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Old 01-19-2007, 08:01 AM   #126
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Baseline skillset

I'd have to second Raul's statement. I've seen this type of waza in 2 vastly different styles of aikido...in the yoshinkan, and in the descendants of Yamaguchi Sensei.

Best,
Ron

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Old 01-19-2007, 08:14 AM   #127
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Baseline skillset

By the way, I found the statement I made where I used the word "problematic".

Quote:
I agree (for the most part) with Erick's assesment of the forward movement, focus and weight that is a basic for Yoshinkan. Mixing that approach with some of the specifics that Mike gives is somewhat problematic...but to suggest that a difference in which foot you weight negates the connection between the skill sets is kind of silly, in my opinion. There are styles of aikido that are very powerfull that don't focus the weight in the same manner as in the Yoshinkan.
So to be clear...I do not find the use of "resistance" in tanren, or forging of the body, to be problematic. What is problematic, is finding out how to use *some* of the methods Mike describes while maintaining *some* of the basics in the Yoshinkan stance and methodology. In all of the yoshinkan basic movements, for instance, the weight is forward. If you select a tanren method that keeps the weight generally back, you may find it difficult to bring that kind of movement into your waza at *first*. But in my opinion, it doesn't really matter in the long run. Sufficient development of the skill set will over come such minor points, and Mike did specifically address methods to move the skill set to either foot, or even shizentai.

Best,
Ron (at least that's what I've decided for now)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 01-19-2007, 08:18 AM   #128
raul rodrigo
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I'd have to second Raul's statement. I've seen this type of waza in 2 vastly different styles of aikido...in the yoshinkan, and in the descendants of Yamaguchi Sensei.

Best,
Ron
It was precisely the similarity between Shioda's approach to kokyu (which we can see on YouTube and in Total Aikido) and the exercises that we got from Nakao shihan, a Yamaguchi man through and through, that led me to think that there was something here worth exploring. If two men so different in orientation arrive at a similar place, it makes you wonder whether in their overlap lies something very important.

And since Erick has cited both Chiba and Saotome's ASU as his influences, it should also be noted that both Chiba and Saotome cite Yamaguchi as an important influence on them. Different roads seem to be converging on a single spot. Which is what Ikeda and others are apparently saying.
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Old 01-19-2007, 08:20 AM   #129
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:
I think it would be worthwhile noting that the baseline skills under discussion are basic body mechanics which are common to a number of SE Asian MAs.
I don't think we necessarily disagree, but there a forms of these arts that do rely on resistance, which is fine for them, but not good for aikido training. I do not seen any resistance whatsoever in the old gentleman's demonstration.
Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:
IMO, any discussion relating to principles, techniques, or tactics, i.e. irimi/tenkan, ki musubi, non-resistance, rotational dynamics etc. etc. is way off-base and is completely unproductive to the discussion.
When I began reading some while back of "six-direction springs" and other such mechnical nonsense, I had no choice but to object on mechanical grounds. As training metaphor -- no problem, but there is in fact mechanical interpretation that does make sense. Each way of observing and analyzing body mechanics has its place.

But more people here in the West have access to a simple college physics text that they do to serious works on yiquan, bagua or any other of the revered forms of related movement study in China, much less the thorough understanding of the nature of the underlying knowledge that they use to describe and anlyze their concepts.
Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:
BTW, Here's a much better video demo of bounce jin - I believe they are the same baseline skills currently under discussion, ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZdtM...elated&search=
Very grateful, Ignatius. Wonderful clip. I note two things.

One, toward the end he clearly exhibits that one should NOT shift weight to that back leg in response to the push (and repeatedly shows the adverse vertical body rotation that this creates). He demonstrates forward weight (in irimi) with extension (as Shioda points out). He does the same with the slight corner drop on his less elderly companion in grey. On the younger fellow. he extends that irimi in one arm and the tenkan kokyu motion of the other arm displaces the force around and away from his center, and not bearing that force to his center and then to the ground. His hip motion is barely evident, which one would expect with this degree of integrated motion.

Kokyu tanden ho. I have routinely done, in various places, the seated version of this where the arms are reversed, high to low, but the same precise dynamic is occuring. In fact, the old gentleman in the clip initally sets up in that familiar configuration and then changes as though to illustrate something.

