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Old 12-05-2006, 06:57 AM   #26
Mike Sigman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Wayne Wilson wrote:
The idea that Tohei didn't want to teach ki is .... well I'll give you a chance to comment and explain that. How is the entire Ki Society curriculum NOT completely about learning ki from day one?
How is it that the entire Aikido community is NOT completely about learning ki from day one? But it's an obvious fact that they're not.... unless you want to argue that I just am not recognizing it when I see it.

Best.

Mike
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Old 12-05-2006, 07:13 AM   #27
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Mark, please check your PMs.
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Old 12-05-2006, 07:17 AM   #28
Mark Freeman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I have no idea what you're practicing, Mark. I'd be tickled to be able to see it. But bear in mind that I've met tons of "Ki Society" people over the years and they will all say that they study what Tohei taught and within their own group they have some idea of where there skills are. To really have a conversation about this stuff, you and I'd have to meet. But keep your eye on the comment I've made a number of times that most people cannot even move honestly from the hara. Prove me wrong.
You are right Mike, you do not have any idea of what I'm practicing. I have no intention of presenting my aikido for you to pass judgement on or to be tickled by also, I don't belong to the Ki Society.

I would look forward to a 'hands on' meeting, but I'm not interested in proving anyone wrong. You obviously have a degree of understanding and skill as do I. Neither has right or wrong attatched to it. I'm sure there are things I could learn from you, as I would hope there are some things you could gain from me.

Moving honestly from the hara is a matter of degree, some people are trying their level best to do so, but not quite getting it, but with perseverence and practice they will get closer to the 'ideal'.

I teach this stuff, and I am also a constant student, when I practice with my peers, I still foul up, it is the nature of practice. When I teach I do what I demonstrate, I show what moving from the hara is, its easy to look impressive when you are teaching.

When it comes to aikido I'm not interested in point scoring, let's save that for the 'general' dicussions

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 12-05-2006, 07:20 AM   #29
Mark Freeman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
How is it that the entire Aikido community is NOT completely about learning ki from day one? But it's an obvious fact that they're not.... unless you want to argue that I just am not recognizing it when I see it.
Never discount all possibilities

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Old 12-05-2006, 07:24 AM   #30
Mark Freeman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Robert Rumpf wrote:
Mark, please check your PMs.
I'll keep my eyes peeled Robert... nothing yet

regards,

Mark

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Old 12-05-2006, 07:28 AM   #31
Mike Sigman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
When it comes to aikido I'm not interested in point scoring, let's save that for the 'general' dicussions
Mark, I was simply replying to your comment: If Tohei didn't want to teach it, how am I practicing what I practice.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 12-05-2006, 07:43 AM   #32
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Sorry Mark Freeman, meant Mark Gibbons.
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Old 12-05-2006, 07:52 AM   #33
Mike Sigman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
Moving honestly from the hara is a matter of degree, some people are trying their level best to do so, but not quite getting it, but with perseverence and practice they will get closer to the 'ideal'.
I've asked several people to describe how to do this, in previous threads, Mark. Since you teach it, could you explain how to move from the hara?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 12-05-2006, 08:06 AM   #34
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I've asked several people to describe how to do this, in previous threads, Mark. Since you teach it, could you explain how to move from the hara?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
Please do it on a different thread.
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Old 12-05-2006, 09:16 AM   #35
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:
Unfortunately that doesn't tell me if the omitted pieces were omitted intentionally, why they were omitted, if Osensei regarded them as essential, or if they really are essential. That tells me Tohei sensei probably regarded them as essential. But if he had them why didn't he teach them effectively enough that we are not having this conversation. I'm probably just too dense to get it though.
There are lots of hypotheses about why Ueshiba failed to actively teach this element. One is that he was afraid of Takeda's ire. If you read S. Pranin's Daito-ryu book, you'll catch a glimpse of their relationship and its later fouling. As is typical in traditional systems, one is not supposed to teach an art without the express permission of the person who instilled its principles in you. Ueshiba may have felt that his later form of aikido was different enough from Daito-ryu that he could freely teach it without having his former teacher get on his case, but teaching the internal aspects may have been a no-no, as they could exist in only their unadulterated original form in order to be effective -- so Ueshiba could not call them his own. Pure conjecture on my part, but not without evidence.

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 12-05-2006 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 12-05-2006, 10:42 AM   #36
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote:
So far:

Could learn this stuff via:
Maybe Ki Aikido, but probably not.
Can't speak for all ki-aikido but I'd contest this point. I'm sure Sigman will say otherwise and he may be right about it based on his own ki aikido experience but mine is much different I'm sure.

