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Old 07-09-2007, 04:51 PM   #1326
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Baseline skillset

David, Mochizuki was remarkable, and I am not saying that his statement reflects that HE had a limited understanding of kiaijutsu. But he did choose to give you a very limited definition, one that is, in fact, rife in aikido circles. If we postulate that he was as knowlegeable as the best, then I'm curious why he chose to give you the definition he did.
You are simply incorrect that the Araki-ryu formulation of kiai (which is only one unique example) is the "omote of human life" with aiki as the ura. The "ura of everything"??????
That's simply an assertion, that illustrates limited to no understanding of what such a ryu meant by kiai.
Quote:
Having read of Yoshio Sugino's phenomenal ability in judo despite his small size (and before there were weight divisions), then having seen his performances of katori shinto ryu, I have to believe that he was conveying every drop of what was to be had in that art. And I cannot believe that Minoru Mochizuki's was lacking, either.
I ordinarily wouldn't even get into this type of discussion, but your post illustrates a problem. You state something that sounds like it makes sense regarding kiai, but it does not conform to the information that is actually passed down within classical ryu. By bringing up Sugino and Mochizuki's sword, you are apparently saying that, unlike my assertion of getting a transmission in which vital information was probably lost, you are claiming that they each got the entire transmission of TSKSR, all generations' knowledge intact. Implicitly, you are saying that the proof of this is that you have the eyes to see such perfection in classical kenjutsu.
I knew Sugino and he invited me, on several occasions, to join his dojo. I tactfully refused because, although an estimable man, with a great history of judo, some real skills at aikido (which I saw) and skill at his version of TSKSR, the flaws in his version of the latter were also manifest. To give just one example, he always telegraphed his cuts with weapons by thrusting out his chin, which also "broke the line" of his physical organization, tensing his upper back muscles, and leading him to lock his elbows and cut with the arms extended away from his body. Unlike the best practitioners of the mainline, who were just as fast or faster, his way of cutting therefore lacked power, and locked him into moves making it hard to respond omni-directionally to counterattack.
I'm also familiar with the justly-called mainline of TSKSR of Isaza and Otake, and have observed multiple practices at both the Sugino and Otake dojos. I've also seen the two groups demonstrate more-or-less side-by-side at various shrines. I've also seen a video of Mochizuki in 1951 doing TSKSR and then viewed it with a menkyo of the school, who critqued all the ways that it "no longer was TSKSR," because of what he either left out or was doing differently.
In short, my point regarding your knowlege of kiai is illustrated in your assertion that you can see that Sugino and Mochizuki "conveyed every drop that were to be had in that art." That's like asserting that Robin Trower was playing as good guitar as Jimi Hendrix. Or if you prefer classical, that Kuhlau equaled Chopin. You would be right to praise the attainments of the former musician in each formulation. But to assert that they were the equal to Hendrix or Chopin would give evidence to one's ignorance of the possibilities of music, not one's knowledge. Similarly, in this area, at least . . . .

Best
Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 07-09-2007 at 04:58 PM.

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Old 07-09-2007, 05:58 PM   #1327
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
They do what you described in your 'illustration'
Balderdash. You're arguing by assertion again. Children don't have full reasoning abilities when they're toddlers and children don't have fully developed brains, nervous systems, and muscular coordination to do "reeling silk" or any of that. You're trying to use the fact that most people don't know much about these things to pull of your theory... sort of like the techno-babble about "quantum theory" people interject for "ki"... and it simply doesn't work. If you want to say, "I have this theory that....". Fine. Don't assert if that's all you can do.

Regards.

Mike
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:12 PM   #1328
statisticool
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Children don't have full reasoning abilities when they're toddlers and children don't have fully developed brains, nervous systems, and muscular coordination to do "reeling silk" or any of that.
At what age, do you conclude based on your extensive scientific research, do children make the transition to adult that they are capable of doing these amazing things?

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:20 PM   #1329
Upyu
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Re: Baseline skillset

Actually that brings up a good point...

A lot of kids in CMA are pushed towards doing Shaolin, Lost track and other foundational boxing methods when they're young. Not the internal stuff. I remember hearing all sorts of vague references to their "Chi" being disrupted etc if they were to commence hard core internal training at an early age, but what I think it boils down to is that the body isn't physically ready yet to undergo the kind of training that IMA requires.
Which is why you see so many of the country side kids focusing on just the rote movements in the beginning with a focus on stretching the kua(crotch area) out as well as strengthening the legs in preparation for the training that comes later on...

