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Old 02-06-2007, 02:42 PM   #426
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
You're still under the general impression that your simple physics must be covering the ground, but it doesn't. The actions are more complex than you're making them.
Freely admitted. All mechanics works from simplifying assumptions to describe the basic operating principles of the observed motion (or equilibrium, in the case of statics). Those simplifying assumption may be validly attacked if in error. I have tried to make my assumptions as explict as possible for that purpose.

First you define the mechanical problem, which done is by careful observation, (objectively and subjectively, both of which are critical) and then classification of the motion. The definition of the problem drives the form of the measurement. Then a quantitative result might be obtained. I am only setting about trying to define the mechanical problem and giving different ways to observe and to think about the motion we are observing.

Once the problem is defined it is quantifiable to the measurement limits of the observed motions. The computers that got Lovell et al. to the Moon and back would not fit in my house, but several times that computing power now fits in my briefcase. But none of that is necessary to define the nature of the mechanical problem. But defining the problem is absolutely necessary to determine what to measure -- and only then can you model quantitatively. GIGO.

I am just trying to cover some significant ground on the basic, often counter-intuitive, set of physical mechanics in aikido that, it seems, has not been covered by many, if anyone else, to my understanidng. If someone has a reference that has already been there, tell me, but I have looked for a good long while now, before picking up the hammer and saw myself.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-06-2007, 02:47 PM   #427
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote:
Eric I tried sending you a private message and it came back. I will be in Tallahassee in June. Any chance we can get together?
I will plan on it.

Please, don't hit me too hard.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-06-2007, 03:46 PM   #428
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
A simple question then...(big snip)
Erick, I thought the language being used was quite "culturally neutral." And furthermore, no one is "hiding the ball." What they are saying though, is that they cannot and will not talk specifics on a public forum. That is understandable, in my opinion. I get the sense, though, that they would gladly SHOW you what they are talking about, if you were inclined to seek out the answers in earnest.

Just...get...on...the...mats if you really, truly want to know what these people are getting at. If you just want to keep jawin' because you enjoy reading your posts, then by all means, keep posting. But you will keep going in circles, and Mike will keep chiding you. I can hear his next "Oh, stoppit..." already.
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Old 02-06-2007, 04:44 PM   #429
eyrie
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Interesting, how in all of this, no one has mentioned mind-willed forces... well, except Mike. Maybe we could get back to the regular programming and talk about this... or would that be considered "above the baseline"?

Ignatius
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Old 02-06-2007, 05:09 PM   #430
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
What they are saying though, is that they cannot and will not talk specifics on a public forum. That is understandable, in my opinion.
Perhaps you can explain why that is understandable? It most definitely is not from my perspective. You touch on a fundamental disconnect in these ongoing discussions on this topic.

Law, for instance, is open knowledge. Anyone can acquire it to any degree of depth and use it for themselves. It is out there to be had with the mere effort to learn it. The only limitation is when you are asked to render advice to other people. That is not a limitation of knowledge, but of social function. Particular facts may be private knowledge, but principles are open knowledge.

Aikido is intended to be open knowledge. O Sensei said the secrets are in the omote forms. The position of withholding knowledge regarding principles to be applied to Aikido while at the same time continuing to try to speak about them, you find understandable. Maybe you can explain. It is incomprehensible to me, because the point of this forum, this art, this form of communication and the medium in which it exists is open knowledge.

I think we all acknowledge that if one does not have a basis in understanding the rudiments of the subjective feel of the movements, that the descriptions are not divulging anything that could be very usefully applied without that foundation. So, why the reluctance to speak plainly and meaningfully, rather than cryptically?

The point of communicating at all in such a setting escapes me. Thus, their approach immediately begs the question of the motivations of the speaker from the standpoint of one who works in an open system. That question may seem unfair from your perspective, but that is the impression their approach creates, from an open knowledge perspective.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-06-2007, 05:11 PM   #431
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:
Interesting, how in all of this, no one has mentioned mind-willed forces... well, except Mike. Maybe we could get back to the regular programming and talk about this... or would that be considered "above the baseline"?
Well, I think it is basic, Ignatius (just out of curiosity, WHAT does your wife or your friends call you????).

One of the big problems, IMO, is that a lot of people use different terms for the same things, so there needs to be some reconciliation of terms and approaches and exceptions need to be noted. For instance, I break things down, for convenience, into the idea of "qi" and "jin", or "ki" and "kokyu-essence". The Ki-Society more or less simply uses the all-encompassing term "ki", which in traditional terminology is perfectly legitimate, although vague.