Two, when the two younger men take both arms, he displaces them by entering forward, between them -- his chest plainly comes forward, (toe-weighted again). He then sweeps them away, out and down with both arms like parting tall weeds he is walking through. He never directly pushes back. Again irimi/tenkan priniciple is evident -- the same basic motion is used in ryotedori kokyunage, although nage gnerally chooses one side or the other and then steps though to kneel and perform the throw.

Like Saito Shihan said. "Not magic -- physics." OK, clever physics, maybe.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-19-2007, 08:23 AM   #130
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Baseline skillset

It should be noted Raul, that Ikeda Sensei and Utada Sensei now instruct at each other's dojo. That is an ASU instructor in the Aikikai, and a Yoshinkan instructor. If that is not convergence, I don't know what is.

And Nakao Sensei is the one from the Yamaguchi lineage that did the Shioda "bounce" to me from ryokatamochi.

Best,
Ron
Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
It was precisely the similarity between Shioda's approach to kokyu (which we can see on YouTube and in Total Aikido) and the exercises that we got from Nakao shihan, a Yamaguchi man through and through, that led me to think that there was something here worth exploring. If two men so different in orientation arrive at a similar place, it makes you wonder whether in their overlap lies something very important.

And since Erick has cited both Chiba and Saotome's ASU as his influences, it should also be noted that both Chiba and Saotome cite Yamaguchi as an important influence on them. Different roads seem to be converging on a single spot. Which is what Ikeda and others are apparently saying.

Ron Tisdale
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Old 01-19-2007, 08:26 AM   #131
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
I have only ever wanted Mike to explain how to reconcile force resistance inherent in "bouncing" energy off the ground with aikido's inherent prinicple of non-resistance.

You do what you train to do. Training for resistance in Aikido is antithetical to its fundamental purpose and prinicples. That does not mean there is no force involved in the interaction.

I have personally struggled to eliminate my native resistance, at first veering toward sheer avoidance of force, wrongly, as Mike properly criticizes in some aikido training that is out there (but wrongly assumes that I do) to, finally, connected non-resistance, which has been my considered model of training since I left Hawaii. I blame it on the beer after practice.

Shioda's chosen kihon dosa, in my limited understanding, have that precise point, that these principles are in the waza. The care in performance of the shape of kihon waza in Iwama practice which I know far better, was of a similar vein. There are two routes available to you without resisting his force. You can also just as easily send the force of uke on a path to Heaven as to Earth and that energy is equally spent in the process. The kihon of the various systems all have these principles within them, if one is mindful and attentive to what is happening when you do them.

A wave is a translated rotation (irimi/tenkan).

Ever watch two dissimilar sized waves intersect in opposite directions? The smaller wave peak causes the larger wave peak to rise upward (ten) and break prematurely, while the smaller wave disappears from view for a moment and then passes on through hardly disturbed.

There is the visual sense of some sort of rebound force that "forces" the larger wave to suddenly rise up and break (like it had been "bounced" off the planet). And notably this occurs when the smaller wave is. momentarily, no longer apparent. But it is not a resistant spring rebounding from one against the other. It is really a joining of inherent form and energy together. The substance of the two waves are literally identical (ki-musubi) at the time of intersection, only their forms of motion are differnent.

Even though they are opposed in direction -- irimi/ tenkan principles allow the smaller to so exalt the greater that it moves beyond its capacity to maintain control. This sort of interaction is done all the time in kokyu tanden ho exercise.

Conversely, if the trough of the smaller wave hits the peak of the larger as it begins to break (attack), the peak of the larger wave drops down (chi=earth) and the incipient break or attack is snuffed out almost instantly, like it fell into a hole in the earth. Its energy evaporates upon contact. Both waves are resting their weight on the earth -- neither one is crushing the other by resisting against the supporting earth.

Do both -- ten-chi -- at the appropriate time. Neither one is resistant.

Mike is focussed on the ground, and in a mode of weight bearing different (i.e.- resistant) than that suggested by Shioda's explanation of chushin principle by centering on the big toe. Ground is not the only principle in play, nor do its uses require training that involves resistance to force.
Eric,
This very much sounds to me as if you have defined Aikido only by its aspect of redirection of the force applied by the attacker. But that aspect alone is incomplete.