Mike, comments??

I don't know of any similar paradigm in the JMA tradition though, is someone knows something, it might be interesting to comment on.
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:52 PM   #1330
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Robert John wrote: View Post
Actually that brings up a good point...

A lot of kids in CMA are pushed towards doing Shaolin, Lost track and other foundational boxing methods when they're young. Not the internal stuff. I remember hearing all sorts of vague references to their "Chi" being disrupted etc if they were to commence hard core internal training at an early age, but what I think it boils down to is that the body isn't physically ready yet to undergo the kind of training that IMA requires.
Which is why you see so many of the country side kids focusing on just the rote movements in the beginning with a focus on stretching the kua(crotch area) out as well as strengthening the legs in preparation for the training that comes later on...

Mike, comments??

I don't know of any similar paradigm in the JMA tradition though, is someone knows something, it might be interesting to comment on.
Well, regardless of Chinese or Japanese martial arts, they both used the same yin-yang and ki/qi paradigm in the old days to explain how things worked.

The suggestion that babies move "naturally" at a very young age goes to the "pre-birth" strength versus "post-birth" strength dichotomy (everything is always a dichotomy).

A foetus has "pre-birth" strength and the idea is that after birth it quickly loses that primal ability in man, although many animals are said to retain this "pre-birth" or "earlier heaven" strength. "Proof" that foetuses are naturally endowed with the natural ki flows along the meridians is seen by the fact that foetuses are curved over with the Yang energy going up the back and the yin energy pulling down the front. This is how jin works with the Ki of Heaven and Ki of Earth flowing through the body, too, so it must be natural, right? And babies grip softly but so strongly, right? (Unfortunately, I've seen that theory shot to hell by a number of doctors, etc., so it's really not very convincing in terms of kinesiology).

The problem is that the particular aspect of "natural" that I just described has got nothing to do with someone having whole-body movement that is connected via the fascia/ki and actively moved by the dantien. That must be learned and it takes a lot of time to develop the coordination. It's just simply a misuse of the "natural" term to suggest that an infant has the "pulling silk" or "reeling silk" (even worse) as part of its "natural" movement.

Anyway, my 2 cents worth.

Mike
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:57 PM   #1331
HL1978
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote: View Post
I wish some qi/pengjin guru would step up and post a video of this 'low level' stuff that has been kept secret from Westerners who couldn't figure out the correct way to practice in a million years.

It would set aikido, taijiquan, and all other internal martial arts learning ahead by decades!
Justin, I believe you live right outside DC in northern virginia? I am out in Fairfax and know of other people in the area, who meet up and train on a regular basis in these skills (I had the opportunity to meet a few when Mike and Rob were in town). If you are interested, I am sure they would be willing to meet with you (there are a couple groups around DC/MD and in NoVa). I would be happy to show you some of the aunkai exercises (in a completly non-confrontational manner, I have a couple people who practice them with me twice a week in Fairfax and are all very friendly guys who aren't out to prove anything), and hopefully clarify some of what Mike, Rob and others are referring too. If it is easier we can meet sometime in the evening after work at a local park/rec center/public place.

I am not a great example of what these skills are like, but I can demonstrate them to a very minor extent, and if you can't really feel the difference, I'd be happy to buy you a beer afterwards.

Perhaps then some of the videos which are available on youtube might make a bit more sense? As everyone else here says, you really need to see/feel it in person.

Regards,

Hunter

Last edited by HL1978 : 07-09-2007 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 07-09-2007, 09:21 PM   #1332
David Orange
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
David, Mochizuki was remarkable, and I am not saying that his statement reflects that HE had a limited understanding of kiaijutsu. But he did choose to give you a very limited definition, one that is, in fact, rife in aikido circles.
I've just never heard anyone else express it that way. Of course, I don't pretend to have studied very widely--just with Mochizuki Sensei and his students.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
If we postulate that he was as knowlegeable as the best, then I'm curious why he chose to give you the definition he did.
I think it's the purest definition of aiki, in a way.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
You are simply incorrect that the Araki-ryu formulation of kiai (which is only one unique example) is the "omote of human life" with aiki as the ura. The "ura of everything"??????
That's simply an assertion, that illustrates limited to no understanding of what such a ryu meant by kiai.
I'm not saying anything about what Araki-ryu or any other meant by kiai. I believe that what you describe are esoteric refinements of something that is very fundamental to human nature. Of course, most everyone associates kiai with a shout, but I consider the shout to be a side-effect and not always present. I read your recent article on kiaijutsu and had no complaint with that. But I believe that in essence, kiai and aiki are analogous to yin and yang, aiki being the yin of the two, and kiai being the more obviously accessible to natural human observation.

