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Old 02-10-2007, 05:18 PM   #526
eyrie
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Eddie deGuzman wrote:
Whether anyone else believes it is not really relevant to my training. And I say this not meaning to offend. It's just a fact. I'm just a little surprised that I would need to get verified before allowed to have an opinion.

Many things you've said "ring true" as per my experience. Please recall that I have learned in the less spoken is better traditional Japanese style and thus lack the words to accurately describe the "feeling" of ki/kokyu in English. My interest in this thread is not only to learn more about the concept of ki/kokyu, but also find an easier way to describe it.
Well, I too had the privilege of the "less spoken" tradition. But these things can be described in fairly simple terms which indicate quickly whether someone knows what they're talking about or not. Whether they can or can't apply it is another matter, and I think irrelevant to the discussion. So, anecdotal evidence of such and such a shihan having it or what someone says about you "moving differently" means very little - without touching hands.

I have provided you with several opportunities to describe it in your own words, but it seems you have either missed the point or the opportunity it presented. My description or Mike's or Dan's or Rob's have very little to do with it, but descriptive discourse adds to everyone's shared knowledge.

I'm sorry you took this the wrong way... but then, I am beyond any ego or emotional attachment to anything anyone says these days...

Ignatius
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Old 02-10-2007, 05:28 PM   #527
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I genuinely think that anything is fair game to motivate people, if it motivates them in the right direction. You start off nice, but nice seldom works with anyone who thinks they're "already there", as you should know quite well by now.
Well I can't speak to that.
I'm talking about your numerous posts where you said that you tried to tell people for years but they wouldn't listen.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 02-10-2007, 05:40 PM   #528
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Heaven knows.... one day my doorbell might ring and it will be Cady there to use her ki to "take control of my body" and toss me around like a rag-doll.



Mike
Zzzzzz...uh?...huhn?...Someone talkin' smack about me agin? Mike, if I ever get to Durango, dang tootin' it won't be in the middle of winter when the Rockies have been hit with umpteen feet of snow. Sheesh. And it ain't about "ki," anyway. Should the day ever come (and don't forget the part about manipulating your bones. You left that out ), I'll be sure to acknowledge where those skills came from.

P.S. Dan, don't forget: www.sweeptheleg.com

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 02-10-2007 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 02-10-2007, 05:54 PM   #529
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I'm talking about your numerous posts where you said that you tried to tell people for years but they wouldn't listen.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
Oops
Yup. And that was only in the mid nineties!! ten or twelve years ago.
And got my butt handed to me for trying (on many occasions) to talk about what was missing, what it could do...and...what the potentials were. I still have some of those posts some where.

I agree that hopefully those day are gone. More folks are asking the right people. Hopefully the folks who got it in AIkido will share it. Now there are many going outsde the art to get what was the foundation -Of - the art. But even that's OK. Those that will "think" and train will get it. It's certain. There's no stopping it at this point
And that's a good thing
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-10-2007 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 02-10-2007, 06:39 PM   #530
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote:
Yup. And that was only in the mid nineties!! ten or twelve years ago.
And got my butt handed to me for trying (on many occasions) to talk about what was missing, what it could do...and...what the potentials were. I still have some of those posts some where.
Actually, that reminds me of Dennis Hooker's post on "Why Are You Posting Here" or whatever it was. Looking at the big number of responses from people who don't do Aikido but who used to do Aikido for a while and quit, we should start another thread entitled, "Why I Regretfully Quit Aikido, But Still Have Hopes As Evidenced by the Fact That I Still Hang Around". Part of it has to do with those same attitudes that you're mentioning.

To me, I could see there was something out there and I just got tired of people who didn't see that fact trying to make me conform to their idea of what Aikido was and by gum be happy about the fact that they were here to tell me what was good for me.

Mike
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Old 02-10-2007, 07:19 PM   #531
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
. . . we should start another thread entitled, "Why I Regretfully Quit Aikido, But Still Have Hopes As Evidenced by the Fact That I Still Hang Around".
We could start a support group. exAikidoka Anonymous.

"My name is Josh, and I still hang out on Aikido forums. It's been 12 years since my last Aikido class."
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Old 02-10-2007, 08:01 PM   #532
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Josh Lerner wrote:
We could start a support group. exAikidoka Anonymous.

"My name is Josh, and I still hang out on Aikido forums. It's been 12 years since my last Aikido class."
Yeah, and we could start a thread titled, "It wasn't 'Hidden In Plain Sight', I was beat over the head with it and I refused to accept it".