I've seen my sensei move his hand slowly and have the guy not see it coming, so much so that he got his contact lens knocked out. I've tested his unbendable arm and found it not just unbendable but un-moveable (as in that 6 direction thing people often like to talk about). I've seen four or five guys try to move him unsuccessfully at demos. I've been one of those guys from time to time too and i can assure you I wasn't being in anyway cooperative and lifting him in a way I knew wouldn't work. Short of chewing on him I tried everything, I even looked at him thinking that perhaps an atemi might do the trick, I'll leave you to picture what happened to me after that thought popped into my head.

All of those skills he learned from ki aikido. Perhaps he's not your typical ki-aikido sensei, he's definitely NOT your typical aikido sensei, that much I know for sure.

I'm sure if anyone were involved in this discussion were ever to get the chance they'd probably enjoy practicing with him.

Mike Haft

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 12-05-2006, 11:38 AM   #37
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote:
I've seen my sensei move his hand slowly and have the guy not see it coming, so much so that he got his contact lens knocked out. I've tested his unbendable arm and found it not just unbendable but un-moveable (as in that 6 direction thing people often like to talk about). I've seen four or five guys try to move him unsuccessfully at demos. I've been one of those guys from time to time too and i can assure you I wasn't being in anyway cooperative and lifting him in a way I knew wouldn't work. Short of chewing on him I tried everything, I even looked at him thinking that perhaps an atemi might do the trick, I'll leave you to picture what happened to me after that thought popped into my head.

All of those skills he learned from ki aikido. Perhaps he's not your typical ki-aikido sensei, he's definitely NOT your typical aikido sensei, that much I know for sure.

I'm sure if anyone were involved in this discussion were ever to get the chance they'd probably enjoy practicing with him.

Mike Haft
Here's my question. And by the way, I don't discount your teacher's ability or where he learned it at all. But how many people at your school do you think can also perform on this level? The problem I have with how this sort of thing is 'taught' in aikido/ki-aikido is that it isn't actually taught. The best analogy I can think of is trying to teach someone long division by giving them the final exam over and over again. Some brilliant people might figure it out over time, most won't, but many will eventually memorize the answers. They however won't have any understanding of how really to get the answers or why it works the way it does. And when it comes time for them to teach it, they will 'teach' the same way they were taught...

Chris Moses
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Old 12-05-2006, 11:48 AM   #38
Mike Sigman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
Here's my question. And by the way, I don't discount your teacher's ability or where he learned it at all. But how many people at your school do you think can also perform on this level? The problem I have with how this sort of thing is 'taught' in aikido/ki-aikido is that it isn't actually taught. The best analogy I can think of is trying to teach someone long division by giving them the final exam over and over again. Some brilliant people might figure it out over time, most won't, but many will eventually memorize the answers. They however won't have any understanding of how really to get the answers or why it works the way it does. And when it comes time for them to teach it, they will 'teach' the same way they were taught...
That's a pretty good post, Chris. One of my stints in Aikido was with an instructor that had a few kokyu-tricks he liked to use to impress the peons. One day I realized that I was simply at another political Aikido dojo and I walked out. Some months later, having acquired the knowledge of how to do those same "tricks", I came back for a practice session and watched somewhat sickened at he attempted to assert his "dominance" with the same tired tricks. I could match him and I could see immediately that he was angry. "Dominance" in the pecking order is what I see so often and I think it's what your post is also highlighting. What you see is often not so much teaching these things, but holding out the secrets in order to maintain a peck-order edge.

At least that's a possible interpretation, in too many cases.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 12-05-2006, 12:05 PM   #39
ChrisMoses
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
What you see is often not so much teaching these things, but holding out the secrets in order to maintain a peck-order edge.
Yeah, people don't like to hear that at all, but that's my belief as well.

Chris Moses
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Old 12-05-2006, 12:18 PM   #40
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Christian Moses wrote:
Here's my question. And by the way, I don't discount your teacher's ability or where he learned it at all. But how many people at your school do you think can also perform on this level? The problem I have with how this sort of thing is 'taught' in aikido/ki-aikido is that it isn't actually taught. The best analogy I can think of is trying to teach someone long division by giving them the final exam over and over again. Some brilliant people might figure it out over time, most won't, but many will eventually memorize the answers. They however won't have any understanding of how really to get the answers or why it works the way it does. And when it comes time for them to teach it, they will 'teach' the same way they were taught...
Funnily enough I agree with you and was thinking to post as much. I know that I personally can't do what my teacher does. I know that some of my sempai who are my sensei's senior students can do them but I've not got much of a clue as to exactly how well they match his skill, perhaps I'll ask him when he comes to visit this weekend.
FWIW those of us who stay with him do definitely seem to be improving and developing similar skills. Those that hit an impass tend to leave after deciding its too hard or something similar. My teacher is a 7th Dan and I'm only a 2nd Dan. Sensei's senior student is ranked 4th Dan, it'll be an interesting question to ask again in a few years when sensei tests his first 5th Dan