It's much easier to see the effectiveness of the yang and kiai attitude. It's easier to see strength and big action than it is to observe silence--or more appropriately, listening.

That's why I say the "Almost everything in human life is basically "kiai" oriented."

Everyone can see the primal energy of action, so everyone works toward power and the mighty shout. This natural tendency is so strong and reliable that military training is based on it. I recently saw a young man's commemorative DVD of his unit's basic training in the Army and the training is tailored to cultivate natural human tendencies in the outward kiai fashion. And aiki (at least aikido) is tailored to work with the ura of all those natural human efforts.

So I say that kiai is the omote of human life--not that Araki-ryu says it.

And that is why I say that aiki is the ura of all of that--the ura of everything.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
By bringing up Sugino and Mochizuki's sword, you are apparently saying that, unlike my assertion of getting a transmission in which vital information was probably lost, you are claiming that they each got the entire transmission of TSKSR, all generations' knowledge intact.
Well, I did rather have that impression of their training. I do think that they got the best that could be gotten from that art at that time.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Implicitly, you are saying that the proof of this is that you have the eyes to see such perfection in classical kenjutsu.
Sorry if I gave that impression.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
I knew Sugino and he invited me, on several occasions, to join his dojo. I tactfully refused because, although an estimable man, with a great history of judo, some real skills at aikido (which I saw) and skill at his version of TSKSR, the flaws in his version of the latter were also manifest.
Not that he didn't have flaws, but I found him admirable.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
To give just one example, he always telegraphed his cuts with weapons by thrusting out his chin, which also "broke the line" of his physical organization, tensing his upper back muscles, and leading him to lock his elbows and cut with the arms extended away from his body. Unlike the best practitioners of the mainline, who were just as fast or faster, his way of cutting therefore lacked power, and locked him into moves making it hard to respond omni-directionally to counterattack.
I can't say I would have spotted that if I had watched him more. I didn't see him often and never trained with him. I know that he and Mochizuki Sesei often argued, sometimes heatedly, over matters of the sword.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
I'm also familiar with the justly-called mainline of TSKSR of Isaza and Otake, and have observed multiple practices at both the Sugino and Otake dojos. I've also seen the two groups demonstrate more-or-less side-by-side at various shrines. I've also seen a video of Mochizuki in 1951 doing TSKSR and then viewed it with a menkyo of the school, who critqued all the ways that it "no longer was TSKSR," because of what he either left out or was doing differently.
I have heard that Mochizuki Sensei's practice was often criticized by TSKSR masters. I know that he mad numerous modifications. But you have clearly learned much more about it than I.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
In short, my point regarding your knowlege of kiai is illustrated in your assertion that you can see that Sugino and Mochizuki "conveyed every drop that were to be had in that art."
Well, you have convinced me on TSKSR, but Mochizuki Sensei did have a powerful grasp of kiai and he didn't speak shallowly of it or think shallowly about it. He didn't discuss the esoteric levels you have referred to, but your descriptions don't imply any necessary departure from the basic nature of kiai as the ura of aiki.

Thanks.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 07-09-2007, 09:33 PM   #1333
David Orange
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Re: Baseline skillset

"Balderdash. You're arguing by assertion again," Mike Sigman asserted with an exclamation mark!

Get it, Mike? That is your assertion and it does nothing to refute the substance of my statements.

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Children don't have full reasoning abilities when they're toddlers and children don't have fully developed brains, nervous systems, and muscular coordination to do "reeling silk" or any of that.
No, not "fully developed and refined" silk reeling or any of that. Neither does a fully-grown adult who starts lessons. For any living person, those skills are refined in a process that takes time. So what? The child moves exactly as you described: "pull back with your body (not your arm or hand) ...[as if] your arm and hand are nothing more than a towel or piece of cloth...move your torso backward slowly until you can feel the stretch in your fingers, hand, arm, shoulder, and across your back..."