My suggestion would be that a good baseline could actually and legitimately be Tohei's "Four Basic Ki Principles". Tohei was the head instructor at Hombu Dojo and his principles are useful in examining these baseline skills.... the very things which Tohei used as his banner when he separated from Hombu Dojo.

The "Four Basic Ki Principles" are:

Keep One Point;
Relax Completely;
Keep Weight Underside;
Extend Ki.

In essence, these four principles are Tohei's version of the basic gateway into the "mind-willed forces". It's all the same thing. I could probably describe the same 4 points using, for example, 3 different approaches that would sould like 3 different things, but which in reality would be the same basic principles. Even in the Ki Society training sessions you will hear different visualizations used to cue beginners etc., into getting the right response. Those different visualizations are just different tricks to get the responder to implement the use of the "mind-willed forces" that I talk about, the "jin" described in CMA's, and so on.

So... the short answer is yes, the mind-willed forces would be baseline skills, just as Tohei's society envisions them.

Best.

Mike
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Old 02-06-2007, 05:51 PM   #432
eyrie
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Well, I think it is basic, Ignatius (just out of curiosity, WHAT does your wife or your friends call you????).
The wife calls me "hon" or "honey"... you can too if you like
My friends call me.... what you'd usually do with nicknames... perhaps shortening it, and suffix it with a 'y'.

Quote:
The "Four Basic Ki Principles" are:
Keep One Point;
Relax Completely;
Keep Weight Underside;
Extend Ki.

In essence, these four principles are Tohei's version of the basic gateway into the "mind-willed forces"....different visualizations used to cue beginners etc., into getting the right response. Those different visualizations are just different tricks to get the responder to implement the use of the "mind-willed forces"....
So is it important that these visualizations and "keywords" create the right "intent"?

Ignatius
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Old 02-06-2007, 06:06 PM   #433
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:
So is it important that these visualizations and "keywords" create the right "intent"?
Yeah... that's the whole point. To run around the dojo in your white ice-cream-man suit (suitably accoutered with a black culotte) and *imagining* that you're "extending ki", etc., won't get you anywhere worthwhile. Heck, I can close my eyes and "imagine" that I'm on Saturn, but if I have any sense, I'll crack open one eye and see that I'm kidding myself.

The "Four Basic Principles" are about actual skills that the words "ki", "extend", "weight underside", yada, yada, yada, are supposed to evoke.

What I'm suggesting is that to a certain extent we can describe fairly accurately (at the risk of being hooted at by future generations) what the Four Basic Principles are supposed to reference. By doing that, we are taking a first step toward beginning to reconcile a number of the different traditional descriptions out there. If we reconcile, we begin to clarify. Not that clarifying will do away with the need for the preliminary "hands-on" that gives people the needed foot-in-the-door.

Probably one of the very first things I did on this latest gambit on AikiWeb was to outline the physical basis behind the "Four Basic Ki Principles", because that's a good place to start. I still think it's a good place to start... and I ain't no flower-child.

One point I think that should be stressed for most people is that "extend ki" is like saying "play the piano"... you can't really do it unless you've practiced a bit.

Best.

Mike
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Old 02-06-2007, 06:19 PM   #434
eyrie
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
What I'm suggesting is that to a certain extent we can describe fairly accurately (at the risk of being hooted at by future generations) what the Four Basic Principles are supposed to reference. By doing that, we are taking a first step toward beginning to reconcile a number of the different traditional descriptions out there. If we reconcile, we begin to clarify. Not that clarifying will do away with the need for the preliminary "hands-on" that gives people the needed foot-in-the-door....Probably one of the very first things I did on this latest gambit on AikiWeb was to outline the physical basis behind the "Four Basic Ki Principles", because that's a good place to start.
OK, let's reconcile and clarify then...since I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about... perhaps you can start the ball rolling on that....
Quote:
One point I think that should be stressed for most people is that "extend ki" is like saying "play the piano"... you can't really do it unless you've practiced a bit.
Guitar's more my thing... ... not that I'm any good at it... (more practice needed). But I guess we all gotta start somewhere... hmmm... like doing "scales"....

Ignatius
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Old 02-06-2007, 07:06 PM   #435
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Erick Mead wrote:
Perhaps you can explain why that is understandable? It most definitely is not from my perspective. You touch on a fundamental disconnect in these ongoing discussions on this topic.

