're talking about possible.

Have you seen the national geographic documentary on the guys taking the 8th dan test? Did you notice how the guys who pass, can pick up their front foot and zoom forward to nail the opponent with a men and a fumikomi-ashi? That's no accident. They're carrying their weight primarily on the back foot. Otherwise there is no way they could pick up the front foot without leaning back.

My comment re: the uplifted heel-- like I said on e-budo, if you do this you will see that it makes it easier to open the front of the his. I believe (tentatively) that this is what the Chinese call the kua. This means that the weight goes to the back foot while the front knee bends and presents a front-leaning stance.

And I don't think it is limited to Japan and China either. I'd be very curious about the Spanish , and the Muslim systems, but that's probably beyond the scope of this discussion.
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Old 11-21-2006, 08:17 PM   #194
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
David Orange wrote:
Rob, if it really takes you out of the way of the sword, that's all that counts. On the other hand, that is evasion, which is one of the basic things I'm talking about as aiki.

BTW, what do you think of the description of those skills as "accessing the ura of the opponent's strength through his own touch"?
Well, if you gave me the original japanese from Mochizuki's quote, I could probably comment better on it. (Since I assume that's where you got the ura statement)

Sure, getting out of the swords way is paramount, but how to do so unfailingly? The movement has to be completely non-telegraphic, and without setup. So how do you accomplish that? Is the real question I think. How do you move the body first (without it moving externally) and then cause the arms and legs to move first?

There's an interesting clip by Hino here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=On5eEyDvmLs

He doesn't show all aspects of what I'm talking about, but he does show that when you move the body, that movement should NOT be felt on the surface. And that's what allows a killer blow.
The "ura" to that, (to borrow yours or mochizuki's terminology, feel free to correct me if im wrong) is that you use this same skill to avoid said blow. The person that has less Bure/sway/etc in the body, has more time to deal with the incoming blow.
By the same token, the person striking wants to reduce the same thing in his body if he wants to up the chance of his strike landing. It comes down to, who has the most unshakable core.
All other movement, irimi, strikes etc are merely a result.
Ken no ugoki ha setsuna de ugoku to iu koto, would be the japanese round about way of saying this.

As for chris's comments, he's too kind. I still got a long ways to go, and I'm a punk I'll admit it ^^; So take his words with some salt lol.

I do hope you get the chance to get out here at some point though. It'll be throughly educational for both of us I think

Btw, if anyone wants to discuss some of the finer points of bujutsu stuff in japanese, feel free. I think sometimes its easier for me to discuss those points in that language... I could come back and translate the more salient points for those watching the thread ^^;
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Old 11-21-2006, 08:46 PM   #195
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Re: cant...stop...myself...

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
I just have to point out, that if that were true, you wouldn't get it either. Perhaps you're painting with a bit too broad a brush.
No, I don't consider myself skilled in those arts, either. In fact, I don't teach any martial art... I don't feel like I know enough.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 11-21-2006, 09:31 PM   #196
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote:
Seiza.

It's a thing we all do in aikido. But why? It certainly doesn't feel natural or intuitive. I've never seen a baby/toddler/child sit seiza either.
Mark, my kids have all sat in seiza naturally. I have pictures of them in seiza. Well, on their knees with their feet under--not with toes crossed, but close enough that I consider it seiza.

David

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Old 11-21-2006, 09:35 PM   #197
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote:
The former sounds a lot like Rob's exercises for internal arts and the latter references them as "aiki no inyo-ho" and it's from ... drum roll ... seiza.
Mark,

I don't think that all the aiki no inyo-ho methods are done from seiza. I believe that refers to the whole range of original aiki methods, including standing and sword, though if you find an exact reference, I'll listen.

David

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

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Old 11-21-2006, 09:38 PM   #198
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
But in addition to that, it does seem that they are much more relaxed and unified in their movements, perhaps being less self-conscious than most humans.
Cady, one thing they lack that kills human spirit is anticipation of evil things to come down upon them. Humans are able to worry about what might happen next. Chimpanzees seem not to do that.

Another thing, of course, is carrying the past around with them, feeling bad about things that happened before.

Babies are like that in the beginning and I think that as they develop both anticipation and bad feelings over past things, they lose that freedom, hold fear in their muscles and lose their natural posture through chronic tensions that they don't know how to release.

Best wishes.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 11-21-2006, 09:57 PM   #199
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Give it up, David. Learn to quit while you're behind. The "baby's motion" stuff only goes so far and then you have to start ad-libbing, as you know.
No ad-lib, Mike. I've been working this out for a long time. And the baby stuff doesn't have to go far. Babies are only toddlers for a year or so--from the time they learn to stand and walk until they start talking. Then most of that natural ability gets lost through social pressure.

But that doesn't mean it wasn't there, as many examples have reinforced. It just takes subtle perception to see it.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

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Old 11-21-2006, 10:02 PM   #200
David Orange
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Re: Aikido: The learning of natural movement

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
Care to cite a source for that, and what word he used in Japanese for 'natural'? If it's 'natural' why would we need careful observation, we should just do it?
I suppose he said "shizen" for natural. It should be clear why we need careful observation to see something natural. We have typically been squeezed out of naturalness into various degrees of neuroses by middle school and most people have lost touch with their real sense of self and their real sense of sensation by college. Sports don't help bring that back, but typically lead further from it. Though I think wrestling is probably the closest to natural.

Why didn't people recognize that a static spark was the same thing as lightning from the clouds? I think it was because the spark was so small and because it was a function of the human body itself. People don't have respect for the small and typically cannot relate it to the large and powerful. But in fact, the nature of the small static spark and lightning are one and the same.

David

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