That's exactly how my toddler pulls away from me when he doesn't want me to pick him up. He doesn't isolate his arm and just pull with his arm. He uses his whole body and I can see and feel him doing it just as you describe there. That's not assertion, that is close observation. Care to relate any of the close observations you made of your own children?

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
You're trying to use the fact that most people don't know much about these things to pull of your theory...
au contraire, King Louis. I'm using the words of the most learned master among us to prove my statements true. The point is that if we start with what people naturally do, it will be easier to refine it to its highest potential.

Thanks.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 07-09-2007, 09:47 PM   #1334
David Orange
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
The problem is that the particular aspect of "natural" that I just described has got nothing to do with someone having whole-body movement that is connected via the fascia/ki and actively moved by the dantien.
It also has nothing to do with anything I mentioned. What I described is a toddler's natural use of whole-body movement connected by the fascia and actively moved by the dantien. And that's why I have always replied that "relaxation" is not what makes toddler movement the root of aiki. They use strength and their whole day tends to be extensive experimentation with adjustment to gravity and exertion of effort to achieve goals. I find my two-year-old standing with one foot each on two bottles of apple juice, working at something on top of the table and you tell me he doesn't have coordination and intent? Children have both. They simply need refinement: but they're more perfectly refined than most twenty-year-olds who have learned twenty years of "might makes right" and developed external strength because it appears to be the winning hand.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
That must be learned and it takes a lot of time to develop the coordination. It's just simply a misuse of the "natural" term to suggest that an infant has the "pulling silk" or "reeling silk" (even worse) as part of its "natural" movement.
It's the most correct use of the term "natural" to watch what children really do and can do instead of blanking over that reality with your own preconceived notion.

In "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," the author shows examples of how most people draw with "symbols". The have a "symbol" for "eye" or for "nose" in their minds and when you ask them to draw a face, they don't draw what they see, but make an oval for the face and put a "nose" symbol and two "eye" symbols in the oval, some "ear" symbols and a "mouth" symbol and they come out with a goofy drawing that looks nothing like the subject.

Your assertions of what children can and cannot do or how they think or act does not come from what they really do but from your mental "symbols" of what they can do. Watch before you assert, huh?

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 07-09-2007, 10:33 PM   #1335
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Baseline skillset

David - Araki-ryu uses the five elements as a schema the same way it is used in China - although the way they use it is different in detail, given the different parameters of combat and movement that they were focused on. And one thing about the five elements, they are also broken down as variations of yin-yang. (As are the eight trigrams, btw). The five aspects are yang internal and yang external, yang external and yin internal, yin external with yang internal, yin internal and external, and something else as the fifth - yin "rising again" to yin. If you will, kiai or aiki means "a particular organization of ki." You can see each of these five aspects in the classic yin-yang sign (the fifth is the line between the two symbols), where there is a "dot" of the other color in each half (think of two fish with an eye). The formulation you suggest with kiai as yang and aiki as yin is similar to the type of yin-yang you seen on the Korean flag, two solid fish with no "eyes." So if you make kiai and aiki synonymous with yin and yang - which is not their classical usage, the understanding being that each tinctures the other to varying degrees - you have a much simpler formulation of reality. I'm not saying it's wrong - but I'm saying it does not reflect the interplay of "energy" - "force dynamics" - however you want to call it - that is inherent in discussion of internal training (ki/kyoku) and kiai (the additional aspect of manipulation and control of the other.

Best
Ellis Amdur

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Old 07-09-2007, 10:39 PM   #1336
David Orange
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
I have always replied that "relaxation" is not what makes toddler movement the root of aiki. They use strength and their whole day tends to be extensive experimentation with adjustment to gravity and exertion of effort to achieve goals. I find my two-year-old standing with one foot each on two bottles of apple juice, working at something on top of the table and you tell me he doesn't have coordination and intent? Children have both.
Here, at age 18 months, my baby hangs from the lawnmower handle as I cut the grass. Note how he uses his arms.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJIpFObblGs

Here, at age 23 months or so, he has climbed up on top of two bottles of apple juice. Note how he manipulates the bottles with his feet when they start to tip. He doesn't even look down but handles it while he is busy looking at something on the table and using his arms and hands. That's total body coordination. And his control of his lines of gravity look like peng jin to me:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHPLKk99cmQ