Law, for instance, is open knowledge. Anyone can acquire it to any degree of depth and use it for themselves. It is out there to be had with the mere effort to learn it. The only limitation is when you are asked to render advice to other people. That is not a limitation of knowledge, but of social function. Particular facts may be private knowledge, but principles are open knowledge.

Aikido is intended to be open knowledge. O Sensei said the secrets are in the omote forms. The position of withholding knowledge regarding principles to be applied to Aikido while at the same time continuing to try to speak about them, you find understandable. Maybe you can explain. It is incomprehensible to me, because the point of this forum, this art, this form of communication and the medium in which it exists is open knowledge.

I think we all acknowledge that if one does not have a basis in understanding the rudiments of the subjective feel of the movements, that the descriptions are not divulging anything that could be very usefully applied without that foundation. So, why the reluctance to speak plainly and meaningfully, rather than cryptically?

The point of communicating at all in such a setting escapes me. Thus, their approach immediately begs the question of the motivations of the speaker from the standpoint of one who works in an open system. That question may seem unfair from your perspective, but that is the impression their approach creates, from an open knowledge perspective.
Erick, I appreciate your frustration. I can only offer my own observations in explanation, and hope that those who are in a better position to speak from expertise will jump in.

Law is something that can be more easily discussed, because the principles are "accessible and comprehendable by reading, thinking, and discussing, even if one never does litigation or stands in a courtroom. Martial arts, being physical in nature, can only be discussed to a certain point before they must be demonstrated and felt.

Unfortunately, when this thread (and the original thread it split from) about "baseline skills" came up, it quickly became evident that the basic skill set being discussed here by Mike and others is obviously not "open knowledge," since few if any contemporary aikidoists know of it. Yet, variations of it were part and parcel to aikido's founder's skill set, and were obtained from the art from which he extracted and adapted aikido. Where the confusion began was when a handful of individuals who do know this skill set began to discuss it, but the rest of the thread's readers were left out in the cold, so to speak. It seems kind of like having a roomful of relatives talking about a cousin you've never met, in cryptic terms, and not letting you in on who the heck this elusive cousin is. You figure, you're entitled to know because, dammit, you're related to him. :^/

Also unfortunately, those discussing the skill set are currently outside of contemporary aikido, and obtained their skills from other sources. And yet, the skills they are referring to belong within and were once part of aikido. How to encourage aikido to take it back in, in a diplomatic way that does not upset the delicate balance of power and "religious faith" within the current status quo? And, how to broach the topic without breaking confidences and giri to the (usually) traditional systems where they obtained their knowlege? Unlike the field of law, ancient Chinese, Japanese and other arts from which this skill set arose were not open in sharing knowledge to the general public, on an open forum. (Remember that old article on the handcuff escape I linked to earlier in this thread? The magician who sold the secret to the Strand Magazine probably caught hell from his fellow illusionists and prestidigitators for divulging one of their secrets!) Guilds, brotherhoods and societies are very ancient in origin, and their expectations of "giri" hold even today. Knowledge that is dearly acquired is not cheaply tossed out for anyone to glean from the internet. And yet, if someone really wants to learn and to pursue the knowledge, many of these individuals will gladly show you privately, or even in a seminar for numerous interested individuals. But they won't discuss details publicly.
Too, as has been expressed many times here, words do not always serve in place of the experience. Erick, again, it's something you (and all of us) really just need to get on the mats and feel if you are so inclined.

I believe that the reason this subject has been coming up on this site is because some people feel it's time for aikido to regain what it has lost. The intent is not to try to spoon-feed information, but to alert aikidoka to its existance, then let the motivated individuals take their own initiative. No one is being secretive about who can offer hands-on experience and learning in this area: Akuzawa, Wang, Ushiro... et al... the resources are out there.

My take, anyway.
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Old 02-06-2007, 07:32 PM   #436
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
The "Four Basic Principles" are about actual skills that the words "ki", "extend", "weight underside", yada, yada, yada, are supposed to evoke.

What I'm suggesting is that to a certain extent we can describe fairly accurately (at the risk of being hooted at by future generations) what the Four Basic Principles are supposed to reference. By doing that, we are taking a first step toward beginning to reconcile a number of the different traditional descriptions out there. If we reconcile, we begin to clarify. Not that clarifying will do away with the need for the preliminary "hands-on" that gives people the needed foot-in-the-door.
Difficult but perhaps doable. in the sense that all of us could agree on a common and very basic understanding to guide practice. In other words, the understanding required to comprehend why the 4 points are the same (IIRC, hence if you have one, you have all, and inversely without one you lose all).