Mike
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Old 02-10-2007, 08:18 PM   #533
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Yeah, and we could start a thread titled, "It wasn't 'Hidden In Plain Sight', I was beat over the head with it and I refused to accept it".

Mike
And some still do........

Mike T-H-A-T was funny.
I just laughed out loud.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-10-2007 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 02-10-2007, 11:40 PM   #534
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Re: Baseline skillset

Or how about.... I didn't quit... I just left coz no one else wanted to train THAT way...

Ignatius
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Old 02-11-2007, 05:19 AM   #535
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Mike Sigman wrote:

Quote:
To me, I could see there was something out there and I just got tired of people who didn't see that fact trying to make me conform to their idea of what Aikido was and by gum be happy about the fact that they were here to tell me what was good for me
Could it have something to do with attachment or ego? Sometimes we want so hard to believe in something, or to re-live our past experiences, or convey our desires or hopes on to something so much that we stick around for very irrational reasons.

Ego also works in this area as well. We figure somethings out, and like the feeling and attention that we recieve from being a big fish in the perceived small pond.

It could also be, as Mike discusses, that we decide that while it is not worth our time studying in our local aikido dojo, that there are some people in the circles of aikido that are worth studying with....we take the good with the bad.

I hope that I am being honest with myself and why I hang out and identify with aikido, or any martial art. I personally find value in being part of a community of people that are on the same path that I am on. We share things, discover things together, and explore the path. Not all of us necessarily have the same ultimate goals but it is close enough that there is mutual value.

At the same time, I don't take things at face value, and I am very cautious about calling myself an aikidoka, as I consider that to be a self limiting label.

I equate this to the same concept as not calling myself a Buddhist. While I follow the philosophy and many of the practices, tenants, and have a strong affinity toward buddhism, to call yourself one, is a form of attachment, and is therefore...self limiting.
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Old 02-11-2007, 05:20 AM   #536
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Re: Baseline skillset

That's an interesting take, Kevin.
In light of that.......
I left so I could keep doing Aikido.
I was afraid I'd start to move and be like them.
So I let go of the attachment. I found it to be too self-limiting
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-11-2007 at 05:31 AM.
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Old 02-11-2007, 05:33 AM   #537
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Re: Baseline skillset

If you left "Aikido" Dan....then who do you do aikido with so you can keep doing it?

I assume that you must feel that the basic infrastructure of aikido to be sound, otherwise you'd dismiss it entirely as a loss cause and move on out of the community entirely correct?

My aikido certainly will not be like the aikido of others in my dojo community as I have my own set of experiences. However, I do feel that I have much I can learn from within my aikido community.

I do understand to a point. I understand aikido much better having left aikido for the past couple of years by not studying it, than by studying it.
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Old 02-11-2007, 05:37 AM   #538
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Re: Baseline skillset

I see you edited your post while I was responding Dan.

Yes, I think you do need to let go of aikido to internalize it and understand it. Just like anything else in life.
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Old 02-11-2007, 07:34 AM   #539
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Could it have something to do with attachment or ego? Sometimes we want so hard to believe in something, or to re-live our past experiences, or convey our desires or hopes on to something so much that we stick around for very irrational reasons.

Ego also works in this area as well. We figure somethings out, and like the feeling and attention that we recieve from being a big fish in the perceived small pond.
Kevin, I can work on most electrical mechanisms, car engines (complete assembly and re-assembly), transmissions, mountain climbing, kayaking... all technical things. I get a great pleasure out of knowing how things work, in other words. I'm very analytic. When I encounter something, like I did with that Sandan I met so many years ago with kokyu skills, I want to know how it works. It's that simple; no psychoanalysing needed... I saw something, I wanted to know how to do it, I didn't let the flummery distract me. I was willing to put up with the rituals and stuff just to learn how to do those skills. Except, despite all the bullshit, nobody really knew. If you haven't spotted some of the BS in Aikido (and many other arts) and you want to tag someone as "ego" who left the BS because it was nonproductive, it's your opinion.

On the other hand, think about the people in Aikido, Taiji, Karate, Kungfu, whatever, who have really difficult-to-express goals that are not based on any substantive accomplishment per se. Analyse them... it's a lot more fruitful area

I'm watching how this subject of baseline skills is being treated, but I'll save that for another post.

Mike
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Old 02-11-2007, 08:06 AM   #540
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Re: Baseline skillset

I understand and agree with your methodology.