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 07-09-2007, 10:53 PM   #1337
David Orange
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
David - Araki-ryu uses the five elements as a schema the same way it is used in China - although the way they use it is different in detail, given the different parameters of combat and movement that they were focused on.
I was fascinated by your description of this in your article. I have read that the old generals studied I Ching and Sun Tzu but I haven't seen such a detailed example of how those Chinese ideas carried over into a thing like kiai. I have seen them applied to accupuncture and shiatsu, though both of those are obviously sourced in China.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
And one thing about the five elements, they are also broken down as variations of yin-yang. (As are the eight trigrams, btw). The five aspects are yang internal and yang external, yang external and yin internal, yin external with yang internal, yin internal and external, and something else as the fifth - yin "rising again" to yin.
That's something I'd like to hear more about.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
The formulation you suggest with kiai as yang and aiki as yin is similar to the type of yin-yang you seen on the Korean flag, two solid fish with no "eyes." So if you make kiai and aiki synonymous with yin and yang - which is not their classical usage, the understanding being that each tinctures the other to varying degrees - you have a much simpler formulation of reality.
I only understand yin and yang with the eyes--as parts of a whole, which aiki and kiai would be--omote and ura. Mochizuki Sensei made a kata called "hyori no kata" or "omote/ura kata". Every attack had an ura, which led into a counter technique--which had its own ura and led into a counter-counter technique, which had its own ura, and allowed yet another counter technique. A fantastic kata. He meant, by that kata, that aiki and kiai are in constant interchange, which is like yin and yang--when considered as parts of a whole. Mochizuki Sensei did sometimes use the Star of David—upright and inverted triangles united—as another symbol of yin and yang.

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
I'm not saying it's wrong - but I'm saying it does not reflect the interplay of "energy" - "force dynamics" - however you want to call it - that is inherent in discussion of internal training (ki/kyoku) and kiai (the additional aspect of manipulation and control of the other.
I hope these comments made that clearer. I think I understand your point. But we have many examples of kiai, even silent, being able to stop or control someone at a distance. And we have Takeda's statement that aiki overcomes the opponent mentally at a glance. Peas in a pod, hand in a glove...it seems to me that kiai and aiki must go together and that the nature is that aiki follows and clings to kiai.

Thanks.

David

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

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 07-10-2007, 07:02 AM   #1338
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
"Balderdash. You're arguing by assertion again," Mike Sigman asserted with an exclamation mark!

Get it, Mike? That is your assertion and it does nothing to refute the substance of my statements.
What you're implying is that if you make a statement I'm obligated to prove that it's not so. I.e., suggesting that I'm supposed to prove a negative. That's childish, David. Part of the "big boys forums" I mentioned to Dan.... no one plays those kinds of games in a legitimate discussion.
Quote:
No, not "fully developed and refined" silk reeling or any of that. Neither does a fully-grown adult who starts lessons. For any living person, those skills are refined in a process that takes time. So what? The child moves exactly as you described: "pull back with your body (not your arm or hand) ...[as if] your arm and hand are nothing more than a towel or piece of cloth...move your torso backward slowly until you can feel the stretch in your fingers, hand, arm, shoulder, and across your back..."
David I made a caveat indicating that sometimes child will do things like that. But that's not the essence of the way they move. What happens is that yes, sometimes babies move like or in ways that resemble what you're talking about, but the part you glibly leave out is that many/most of their movements are not like that at all and are isolated and inefficient movements. You want to make your case on one type of observed movement while glossing over the fact that that's not what always happens. If you're not honest enough to mention something that obvious, why should we prolong the discussion?

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 07-10-2007, 07:45 AM   #1339
David Orange
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
What you're implying is that if you make a statement I'm obligated to prove that it's not so. I.e., suggesting that I'm supposed to prove a negative. That's childish, David. Part of the "big boys forums" I mentioned to Dan.... no one plays those kinds of games in a legitimate discussion.
.......what's that???? What????

Can't hear anything of substance.....some vague buzzing.....noise....sounds like an empty assertion, maybe.....sounds like the same repetitive noise I've been hearing from that direction for months, now........

Guess it's nothing.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
David I made a caveat indicating that sometimes child will do things like that. But that's not the essence of the way they move.
And sometimes lightning strikes in nature. But that's not the essence of weather. We discovered electricity in nature. Aiki is also hidden in plain sight, playing at our feet if we're not too big to notice it.