Since all of us are getting different realizations during training, which ones are the basic ones and which build on those or are merely interesting side-effects?

My take based on exercises from Akuzawa sensei is that the most important realization is that practitioners reference their movements internally, not with visual cues about external shape. As a first step, before people can develop a connection throughout the whole body, perhaps a realization of a vertical relationship between the top and bottom of the spine is a good start - like a vertical spring which is kept extended. (How to practice this probably covers a variety of hard and soft methods). Through this the workings of the chest, hips and their effects on the arms and legs, and the connections between them can slowly be realized, and how the hara manipulates the connections. Again, specific exercises are probably manyfold.

Disclaimer: the above represents speculation on my part based on where I find myself now.
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Old 02-06-2007, 08:56 PM   #437
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Gernot Hassenpflug wrote:
My take based on exercises from Akuzawa sensei is that the most important realization is that practitioners reference their movements internally, not with visual cues about external shape. As a first step, before people can develop a connection throughout the whole body, perhaps a realization of a vertical relationship between the top and bottom of the spine is a good start - like a vertical spring which is kept extended.
Well, let me take a stab at it.

Let's take something simple like grounding a push to your forearm that is held in front of you. So if we take 3 different ways of visualizing how that push is "grounded":

(1.) You relax and let the body form a connection that most directly lets the push be accepted by the back leg... the rest of the body between the push and the ground is ignored so that the "mind" sets up the requisite tensions, etc., that convey the push to the ground. Yes, the "control point" nexus that the push goes through is the "middle", hara, dantien, tanden, etc.

(2.) You let the body "structure" hold the push. This is the general range that Akuzawa's approach falls into. It seemingly derives from the Shaolin viewpoint of "frame" and "axis". The general idea is that if the "structure" of the body is reasonably cohesive but not stiff, the mind/structure will place the push at the feet; a push on the forearm is conveyed so well that it is actually a push at the feet. The middle/hara/etc., is in this model but the emphasis on the middle as a "force-control-nexus" is not so high as in #1. Working on structure can also develop, if one is not careful, a more muscle-based "connection" of the body and less dependence on the pure ground and pure weight inceptions for work done.

(3.) The more mystical approach is to "relax" and let the push be accepted by the middle via a "ki of the universe" paradigm or equivalent. What *can* happen with this visualization is that (using more experienced practitioners to copy from) a learner will gradually by default allow the feet/ground to accept the push, also, but it can be a somewhat more ambiguous approach. The Ki-Society uses some of these visualizations that call on the practitioner to accept and respond to forces in certain whole-body ways. Ultimately, pushes are held by the ground though and uplifts are held by the weight at the center of the body. Functionally, the principles of the body mechanics is the same.

My suggestion is that the most direct approach is to understand that any jin/kokyu force upward and outward from the body is a specialized aiming of force directions which is based on the ground at the feet; any downward force direction is based on the weight at the center of the body. The body cohesiveness has to be improved to relay these forces well. Akuzawa's approach strengthens the cohesiveness. Correct breathing exercises strengthen the specialized cohesiveness. Standing exercises strengthen the cohesiveness. Correctly-done exercises that focus on using the shortest ground-path or the shortest weight-path strengthen the cohesiveness (e.g., Aiki Taiso).

What I'm getting at is that one's preferred visualizations of path, structure, "ki of the universe through a relaxed body", or whatever are fine, but ultimately at high-skill-levels these are all going to turn out to develop the same or near-same basic body mechanics. The subtle differences in the approaches are the things of argument between "Shaolin" and "Taoist", in a lot of Chinese perspectives.

Another thing to be considering is that the use of the body's muscles will change greatly, if one wants to use this form of strength. Just as a basic example, think about extending the arms/hands out in front of the body (at chest level) and then lifting the arms an inch or so up to shoulder-level. The normal way is to simply lift the arms up using the shoulders. The other way would be to subtley "get under" the weight of the arms so that the hips and legs are holding the weight as directly as possible, and then *push* the arms up, maybe slightly unbending the back. With practice, you can't tell the two methods apart, but you can use the second method to ultimately "push" great weight upward, using the subtle movements of the whole body working in unison.