There are really three aspects that combine to make up our art. First is the aspect of accepting, joining with and redirecting the force of the partner / attacker. The second aspect is developing ones own power and being able to transfer it to the partner / attacker in a way that does not collide with their structure. But the third aspect is taking ones own power and applying it to the attacker in a way that it does hit the structure. This is the basis for atemi waza.

It practice, obviously one cannot do this to ones partner. So what you have is methods of practicing the energetics without any injury to ones partner. Hence, these "bouncing" type techniques. O-Sensei did them, Shioda was famous for them. Shioda once knocked a guy out when he grabbed Shioda Sensei's shoulders from behind. These are demonstrations of the power available for atemi in a real confrontation. Saotome Sensei does these kinds of tecniques frequently. He can shoot me back about five feet when I grab him with a pulse like this. He is totally relaxed when he does it. In no way is this a form of resistance, it wouldn't work if it were "resistant". But it isn't martial application either. It is a demonstration of the power done in such a way that it doesn't injure the partner. That same power applied in a martial application would be a fight ender.

I find that folks tend to get attached to one aspect or another of the art. This is usually based on what their notions of the philosophical underpinnings of the art would be. Folks really into the peace and conflict resolution ideal tend to focus almost exclusively on the soft redirection of force aspect. Almost universally they tend to not understand or even deny the existence of the power aspect. Especially in the form in which you take your power and apply it directly to the attacker as in atemi.

The folks who are more interested in the martial aspect of the art tend to focus solely on trying to be powerful without understanding that the only way to get to the power that Mike is talking about, which the Aikido greats clearly had, is by relaxing and developing the soft aspect of the art. They do everything "hard" and they never develop the kind of explosive power that Mike has been talking about.

It's as if people are apt to say "I really like Yin, I'm not interested in Yang" or visa versa.

Of course people are free to do whatever they wish in their training but if they wish to develop their Aikido using folks like O-sensei, Shioda or Saotome Sensei as a model, then one has to broaden ones focus to include all three aspects of the art.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 01-19-2007 at 08:32 AM.

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Old 01-19-2007, 08:29 AM   #132
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
So to be clear...I do not find the use of "resistance" in tanren, or forging of the body, to be problematic. What is problematic, is finding out how to use *some* of the methods Mike describes while maintaining *some* of the basics in the Yoshinkan stance and methodology. In all of the yoshinkan basic movements, for instance, the weight is forward. If you select a tanren method that keeps the weight generally back, you may find it difficult to bring that kind of movement into your waza at *first*. But in my opinion, it doesn't really matter in the long run. Sufficient development of the skill set will over come such minor points, and Mike did specifically address methods to move the skill set to either foot, or even shizentai.
Well, all of these things can be done on either foot... I never said or implied otherwise. Erick's arbitrary "proof" that I was "only talking about the rear foot", based on the one exercise I offered, is patently absurd. I'm talking about basic skills and how to develop them, not waza.

Incidentally, the idea of "jibengong" or "basic skills exercises" is commont to all Asian martial arts. The ki/kokyu skills should be developed in the Aiki Taiso, Kokyu-hu-undo, and so forth. This is part of the real problem... the Taiso, etc., have just become rituals or, worse, some competitive "technique" to work on using unnecessary focuses like "twisting the arms", etc. The Ki-Society approach is actually closer to (well, I guess I could admit that it "conforms") normal Asian martial arts in that the "ki tests", etc., are specific training for ki and kokyu skills of a certain level. Other forms of Aikido need to adjust accordingly, IMO.

Taking this conversation of "baseline skills" to a discussion of "baseline waza" is a waste of time. When it comes to Tenkan, Irimi, etc., I have opinions, but I'd have to admit that they are simple opinions and I couldn't speak with as much certainty as I can about these fairly basic skill parameters.

Best.

Mike
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Old 01-19-2007, 08:41 AM   #133
raul rodrigo
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
It should be noted Raul, that Ikeda Sensei and Utada Sensei now instruct at each other's dojo. That is an ASU instructor in the Aikikai, and a Yoshinkan instructor. If that is not convergence, I don't know what is.