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
What happens is that yes, sometimes babies move like or in ways that resemble what you're talking about, but the part you glibly leave out is that many/most of their movements are not like that at all and are isolated and inefficient movements.
As most weather is not lightning. But I didn't say that all children's movement is pure aiki. I said aiki can be observed in children's movement and that that is where jujutsu masters, already adept at fighting, joint locks, etc., recognized the tremendous power of acting against the ura of a larger opponent's strength--that there are points where the strength turns to weakness and that children naturally find those directions and positions and exploit them.

Children are the ura of adults.

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You want to make your case on one type of observed movement while glossing over the fact that that's not what always happens.
I've given examples of many kinds of toddler movement that illustrate aiki, peng jin, fascial connection, coordination, intent--all separate illustrations through specific actions. It's far less important that it doesn't always happen. The important thing is that, if we watch, we will see virtually all children naturally demonstrate some pretty fantastic things. Then, recognizing when and how they do that, we can cultivate those things before they are erased by the overwhelming societal focus on strength and mundane standardized movement.

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
If you're not honest enough to mention something that obvious, why should we prolong the discussion?
Maybe because you know that each time you try to shoot it down, it keeps on flying....and maybe I'm not the one being dishonest.

Best to you.

David

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Old 07-10-2007, 07:55 AM   #1340
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Ah.... so now we're down to "aiki can be observed in toddler's movements", but you agree it's not what happens full time. OK, in that case, let me regale the list for a few months about how aiki can sometimes be observed in pet chihuahua's movements, if that's the case. Granted they don't always do it, but they're cute and cuddly and the chihuahua discussion could probable go on as meaningfully as the toddler discussion for a great many months.

Of course, if that gets tiresome, you can use one of your silent kiai's from a distance and halt me.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Last edited by Mike Sigman : 07-10-2007 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:17 AM   #1341
David Orange
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Ah.... so now we're down to "aiki can be observed in toddler's movements", but you agree it's not what happens full time.
No, Mike: that's where we started. Go back and read the Aikido Journal blog: it's what I've said from the beginning and in virtually everything I've ever posted on the subject.

This is more evidence that you don't read what people post but simply skim for key words you can rail against, rendering your opinions shaky on every subject because that's also how you interpret the writings of the masters: you see a word and you draw a conclusion.....very shaky, dude.

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
OK, in that case, let me regale the list for a few months about how aiki can sometimes be observed in pet chihuahua's movements, if that's the case. Granted they don't always do it, but they're cute and cuddly and the chihuahua discussion could probable go on as meaningfully as the toddler discussion for a great many months.
Patrick Auge used to talk about how dogs never fight straight-on but always circle around each other and, even when engaged in the fight, the "roll" around the other dog's jaws to get to the side of his neck.

Why would it be surprising that animals express nature, Mike? A cat can generate enough static electricity to give you a jolt. And you can see lots of aiki and kiai in those funny videos of kittens.

But the useful part for human purposes is that human children also display these abilities and that it's better to cultivate what they have in nature than to try to force something artificial on them as "second nature".

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Of course, if that gets tiresome, you can use one of your silent kiai's from a distance and halt me.
No, it's more entertaining to watch you tie yourself up in contradictions. Please go on.

David

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Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

www.davidorangejr.com
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:31 AM   #1342
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

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David Orange wrote: View Post
Why would it be surprising that animals express nature, Mike? A cat can generate enough static electricity to give you a jolt. And you can see lots of aiki and kiai in those funny videos of kittens.

But the useful part for human purposes is that human children also display these abilities and that it's better to cultivate what they have in nature than to try to force something artificial on them as "second nature".
Chinese and Japanese martial arts are fraught with borrowings from the animal world: white crane, tiger, eagle, snake, chicken, duck, bear, fish (there's even a "fish fist" style), and so on. However, your contention was about "pulling silk" and that children do it. They can't. It takes coordination, not natural/instinctive movement. You have a disconnect built around the mistaken idea of what "natural" means: "natural movement" is not the same thing as "instinctive movement", but you seem to miss that point repeatedly. "Natural" has to do with "following the natural laws of the universe".... that's why O-Sensei mentioned "harmony with the universe". He didn't mean instinctive behavior and he didn't mean you have to talk nicey-nice to everyone (his temper was famous) in order to "be in harmony".