The point in the above paragraph is to indicate just how different this mode of movement can be. It's not something someone shows you how to do and you "got it". It's difficult to explain in just words, so a lot of "feel this" is often involved. Of the 3 methods of approach, up at the top of the post, notice how none of them is clear enough where someone can just read it and do it. But if people grasp the fact that the 3 methods are really just different visualizations and conditioning methods to arrive at the same general set of skills, some of the murky water begins to clear up.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 02-06-2007, 10:09 PM   #438
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
Erick, I appreciate your frustration. I can only offer my own observations in explanation, and hope that those who are in a better position to speak from expertise will jump in.
Thank you for your observations. I have asked for the latter.
Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
... those discussing the skill set are currently outside of contemporary aikido, and obtained their skills from other sources.
Which is of course a chief cause of skepticism. What they suggest Ushiro meant is not what he said, and what he said can support a more traditional view. What they suggest Ikeda meant, is also not what he said. Wang has things (e.g.-- figure eight stability path of the center) that are very close in physical decription but from a wholly differnt source than my description of the mechanics of dynamic stability. Yet this and other correlations with what they claim is "lost" in aikido are disregarded. That degree of selective lensing combined with the lack of transparency in their approach, raises legitimate suspicions -- which they do little to quell. In some ways they seem to tweak it intentionally.
Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote:
And yet, the skills they are referring to belong within and were once part of aikido. ... I believe that the reason this subject has been coming up on this site is because some people feel it's time for aikido to regain what it has lost.
That is a case that has not yet been made, and one of the reasons I have taken every challenge to describe O Sensei's movement on video to show that what they are doing, so far as they are willing to describe it, is not what he was doing, or at least, what they say is the way is not the way he was doing it.

From all evidence, and in my experience, which is reasonably varied across the Aikido spectrum, so far as they have described what they are doing, these things are not by any means lost. Mostly it is kokyu tanden ho. Things like this recent one in this thread only confirm that their sense of certain things is precisely the same as mine.
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
... the use of the body's muscles will change greatly, if one wants to use this form of strength. Just as a basic example, think about extending the arms/hands out in front of the body (at chest level) and then lifting the arms an inch or so up to shoulder-level. The normal way is to simply lift the arms up using the shoulders. The other way would be to subtley "get under" the weight of the arms so that the hips and legs are holding the weight as directly as possible, and then *push* the arms up, maybe slightly unbending the back. With practice, you can't tell the two methods apart, but you can use the second method to ultimately "push" great weight upward, using the subtle movements of the whole body working in unison.
And yet we differ on some very critical things, even given the lack of transparency in what they are delivering. The most imporatant exception may be the resistive elements, which as I have laid my case out for, may be unproblematic for yiquan, bagua or taiji, but is very problematic for aikido given the unequivocal statements of the Founder.

I find no discrepancy between the practice of Aikido handed down, both kihon and kokyu undo, and that principle of non-resistance. Mike and Dan seem to see resistance playng a key role in their application of what may well be related skills (even if aiki has dropped the resisistve elements). That's why I keep prodding hard for more transparency to delineate the boundaries of this problem.

Maybe kokyu undo are not observed in isolation and in the perforrmance of kihon as much, or as consitently or as thoroughly as they should be. The important things are still there in the kihon, and the kokyu undo, as they are for Ushiro in kata, and they are not lost.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 02-06-2007, 10:15 PM   #439
Brion Toss
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Re: Baseline skillset

I am generally in agreement that many Aikidoka are missing some of the skills that Ueshiba and others displayed. But I firmly believe that those skills can be derived from the practices of the kihon waza. Those practices are, of course, no guarantee that one will become proficient in Aikido, or anything else, any more than esoteric Chinese practices are any guarantee that one will become proficient in Chinese arts, or anything else. But I have Ueshiba's word on the primacy of the kihon, so I'm inclined to go along.
As I stated in a much earlier post, I have had the good fortune of "feeling" the power of K. Tohei and others on the Aikido side, and my Tai Chi teacher Michael Gilman ( just in case he meets Mr. Sigman's criteria) and others on the Chinese arts side. But why should I have to bring these people up? The original question was about what we thought basic skills were for Aikido. It appears that we disagree on the answer.
The proponents of non-waza exercises cannot or will not make a convincing argument about why their view should prevail. They keep telling Mr. Mead to get out and feel what they are talking about. Well, I believe that I have gotten out and felt what they are talking about, over the course of the last, um, almost 40 years, and I'm still practicing Aikido. It has developed my spirit in the dojo, and saved my ass on the street. So where does that leave us? One tack would be to dismiss my experiences as invalid, the idea being that if I really, really had experienced what they were talking about, I would agree with them. Is it not possible, instead, that I might have made an informed decision?
Mr. Mead's arguments are not easy to follow; several people have expressed difficulty with his mathematics. So let's just assume for the moment that his math, rigorous and thorough though it seems to be, is in fact erroneous. Let's just set it aside. That leaves us with his insistence that O Sensei knew what he was talking about. Can we agree on that? If not, then perhaps some of us will develop those basic skills, or ones like them, by other means. Or not. And perhaps some of us will find them by the means recommended by the Founder. Or not.
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Old 02-06-2007, 10:21 PM   #440
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Baseline skillset