What I don't understand is why guys like you and Dan bother wasting your time on a forum full of people that are wasting their time with ritualistic, nonproductive, difficult-to-express goals that are not based on any substantive accomplishment per se...if you geniunely feel this way....(i might not understand your perspective either).

Why?

I am not asking in a sarcastic way, but genuinely I am intrigued about what your motivations are. I'd grow impatient and bored and move on I'd think after a while.

I am not asking you to do this btw, because I think we'd all losing very valuable community members.

...simply curious.
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Old 02-11-2007, 08:23 AM   #541
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
What I don't understand is why guys like you and Dan bother wasting your time on a forum full of people that are wasting their time with ritualistic, nonproductive, difficult-to-express goals that are not based on any substantive accomplishment per se...if you geniunely feel this way....(i might not understand your perspective either).
But Aikido is not a monolithic group of people who are "wasting their time....", etc. There are a number (a minority) that are bright, dedicated martial artists. Look at the ones who left (like in Dennis' thread) but who are hanging around *as part of a larger martial arts practice that they still do*. Nobody is a homeless, hopeless waif looking to be part of some group, Kevin... it tends to be more people who still like the idea of Aikido and the FEW worthwhile people that appeal to them.

I came to AikiWeb (I've done it in the past and left pretty quickly... for the same reason some of my friends in Aikido don't bother to come here at all) this last time because I wanted to cover my bases about Japanese knowledge of the qi skills, before I made some error of reasoning in a book I'm working on. Turns out that this time I found some very interesting leads and the community has opened up a lot more. I don't tend to leave an information source until I'm satisfied that I've gotten all I can.

As it happens, AW happened to be the nexus that a lot of these discussions settled into. If Aikido Journal had been more viable (and it was a tossup there for a while) more of the discussions would be going on there right now. There are deeper discussions of this topic on a few more forums, but I think if you polled the readers of AW, there are a fair amount of people who are interested in the discussions, even though you're not really.

Is that answer enough?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 02-11-2007, 08:46 AM   #542
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Re: Baseline skillset

On a separate line of thought that goes back toward the original topic, I was thinking of Eddie's comments about some of the things maybe making sense within his own framework, while a number of other people have fairly instantly been able to spot that they're all talking about the same things in relation to basic ki and kokyu skills.

I think a lot of the conversational clues start out at the kokyu/jin skills. It's in the peculiar and focused way that someone who "uses the ground" can spot the focus and emphasis in someone else's conversation. A few more comments, exchanges, etc., and a basis for discussion is set because there is an immutable logic in these basic-level skills (actually there's a logic that ties into all the high skills, too, but often you need pointers). Someone who has just been introduced to these basic skills will almost invariably spot the focus by the people who are also doing these things, because now they know the foothold things (based on experience and common sense) to look for.

What doesn't work, but which bears noting in relation to "baseline skills", are the superficial usages of the same terms, while not adding the requisite peripherals to assure others that it's not just buzzwords they're using.

For instance, I noticed the use of "internalizing" skills. That's more of a buzzword; buzzword usage alone is a pretty sure indicator that someone doesn't have these basic skills. So when someone talks generally about "kokyu", "centering", "ki", etc., but it's always general and never with specific mention of how something is done, that too is going to be an indicator of lack of this knowledge. The problem is, a beginner can't spot that.

The beginner doesn't know enough, so the guy who is dropping the terms yet who has not been able to figure out what Rob, Dan, or others is talking about, is actually doing something I disapprove of. Let me encapsulate it like this: Any "teacher" or experienced martial artist who uses the buzzwords, yet can't solidly understand the discussion of the "ground path", unbalancing/floating with just a touch, etc., is doing more than just saving face... he's also doing something unhelpful to any beginner reading the thread. Now that's ego. And it's wasted, useless ego, because when you finally meet up with someone, there's no way to fake this knowledge. None of us can or could.... so an act is just an act and serves no positive purpose.

When I meet up with someone and I touch them, I know pretty much what they know. When I meet up with real experts, they can tell pretty quickly what I know by just a touch, too (and it ain't so high at all, in comparison with what they know). But some of this stuff needs to get away from the posturing and use of buzzwords because it's potentially damaging to the neophytes. In some ways, it's the same damaging approach that left so many of the current yudanshakai in the position they're in... it needs to be curtailed, IMO.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 02-11-2007, 10:03 AM   #543
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Re: Baseline skillset

Thanks for your clarification and explaination Mike. It is good to know the source of your motivation and overall interest. I have benefited from the discussion you participate in. Thanks.