I think that it is usually as Ellis Amdur said over on aikidojournal and others here have said 'hidden in plain sight'. All too often I think people are probably promoted for knowing nothing more than the empty shells of the aikido techniques. I can't see my sensei ever doing that, he usually gives us a thorough going over for our Dan ranks, I only passed my 2nd Dan on the fourth attempt (though some of that was probably due to me moving to the other end of the UK). Our dan tests usually take between 2-3 hours which many people hear and are horrified by.

Disclaimer: I speak for nobody but myself, and I'm not very good at that...

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
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Old 12-05-2006, 01:06 PM   #41
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Cady - I'm seeing more and more evidence that, pre-war, Ueshiba taught these things. How else did Tomiki learn - as per the judo story I just found (and there's a story that Oba tells where he saw the DR demo where someone is pinned down flat on his back and choked and "casts" them off, and Tomiki said, 'that's easy," and called some people, Oba included, and did it. Tomiki apparently kept all that to himself. AND Shioda M-A-Y have learned a little from Horikawa, long after the war, but note the brothel fight, where he breaks a guys' leg with an aikido atemi he wanted to try out - a downward slap - pi chuan. He had the skills "way back when." Maybe Horikawa offered him a missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle - and from stories of several foreign deshi of his last years, maybe he just found another person with whom he could do his favorite recreation, which was to drink and tell stories all night long.
Several shihan had described Ueshiba telling them, in essence, "look - I'm going to teach you the real thing - and doing so in a matter of a week or so." I think after the war, with his spiritual focus - he was not averse to others learning what he knew, but he was not interested in making an effort. I will assert that he openly showed things (note his astonishing jo, so different from what came afterwards). But I think his attitude was, either from some spiritual motive or whatever else, that if he showed it, the suitable would pick it up. If you didn't get it from seeing it, maybe you weren't worth it. With all the talk about Sagawa, I've been told that few of his advanced students "got it," and that he was indifferent to those who did not have "eyes to see."
Tokimune stated that Ueshiba was his father's favorite student. Also that he was far better than Hisa. Also that Ueshiba studied with Sokaku longer than any of his students. Sokaku gave ueshiba that "Shinkage-ryu" menkyo (nothing to do with Yagyu, by the way, or any other established ryu), which, I believe, was a purely symbolic recognition of Ueshiba's devotion and attainment. Yeah, the last couple of years of their relationship were fraught - but the only person who can survive life-long with the utter domination of such a teacher (as ueshiba himself became) is the completely self-abnegating - which you could also read as the truly humble, I suppose.
Anyway, I run on. But I think anyone is on the wrong track when one assumes that a) ueshiba didn't teach any of the good stuff b) that he was inferior in his attainment to the other best students of Sokaku - how the heck would one measure that, anyway? I do think there was a "regress of knowledge" Takeda - to Ueshiba et al - then focusing on aikido, Ueshiba's best pre-war students - then the first generation of post-war students, who were still "his" and then to the next generation, directly Kisshomaru's, who learned from ueshiba by feeling and watching as carefully as they could, because he was no longer telling directly.
Best

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 12-05-2006 at 01:11 PM.

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Old 12-05-2006, 01:29 PM   #42
Mike Sigman
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
Several shihan had described Ueshiba telling them, in essence, "look - I'm going to teach you the real thing - and doing so in a matter of a week or so." I think after the war, with his spiritual focus - he was not averse to others learning what he knew, but he was not interested in making an effort. I will assert that he openly showed things (note his astonishing jo, so different from what came afterwards). But I think his attitude was, either from some spiritual motive or whatever else, that if he showed it, the suitable would pick it up.
I still wonder what it was that Tohei showed when he called all those special meetings, etc. There's no doubt that Tohei has skills, although how complete his skills are/were I don't really know since I've only been privy to scattered anecdotes over the years. Ueshiba's skills were far more complete than I thought, based on the limited information we had available in earlier times (not to mention my own perceptions were heavily skewed by not knowing anything about those skills).