Mike, that's a very helpful post, thanks. For (3), according to the practice under Abe sensei, it seems to me that the importance of keeping the tanden area (visualized as a point) hard is to prevent the "relaxed body" simply compressing under stress. Akuzawa's method in (2), as you say, may not place so much emphasis on the tanden area because the body is stretched out in 6-directions rather concretely and diffuses forces through and along that structure. As a result, "piano-wire-like lines" begin to be realized, but these are also realized by method (3) if the hara is working hard enough to support the structure against stress.

(1) is a great mind model. What would be a representative exercise that is done with that model foremost? (in contrast to, say, Abe sensei and Akuzawa sensei's currently-preferred approaches).
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Old 02-06-2007, 10:41 PM   #441
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Gernot Hassenpflug wrote:
Mike, that's a very helpful post, thanks. For (3), according to the practice under Abe sensei, it seems to me that the importance of keeping the tanden area (visualized as a point) hard is to prevent the "relaxed body" simply compressing under stress.
Gernot, some of this is tricky to describe in a logical order because the different approaches usually have different steps that they consider important of logical in the development of the ki skills. I should have remembered your telling me about Abe Sensei's emphasis on the hard tanden area. That's another of the old approaches and it's true. What it represents though is more of a sophisticated model than just the "forces" comparison I did in my post.

Originally, "Misogi" referred to the basic step of building the ki by "condensing the breath behind the navel".... i.e., one of the packing methods using either reverse breathing or "Buddhist" breathing. For the Japanese, I suspect most of the martial styles, koryu included, developed via the Buddhist methods. I.e., "Shaolin".

What happens after a lot of correct breathing practice is that the middle becomes very hard and becomes the nexus of the fascial structures/layers emanating out from the middle to the extremities. So that "hardness" actually becomes more or less a fairly common aspect of the "connection" I referred to in (2.). Note however, that you can develop just a "connection" strength (and you will be strong, assuredly) without necessarily developing the augmentive strength related to the hara.
Quote:
Akuzawa's method in (2), as you say, may not place so much emphasis on the tanden area because the body is stretched out in 6-directions rather concretely and diffuses forces through and along that structure. As a result, "piano-wire-like lines" begin to be realized, but these are also realized by method (3) if the hara is working hard enough to support the structure against stress.
Oops... we're saying the same thing, more or less.
Quote:
(1) is a great mind model. What would be a representative exercise that is done with that model foremost? (in contrast to, say, Abe sensei and Akuzawa sensei's currently-preferred approaches).
That's the kind of stuff that would take pages and pages and really it needs to be shown. I may run into Rob shortly and I'll try to give him an idea of what I mean so he can pass it on to you.

Best.

Mike
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Old 02-06-2007, 10:55 PM   #442
miratim
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Brion Toss wrote:
The proponents of non-waza exercises cannot or will not make a convincing argument about why their view should prevail.
Hi Brion -

Do you think that non-waza exercises, as you call them, include ki development exercises as commonly practiced in several styles of aikido?
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Old 02-06-2007, 10:59 PM   #443
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
And yet we differ on some very critical things, even given the lack of transparency in what they are delivering. The most imporatant exception may be the resistive elements, which as I have laid my case out for, may be unproblematic for yiquan, bagua or taiji, but is very problematic for aikido given the unequivocal statements of the Founder.
This one seems to be your mantra and you can't be reasoned with. You, a westerner, take a translation of a common Asian saying about not using resistance/muscle/strength and you make it into some self-styled Aikido shibboleth. I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that if you and I had a quick contest, you'd find that I use less "resistance" than you do. Most Aikido people (including teachers) are far more resistive than I am. So you just keep muttering to yourself about this one little point that relies purely on your idee fixe... but bear in mind that it's been addressed a number of times in various threads and relegated to at most an "opinion" that you're unable to weight convincingly.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 02-06-2007, 11:31 PM   #444
Eddie deGuzman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Hi,

I've met Jim Baker, nice guy, funny, light touch, good aikido. Haven't seen the jo trick. Interesting the way it was explained, but that would be visualization and some people have a hard time buying into that. I don't mind so I'll think on it.