FWIW

Mike
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:04 AM   #1343
David Orange
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Re: Baseline skillset

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...your contention was about "pulling silk" and that children do it.
No, my contention was that my children (and others) have moved and generally tend to move as you described in your description of silk pulling. They do aiki, but it doesn't rise to the refined level of aiki-"do". They use fascial connection, but not the specifically refined methods of silk pulling and reeling. But they're closer to these things than most adults.

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
You have a disconnect built around the mistaken idea of what "natural" means: "natural movement" is not the same thing as "instinctive movement", but you seem to miss that point repeatedly.
No, you miss the point by trying to reframe my statements to fit the mistake you want me to be making. And that's your mistake.

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
"Natural" has to do with "following the natural laws of the universe".... that's why O-Sensei mentioned "harmony with the universe". He didn't mean instinctive behavior and he didn't mean you have to talk nicey-nice to everyone (his temper was famous) in order to "be in harmony".
Yes. I think Tohei specifically said he was "child-like". Or maybe Stan Pranin translated it that way because the behavior Tohei described might be better called "childish."

Why do I feel that this does not help any of your arguments?

Fish follow the natural laws of the universe from birth. So do dogs, cats, horses, the wind, waves, sunlight and everything else in nature. The only thing unnatural about humans is that we reject nature and try to replac it with something "better." The only way to improve on nature is to "culitvate" it. And that means "develop what is there," not replace it.

David

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

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Old 07-10-2007, 09:19 AM   #1344
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

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No, my contention was that my children (and others) have moved and generally tend to move as you described in your description of silk pulling. They do aiki, but it doesn't rise to the refined level of aiki-"do". They use fascial connection, but not the specifically refined methods of silk pulling and reeling. But they're closer to these things than most adults.
I thought your thesis was that Aiki came from children's movements? If the movement is just "close to", that's not the same thing, David.
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The only thing unnatural about humans is that we reject nature and try to replac it with something "better." The only way to improve on nature is to "culitvate" it. And that means "develop what is there," not replace it.
Again, you're looking at instinctive behavior as the definition of "natural" that gets so confused by westerners. But that's a natural mistake.

Mike
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:23 AM   #1345
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Baseline skillset

I do wonder how, in cultures where people (notably, women and girls) carry enormous loads on their heads or with tump lines, how they come to understand the "correct" structure that allows them to do so. Maybe what is needed to learn something "intuitively" is some outside stimulus, such as the introduction of a heavy load, which one could say is not "natural" -- after all, it's not part of the person's body, but a temporary attachment.

A child with no such stimulus would have no reason to "intuit" anything other than the bio-mechanations needed for unaided movement, etc. But one given a load might eventually figure out how to stucture himself to bear it efficiently.

I don't know whether adults in agricultural/pastoral, non-industrial cultures actively teach their children how to load-bear. The many times I was in Nepal and India, I saw young (often -very- young) girls carrying heavy bundles of firewood using a tump line over the forehead, but I never saw an adult teaching them how to shift their body structure, or any such lesson. It's the sort of thing you can't really learn from watching someone, and no one seems to have documented whether there is any way that this is actively taught, so I'd have to assume that children "teach" themselves.

Necessity being the mother of invention, maybe it is the necessary presence of a stimulus, as I'd posited, that forces the person to adjust her body and to wire it by trial and error. Those of us sitting at computers are so far removed from a life in which the body must be used as a machine to do work daily, that perhaps we simply can't imagine such things.
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:39 AM   #1346
David Orange
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
I thought your thesis was that Aiki came from children's movements?
Well, the key there is "Mike thought" which came from Mike's skimming of other people's written comments. It's all written and most of our back-and-forth would have been avoided if you had carefully read instead of just looking for key words to resist.

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
If the movement is just "close to", that's not the same thing, David.
No, the movement is aiki. It's small and is similar to Franklin's recognition that tiny sparks from static electricity are the same energy as lightning from the sky and that, knowing its nature, we can harness it. Much as I said for children's movement: people already familiar with fighting recognized the tiny spark in children's movement as something that could be capitalized on in the adult realm.

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Again, you're looking at instinctive behavior as the definition of "natural" that gets so confused by westerners.
It's instinctive if it's somewhat inventive. It's natural if it follows the nature of the being that's doing it. We have bones, muscles and fascia and we are built to stand upright. So the primary functions, such as using the fascia are innate in children. That's very different from "instinctive." It's natural.