Dan, any comments?
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Old 02-11-2007, 10:14 AM   #544
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Re: Baseline skillset

I generally agree with Mike's last two posts but wanted to add a few thoughts regarding the misinformation spoken and read on the Internet.
Its not always collusion. I believe that some teachers in Aikido are genuinely ignorant of these skills and truly believe in the…stuff….they say. They were told things by their trusted teachers and they believe it. More importantly they were NOT told things by their teachers as well. For this reason very sincere folks write in things like "I'm a godan under so and so and in twenty years X master teacher never showed me or talked to me about these things so how can they be important? And his skill is amazing."
It's hard to break through and explain the underlying ugly truths inherent in their own statement…till they touch someone with these skills. I have a dojo with a few folks in it who now know they were deceived or at the least held away from the truth.

Now you run into problem #2
Were they held from the truth by an amazing teacher who had the stuff? Or is the "Amazing teacher" not so amazing after all.
Here is the quandary. You can hide behind excellent technique in front of many students. How? Because excellent technique is enough most of the time to get the job done.
Most guys are unaware of these skills and how they can aid them to transcend to that point where technique matters little. It's only when you meet someone who can easily handle you that you get a clue just how much you were missing after all.
Second you have the men who lie to themselves. Men who will take what you teach them and then tell you it was in their art after all. Some men are so in love with their art that they cannot bear to realize it doesn't have it "all."
Truth can be a wonderful freeing thing.
I can also be a painful process if you "hold on" to ideas dear to you in light of better information.

Cheers
Dan
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Old 02-11-2007, 10:15 AM   #545
Eddie deGuzman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I agree with you, but there's still an element of personal responsibility.
...A lot of the experienced people who are missing it now *must* have had elements of the same clues presented to them and they didn't get it. Or chose not to. Or let peer pressure and "common wisdom" keep them from thinking thoroughly.

Well, if you go back and look, my comment about the back foot was more along the lines that it's the best way to start to learn these skills, not that you use the back-foot all the time. Once you learn them, you can use the front foot, the butt, your back, or whatever has access to the ground, etc.
Hi Mike, thanks for the PM.
I would think that as you said many people have been exposed to ki/kokyu skills and for whatever reason have not changed, but I would also think there must be a large percentage who have not. If one belongs to a dojo, they would train there and learn whatever that teacher might be teaching. Not everyone attends aikido events or meets with high ranking aikidoka.

Yes, I recall that now. I wasn't saying that it was incorrect or not. Just that I never thought of it that way. This probably stems from the fact that I was never taught the "idea" of connecting with the ground/rooting. Thanks for the clarification. It now seems to fit better with how I look at things.

After seeing a sketch of an "energy path"? leading through hands and down into rear leg, back up and out again(peng jin?), the idea of bouncing becomes a little clearer. When "hitting the attacker with his own force" was mentioned, I previously had pictured the description as more like a tennis ball would bounce off of a wall.

One shihan explained a similar path to me(strictly the flow of ki), the image of which I often utilize, but it did not reach the floor, it made a u-turn at the hara. I recently read that there are eight such pathways or types of energy in the Chinese internal arts and am wondering if it may be one of these instead. Whaddayathink? Perhaps you could describe them or provide a link. A picture is worth a thousand words.

TIA,
Eddie
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Old 02-11-2007, 10:46 AM   #546
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Eddie deGuzman wrote:
After seeing a sketch of an "energy path"? leading through hands and down into rear leg, back up and out again(peng jin?), the idea of bouncing becomes a little clearer. When "hitting the attacker with his own force" was mentioned, I previously had pictured the description as more like a tennis ball would bounce off of a wall.

One shihan explained a similar path to me(strictly the flow of ki), the image of which I often utilize, but it did not reach the floor, it made a u-turn at the hara.
Hi Eddie:

Yeah, this was something I ran into at the Ki-Society thing in December that I attended. I realized that a lot of the people were "squishy" because they were doing that same hara thing instead of the ground. Using the hara to bounce someone is OK, I guess, as long as your understand that the hara is directly resting on the ground through the leg(s). Essentially, though, I find it best to just let the feet, legs, waist (in that order of importance) handle all loads. You breathe to your heels and you draw your power from the soles of your feet.
Quote:
I recently read that there are eight such pathways or types of energy in the Chinese internal arts and am wondering if it may be one of these instead. Whaddayathink? Perhaps you could describe them or provide a link. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Really, there are only 2 core powers, Yin and Yang, the support of the ground and the weight from gravity.