Mike, thanks for something concrete to work with!. Interesting, the idea of foot/ground for up and hara for down. I usually think hara, musubi and then work with the technique in relation to uke and his energy, more like 3. Yet if there is a strong foot ground connection, I am not aware of it. I feel more balanced than anything, a heavyness/lightness equilibrium, so to speak.

The 6 directions thing again. Hmmm, still clueless. Typically there are four, divided to corners makes eight. Take the four and add up and down, that gives 6, but with the corners would be 10. Or would this include inward and outward? And what are Abe and Akuzawa sensei's currently-preferred approaches?

I couldn't tell you if Eric's theories are sound or not. Brion's suggestion was interesting but made me think of what it would be like if we assumed the opposite. What if he is right? What if all of the minute calculations contained in a moving body, speed, weight, distance, power, muscles, joints, linear and rotating forces both, hearing, seeing, feeling and intent were then combined with the data of another person and then everything was balanced out in one sleek, slick equation? I presume it would be one hell of an equation. And something that I in no way would be able to begin consider in the small amount of time it takes for someone to attack me. And since the human brain is a superduper computer, what if it takes all the necessary input and for simplicity sake says, "Move like this? " Would it hurt so much if you were both right? Seeing as there are different roads to the top of the mountain, and happening to meet at a crossroads holding different maps, I don't see it as necessary to try and throw each other off.

Cheers,
Eddie
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Old 02-07-2007, 12:21 AM   #445
Tim Fong
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Eddie
6 directions is just the a way of saying the standard cartesian x,y,z system. It counts each axis as two directions.
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Old 02-07-2007, 12:48 AM   #446
Tim Fong
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

editing timed out:
Eddie
6 directions is just the another way to describe co-ordinates. Look at it like the standard cartesian x,y,z system.

So 6 directions is
up-down
front-back
side-to-side.

You can break down any motion into an x, y and z component. I use this to look at ranges of motion.

As far as baseline skillset, this is why I think in my own practice I look at moving in straight lines first before I even think about spirals. For example, the rowing exercises are mostly translation along the z-axis. My goal is to develop the awareness of connection/pressure in every axis of every joint in my body. Obviously I have a ways to go =)

Whenever I see a new solo kata or form (from any system) I look at the ranges of motion that they strengthen. I tend to be very granular and look at the joints involved, and what the range of motion is. Then I think about how to develop the pressure feeling/connection feeling in the joints, or try to feel what triggers it by moving other parts of the body.

Back to baseline skills-- I am very curious to see Ushiro's sanchin. I've seen other versions and apparently they are isolating the shoulder and elbow joint with no involvement by the waist. There is some involement of the legs as the feet step forward for each set.

For a contrast, if you see something like taiji/bagua/xingyi you'll probably notice that they use the waist/back/knees. Interestingly sumo also uses a knees-out position as does judo.

If Ushiro's version also uses the pigeon toed stance then I think the following is applicable:

Throwing technique in aikido would apparently use knees in a rotated out stance. Sanchin, since it uses the knees turned in stance, would not develop stability/connection in the knees turned out position (rotated along the y-axis that is). However it would build a strong connection in the shoulder and arms, (potentially spine???) which would at least give people a chance to feel the breath/connection/pressure and then play around with it. I've found in my own practice that getting the back connected and geting stability in the knees rotated out position is ....challenging.

If you stand with the knees turned in (get up and try it!) you'll see it limits the range of motion of the waist. If you have no waist connection, then using the pigeon toed stance would let you use the upper body/arms connection on top of a very limited stance. Considering that it might take up to a year or more to gain the pressure feeling in the legs, some systems probably decided that it wasn't worth the trouble, since they needed to field fighters more quickly.

There's another Southern Shaolin system that is even more stripped down than karate/white crane, and can get beginners to use some degree of connection in only a year or so. Lest I send anyone off on a wild goose chase, it uses a very limited range of motion in only a few joints, and certainly not as many as aikido.