David

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Old 07-10-2007, 09:39 AM   #1347
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Re: Baseline skillset

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I don't know whether adults in agricultural/pastoral, non-industrial cultures actively teach their children how to load-bear.
I don't either, Cady, but it's a good question and I've wondered about it before. I suspect there's verbal and subliminal correction, not to mention trial and error... but I don't know for sure. Doing a quick thought-puzzle about adopting a child from rural Nepal (was that redundant?) and raising them from infancy in the US, can we imagine that child automatically handling a load with a good groundpath? I can't, so I *assume* there some element of training involved and not much more. I could be wrong, though (as my wife and mother often mention).

Best.

Mike
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:44 AM   #1348
David Orange
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
...in Nepal and India, I saw young (often -very- young) girls carrying heavy bundles of firewood using a tump line over the forehead, but I never saw an adult teaching them how to shift their body structure, or any such lesson. It's the sort of thing you can't really learn from watching someone, and no one seems to have documented whether there is any way that this is actively taught, so I'd have to assume that children "teach" themselves.
Children's lives are a continual process of experimentation which only ends, in fact, when someone "teaches" them "the right way" to do it and enforces their doing it that way.

I certainly didn't teach my 18-month-old to stand on two bottles of apple juice and work with his hands and eyes on something on a table top. And I couldn't have taught him the little adjustments he made not only to keep himself from falling when one bottle shifted, but to correct the falling bottle with his foot without even glancing down at it.

This level of learning is ignorantly overlooked and it's something that Feldenkrais is great about pointint out.

Best wishes.

David

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

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Old 07-10-2007, 09:53 AM   #1349
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Baseline skillset

Mike,
The model of the Nepalese child raised in America echoes my question and point -- that it is the daily exposure to such a physical task as load-bearing that forces individuals, perhaps by trial and error, to discover for themselves the ground path. Growing up in a culture where no such responsibility is present means not having the stimulus needed to make oneself learn. Again, necessity being the mother of invention.

Similarly, innovative ways to use the body to "solve a problem" seem to pop up in settings where a specific problem is offered. F'rinstance, I've noticed commuters on the subways in Boston who have learned how to shift with the lurching subway cars, and so are able to maintain their balance in situations where you'd expect they'd be thrown to the floor or sides of the car. These people are able to stand in a crowded train without holding a germy sidebar (my guess is that's why they would rather risk the lurching car!). No one taught them how to "subway surf" -- they wired themselves. Hey, I used to do it myself when I worked in the city, and the first dozen times I ended up having to grab a bar... but eventually even I wired myself to "surf."

I live in an area where fishing is still a regional industry. Often, I see lobstermen pulling up pots, fishermen hauling lines and nets, and shoremen lugging huge, heavy hoses to wash down the docks. The experienced ones are not pulling from the shoulders or depending on muscle. Did someone teach them this, or did they figure it out intuitively through constant body use?

Someone had to be the first to discover "silk reeling" or winding. My hunch is that it came from some homely activity such as net hauling, or heavy skein-winding, and not from martial roots, but was later applied by some bright mind who saw the usefulness. Maybe they were able to break down the process into excercises that could be orally transmitted. But my guess is that for the other uses of these body mechanics, the discovery was an intuitive one, again, spurred by the -need- to use the body in an efficient way to accomplish a specific task.

It is an interesting question, and one I've been pondering lately.
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Old 07-10-2007, 10:44 AM   #1350
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Re: Baseline skillset

I'm tracking with Cady here. I saw an episode on "Dirty Jobs" where they were filming the crew on a lobster boat. Mike Rowe did his thing for a bit and soon realized how inept he was, stepped off to the side and let the boys work. They were brothers I believe but it was pure poetry in motion. Every movement was synchronized and no movement wasted. I mentioned before in this thread how we farm boys learned to toss very heavy bales about, almost effortlessly. We were never "taught" these skills. We acquired them through repetition of movement and self correction. Interestingly, the value of these skills were not realized until after a few days of complete and total exhaustion from trying to muscle hay bales around. Once our bodies were completely worn out we would learn the body skills required to make our movements more efficient. Hell, I remember a guy with a steel rod in his back, who because he couldn't bend over, utilized a pitchfork to throw bales of hay high in the air. If you haven't tried handling a bale of hay with a pitchfork, you should try it sometime. I also remember a friend's father, who had lost an arm in a hunting accident, perform absolutely amazing feats. Who taught them how to do those things? The unique skills acquired were largley self taught.
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