The basic powers in Taiji, to drop exact accuracy in order to make a point, are really 4, not 8 (the other four "corners" are variations of the first 4). Essentially the powers are "up", "down", "away from the body", and "toward the body".... or "peng", "an", "ji", and "lu". All motions can be described in terms of those 4. If you draw a circle with your arm, for instance, it will contain the 4 directions of power as they shift from one to the other. Hence, a circle is derived from a square, in that sense.

That's just Taiji's way of describing/analysing the basic powers. Different arts analyse in different ways and to different degrees. The point is that the basics are very simple. The lowest element of force-station is the "original qi" (the "Hun Yuan Qi") that is stretched between Earth and Gravity (between Heaven and Earth) and all other powers derive from that basic point. So my suggestion would be to not worry about 8 powers, but only one. (From the One comes the Many).

Best.

Mike
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Old 02-11-2007, 12:54 PM   #547
Eddie deGuzman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Hi Eddie:

Yeah, this was something I ran into at the Ki-Society thing in December that I attended. I realized that a lot of the people were "squishy" because they were doing that same hara thing instead of the ground. Using the hara to bounce someone is OK, I guess, as long as your understand that the hara is directly resting on the ground through the leg(s). Essentially, though, I find it best to just let the feet, legs, waist (in that order of importance) handle all loads. You breathe to your heels and you draw your power from the soles of your feet. Really, there are only 2 core powers, Yin and Yang, the support of the ground and the weight from gravity.


That's just Taiji's way of describing/analysing the basic powers. Different arts analyse in different ways and to different degrees. The point is that the basics are very simple. The lowest element of force-station is the "original qi" (the "Hun Yuan Qi") that is stretched between Earth and Gravity (between Heaven and Earth) and all other powers derive from that basic point. So my suggestion would be to not worry about 8 powers, but only one. (From the One comes the Many).

Best.

Mike
I think a lot of things might lend to "squishiness", but if it was in all of them, then it is definitely a sign of something. BTW I don't study Ki Society. "Breathing to your heels" is a new idea for me. Just when I thought I was already a good heavy breather. Earth and gravity are interesting ideas. Thanks for more to think on.

Cheers,
Eddie
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Old 02-12-2007, 02:58 AM   #548
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
... buzzword usage alone is a pretty sure indicator that someone doesn't have these basic skills. So when someone talks generally about "kokyu", "centering", "ki", etc., but it's always general and never with specific mention of how something is done, that too is going to be an indicator of lack of this knowledge.
Thanks for nailing it, Mike. The major objections so far have largely been centered upon the use of these buzzwords, which really say nothing specifically... kinda like those management buzzwords which sound really impressive but mean very little.

So Mike, do you think we need a buzzword jar... like um... a swear jar? Say a $1 donation to Aikiweb next time someone uses a "buzzword"?

Ignatius
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:56 AM   #549
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:
So Mike, do you think we need a buzzword jar... like um... a swear jar? Say a $1 donation to Aikiweb next time someone uses a "buzzword"?
i like it!
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Old 02-12-2007, 06:25 AM   #550
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Re: Baseline skillset

The two core powers in Daito ryu
Aiki-age -rising
Aiki-sage -Desending
And there are a number of others. They equate with the 8 jins. No Taiji guy wants ot be told "Ahh..you're doing Aiki-age." No Daito ryu guy wants to be told..."Ahhh...you're doing peng jin." And every teacher who has to uphold a lineage can and will say "ours" is different. It's "ours" and you don't understand it enough to discuss it or compare it. Its just the way of it.
Folks can use buzz words all the day long just like upper center/lower center, down weight, weight transfer (a hugely overlooked area of study-IMO) drawing and condensing, borrowing force. But as opposed to the office jargon-they DO really mean something.
Ricky, I just learned the Chinese verbage for things I have been doing for years. Had a few teachers touch me and tell me I was doing this or that. I said "Uhm...OK... Translation please?" It doesn't mean I couldn't do them. Just didn't know their lingo. Its what you know and can actually do that matters-not what you say. Even when we CAN do things, we may be doing them properly at level 3 not at level 10. SO it's always debatable-even when we know what to say thats proper, how much we "really" know.
Our understanding is in our hands, not in words, and not in our teachers reputation

Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-12-2007 at 06:40 AM.
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