Anyway I hope folks find this interesting. I may be wrong about some of it...been wrong before. I'm all for iteration though

Last edited by Tim Fong : 02-07-2007 at 12:52 AM.
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Old 02-07-2007, 01:04 AM   #447
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Eddie deGuzman wrote:
I couldn't tell you if Eric's theories are sound or not. Brion's suggestion was interesting but made me think of what it would be like if we assumed the opposite. What if he is right? What if all of the minute calculations contained in a moving body, speed, weight, distance, power, muscles, joints, linear and rotating forces both, hearing, seeing, feeling and intent were then combined with the data of another person and then everything was balanced out in one sleek, slick equation? I presume it would be one hell of an equation.
Tell you what... if it was one slick equation, it would make the nerdy math guy on Numb3rs look like a positive geek... uh... wait a minute... he IS a geek...

You know how his FBI brother always turns around and says to him... "English... please...?"

To be honest, Erick could be right for all I care.... I'm just not interested in his exposition of rotating joints and what not. At the end of the day, it's not about who's right or not... it's about whether you can take this stuff and easily learn it, and use it. Sure, there's a lot of practice involved - like playing guitar, or playing piano... we're not all going to be virtuosos, but that shouldn't stop us from trying to be.

As far as I'm concerned, if you can't get people to first base or show/tell them in a simple way to get to first base, even if you have the slickest mathematical equation that fully and functionally describes the mechanics involved, then so what? People aren't machines, and don't move within the defined parameters of some "neat" equation.

Last edited by eyrie : 02-07-2007 at 01:11 AM.

Ignatius
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Old 02-07-2007, 02:40 AM   #448
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Baseline skillset

Mike that was all rather enlightening, especially re-reading the part about "packing". I suspected you would be forced to forego an explanation to my question, but I'll be able to train again in Tokyo soon if the work negotations don't kill me first. Thanks again. Gernot
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Old 02-07-2007, 07:23 AM   #449
Brion Toss
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Tim Miranda wrote:
Hi Brion -

Do you think that non-waza exercises, as you call them, include ki development exercises as commonly practiced in several styles of aikido?
Yes. I began the art in a style that stressed ki development exercises. Still practice those exercises, and it is hard to find a dojo in which some of those ideas are not touched on, to some degree. But I see the exercises as means to amplify/focus on/elaborate on principles and skills contained in the waza. Tohei famously stated his four principles, famously and wonderfully demonstrated the potential of ki. But in every one of his classes that I had the good fortune of attending, he stressed basic waza.
Allow me to put it in another context. I am a rigger by vocation. There is a certain, limited amount of math involved in doing my job well, in my estimation, so I study it to the best of my limited capacity. But no amount of familiarity with the works of Euler and Pythagoras is, by itself, going to make me a good rigger; in fact there are lots of very good riggers who have little or no notion of math, in a formal sense. The math is still there, but they don't deal with it on a descriptive level. Even riggers of extreme, bountifully-calculated racing yachts don't always participate in those calculations. But those same riggers know, on a visceral level, the effects of diminishing staying angles, the consequences of unsupported length, the relative unimportance of mast wall thickness, and all of the other things that calculations might tell them. And they know these things because they get immediate, profound feedback from the act of rigging: fabricating the pieces; installing them on the boat; and adjusting as needed to make an integrated system.
I find, then, that the study of math, in my professional context, is like ki exercises in an Aikido context: useful, and perhaps even essential at some level, but not a basic skill.
And just to confuse things a bit, I find the study of math in an Aikido context also to be like ki exercises: not required as a basic, but extremely useful, and perhaps inevitable, at some point.
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Old 02-07-2007, 07:49 AM   #450
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
This one seems to be your mantra and you can't be reasoned with. You, a westerner, take a translation of a common Asian saying about not using resistance/muscle/strength and you make it into some self-styled Aikido shibboleth. I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that if you and I had a quick contest, you'd find that I use less "resistance" than you do. Most Aikido people (including teachers) are far more resistive than I am. So you just keep muttering to yourself about this one little point that relies purely on your idee fixe... but bear in mind that it's been addressed a number of times in various threads and relegated to at most an "opinion" that you're unable to weight convincingly.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
Mike most of my personal Aikido training has been based in nonresistance or elimination of as much resistance as possible. In very unscientific terms when a person attacks all their internal gyroscopes are set to meet resistance and when they meet it they find stability from which to base another attack. My goal has always been to let them find as little as possible. When I was young and in very good health I found that core strength training and core strength assisted me in developing non resistance. As I became very ill with Myasthenia Gravis I had to find other ways because core strength training was not an option. Do you have an opinion on this? I would surmise that large wagon wheel is there for you to develop core strength or am I wrong?

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