One of my side-thoughts is that if we can get someone to tell some of what Tohei showed at those special meetings, we can extrapolate what he considered to have been missing among the deshi, so we can get a glimpse of what Ueshiba actually showed, etc.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 12-05-2006, 01:56 PM   #43
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Ellis,
I have been hearing about those indications as well, that Ueshiba did teach those things pre-war. Note that I state that it's his "later" aikido in which the internal component is lacking from the curriculum. It could have been philosophical on his part, could have been the result of becoming "jaded" by then (not wanting to waste "pearls" on students he didn't feel were "worthy"), or could have been the result from pressure on the outside (i.e. various schools of Daito-ryu) to stop teaching them outside a Daito-ryu context. I do believe, judging from his unusually close relationship with Takeda, that Ueshiba must have acquired genuine, high-level skills.

And, a former teacher can come to regret having awarded a symbol of "devotion and attainment," and perhaps act upon it. [Also, one doesn't have to be humble and completely obliterated of ego to stick with a harsh teacher. If that teacher has something of value that you covet, you may be strong enough of will and ego to say to yourself, "I'll stick with the old ba$t#%d until I have what I want. I don't see Ueshiba as having been an entirely humble soul. Am I mistaken?] Again, pure conjecture. Armchair deliberating may be unproductive, but it is entertaining.

The puzzle is, if Ueshiba did teach the internal curriculum to "high level shihan," why is there no indication at all that aikido today has it? Could all of those shihan have decided to keep the goodies to themselves? Are all aikido students today incapable of "getting it"? I kind of doubt the latter, I have my doubts about the former, too.

Actually, what amazes me is that a discussion like this can take place at all. Ten years ago ... or maybe even last year ... to broach the subject on an aikido forum would have guaranteed that buckets of tar and sacks of feathers would appear! These are indeed enlightened times.

Regards,
Cady

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 12-05-2006 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 12-05-2006, 02:05 PM   #44
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Summarizing again:

Could learn this stuff via:
o Maybe Ki Aikido, might not be the same stuff.
o Maybe some external art but would probably get involved with something useless left to my own devices.
o Maybe my own dojo, if the senior people are working on this.
o Ask sempai. More experienced folks may have some clues.

Importance: I don't have enough experience to evaluate this. Nothing that I've read on the web seems convincing that the internal stuff is a serious loss. Many of the comments assume background I just don't have which may explain my not being convinced. Excerpted quotes tend to be able to prove anything, so I trust them almost not at all. No comparisons with my favorite alternate theories of why aikido works.


Criteria for judging the real thing:
Little new. Ask more experienced folks. No reliable way for the uninitiated to evaluate this stuff or the people that may be able to do it. For instance, I've seen many videos that some say exhibit great internal skills. I can see more than a year ago, but not enough to tell what's really going on. As an amature magician let's say I know how easy it is to fool folks.


Again I hope this passes as a fair summary. Like so much in life someone wanting to learn this stuff will have to dig, know people and work hard. And that's for something they won't know if it's any good or not. My opinion is that there's something useful and amazing out there in the internal area. But my opinion is based on some very shakey grounds. I really need to get out more.

Thanks and best wishes,
Mark
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Old 12-05-2006, 02:09 PM   #45
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
why is there no indication at all that aikido today has it?
Part of the problem in these discussions is this sort of blanket statement. I most certainly have met people that I believe have these skills...in aikido. I won't speak to whether or not they teach them well, teach them intentionally, withhold them, etc...or to the level that they have them.

I will say that a dojo like Akuzawa's has made me rethink the whole idea of whether or not they can be directly taught...and in a relatively short time.

It kind of goes without saying that these skills are not widely spread...and that even when present, knowledgable people might disagree on how well developed. But to say that they do not exist in aikido today at all, anywhere is a bit of a stretch. I've trained in a bunch of places, with a bunch of folks, and I have no where near exhausted what is available out there.
Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 12-05-2006, 02:10 PM   #46
ChrisMoses
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
I have been hearing about those indications as well, that Ueshiba did teach those things pre-war. Note that I state that it's his "later" aikido in which the internal component is lacking from the curriculum. It could have been philosophical on his part, could have been the result of becoming "jaded" by then (not wanting to waste "pearls" on students he didn't feel were "worthy"), or could have been the result from pressure on the outside (i.e. various schools of Daito-ryu) to stop teaching them outside a Daito-ryu context. I do believe, judging from his unusually close relationship with Takeda, that Ueshiba must have acquired genuine, high-level skills.
Or it could be that he just didn't teach much in the post war era. Most of 'his' uchideshi after the war were really students of Tohei and the other shihan of the hombu dojo after all.

Chris Moses
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Old 12-05-2006, 02:19 PM   #47
Robert Rumpf
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Does anyone support or think feasible the idea that Ueshiba thought those skills were powerful, but morally neutral - while he specifically wanted to teach about morality and correct action, especially as his attitudes changed post-war and with his other enlightenments? That one comment I saw in some Tohei article about O'Sensei being annoyed that Tohei could demonstrate immovability in an "impure" state (hungover) comes to mind. O'Sensei connected spiritual enlightenment with his physical skills, almost to the point where the physical skills were not relevant, or perhaps were taken for granted. Therefore, O'Sensei emphasized the skills and methods less after the war, while his more current interests were in the theology and moral message, since that was where his interests were at that point..

I've noticed often in my training (and in my academic education) that my learning is strongly influenced by what my instructors are interested in teaching, not necessarily what I am ready, willing, and able to learn. Perhaps while O'Sensei's (especially postwar) students wanted to learn about martial arts, they were studying from someone who could certainly do martial arts, and so could show by example, but was only really interested in giving explicit lessons in morality.

I've certainly seen that happen at seminars (and in class) - the instructor is teaching one thing, but the students are trying to learn something else - if they are even trying to learn at all.

After that, everyone talks about how cryptic the instructor is.

Rob
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Old 12-05-2006, 02:31 PM   #48
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Part of the problem in these discussions is this sort of blanket statement. I most certainly have met people that I believe have these skills...in aikido. I won't speak to whether or not they teach them well, teach them intentionally, withhold them, etc...or to the level that they have them.

I will say that a dojo like Akuzawa's has made me rethink the whole idea of whether or not they can be directly taught...and in a relatively short time.
Didn't mean to be the wet blanket, Ron.
I see any appearance of internal skills within aikido proponents as being the Great Hope of aikido's future. But I can't help suspecting that aikidoka who have these skills are not getting them from within mainstream aikido or post WWII aikido. However, the source of this return of an internal component isn't as important as is the fact that it is happening.

Dunno how quickly they can be learned in a form deep enough to be applicable to a system's external techniques. One traditional route is to teach the external technical stuff first, then learn the internal after. Then, you apply the power of the internal skills to "turbocharge" the technique tool kit you already have. Most people don't want to learn the internal stuff first, if they came into MAs to learn "fighting skills." They usually want to learn how to joint-lock, throw, punch, kick, etc. right away because that's what they see as effective MAs.
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Old 12-05-2006, 02:47 PM   #49
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
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Re: Practical internal training ?

I'm stuck with learning it the way you describe...and it is difficult. I think if I had a choice, I might go with Akuzawa's approach...learn the skills first...then choose a martial art for it to go with. Ah well...we are what we are, where we are...

B,
R

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 12-05-2006, 02:58 PM   #50
Ellis Amdur
Location: Seattle
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Re: Practical internal training ?

Cady - You missed a small point. Ueshiba was anything but humble. I was thinking, for example, of Horikawa Kodo, whom, I may be mistaken, was more content to till his own fields.
The idea that Ueshiba was vulnerable to any pressure from Daito-ryu schools is inconceivably to me. He may have had it/escaped from Takeda in his latter years, but I doubt very much that anyone among his peers or juniors would have had any say in the matter whatsoever.
Finally, Ueshiba and Takeda broke with each other (or ueshiba left town) in the late 1930's. Sagawa was dispatched by Takeda only a few years earlier to ascertain that he was alright in the second Omotokyo incident. Tokimune used to visit "Ueshiba sensei," as he called him in the 1950's. Maybe he, like Kondo, was shown "what Takeda sensei taught me." (Referring to Kondo's account of UEshiba snatching up a jo and projecting him all over the place in what was to him incredible fashion.). Maybe Tokimune's Daito-ryu has an element of things he learned from Ueshiba - it's surely as plausible as the idea that Shioda learned the real goodies from Horikawa.
So, really, all I think happened is that ueshiba's own creative direction diverged from his teacher, but they remained in contact for many years after this divergence - which was a mark of their closeness and also would engender friction. The very last few years of Takeda's life, alone, were devoid of contact, apparently.
Also, on another matter. I recently viewed a video of myself and compared it to a video of my instructor in Araki-ryu. It's remarkable how deeply imprinted his movement signature is on me. He NEVER told me how to move. I just paid attention. HIS teachers usually taught him a kata once. He'd be working out on the side, two of the old men would get together, and say, "Hey watch this." Do a kata once, and he'd never see it again, but he was responsible for knowing it impeccably.
That UEshiba allegedly didn't explicitly instruct after the war means little in my opinion. Perhaps the students, bored and distracted from the "god stuff" weren't paying attention when he showed exactly what to do.
Best

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 12-05-2006 at 03:05 PM.

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