And Nakao Sensei is the one from the Yamaguchi lineage that did the Shioda "bounce" to me from ryokatamochi.

Best,
Ron
You've run into Nakao? I didn't know that. On this forum, I thought only Brian Bateman knew him. Nakao is relatively obscure. But for us he was a really great find. So once again, we have convergence.

Last edited by raul rodrigo : 01-19-2007 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 01-19-2007, 08:55 AM   #134
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Baseline skillset

Raul, you know how he likes to "drop in for training" wherever he goes on vacation? I was really fortunate...he "dropped in" at an AKI dojo in Pa. I was lucky enough to have heard a rumor, and I did a "drop in" too...

Spent most of my time getting up off the floor...

Best,
Ron

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Old 01-19-2007, 09:10 AM   #135
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Re: Baseline skillset

Incidentally, not wanting to be an evangelical, but I think that it would really pay if more dojo's set aside time to practice basic "grounding" skills, like I mentioned in post #36. Practice until a push from the horizontal or above goes automatically to the sole of the foot and the body (and lower back) stay relaxed. That's where to start. The push must take the shortest path to the ground, always, so a push to your arm should be accepted directly by the hara/tanden/dantien and THEN it goes to the foot. The weakness I felt in some of the Ki-Society members' postures was because they apparently kept thinking only "tanden" without understanding fully that the final stopping place is the foot.

For pushes from the horizontal and below (i.e., slightly upward forces that destabilize you), you have to learn to let your center of weight (think of it as the weight at your crotch if you straddled a fence rail) BE at the place where the upward push is. This should be practiced until it gets stronger and automatic.

That would be my suggestion for where to start. You'll get to where the old man is with his "bounces" quicker with these basic practices than if you just start trying to mysteriously propel your Uke in a mimicry of what's on the video clips.

Best.

Mike
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Old 01-19-2007, 09:29 AM   #136
raul rodrigo
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
For pushes from the horizontal and below (i.e., slightly upward forces that destabilize you), you have to learn to let your center of weight (think of it as the weight at your crotch if you straddled a fence rail) BE at the place where the upward push is. This should be practiced until it gets stronger and automatic.

Nearly every class these days, Mike, begins with the push exercises. The last set of the "power walking" exercises has uke pushing on tori's hips and tori trying to move forward. Its not easy. (Sometimes it seems to me that the "tiger walk" of tai chi is a more efficient way of moving forward under these circumstances. But I dont know anything about tai chi.)

When you say I should learn to let the center of weight BE the place where the push is, do you mean that I should visualize the force entering at that spot and then grounding that force? Or is there more to it? There usually is.


best,


RAUL

Last edited by raul rodrigo : 01-19-2007 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 01-19-2007, 09:42 AM   #137
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote:
The last set of the "power walking" exercises has uke pushing on tori's hips and tori trying to move forward. Its not easy. (Sometimes it seems to me that the "tiger walk" of tai chi is a more efficient way of moving forward under these circumstances. But I dont know anything really about tai chi.)
Hi Raul:

I know something about Taiji, but I don't know what the "Tiger Walk" is. Different people add different things and different terminology into Taiji, just like they do into Aikido. For walking forward practice, it's good to walk into a partner whose hand is on your belly, elbow straight (to keep the force rigid and not springy), and concentrate on keeping the ground as purely and solidly as possible into his hand, with no discontinuities. IMO.
Quote:
When you say I should learn to let the center of weight BE the place where the push is, do you mean that I should visualize the force entering at that spot and then grounding that force? Or is there more to it? There usually is.
The weight down is harder to learn than the weight from the ground because you want to develop a connection that is NOT muscle and it takes a while to do it. In a push from the ground, you need a lot of time at first being "tested" with only a light and rigid, steady force by Uke. In learning the down forces you again need a light, rigid, and steady force (just a few pounds) and you want to have Uke hold, as purely as possible, your whole weight. Try to let your weight rest on the upward push as completely as possible without you moving, etc. This is where the "unliftable body", etc., really come from... the ability to allow your weight/center to relaxedly "connect" to any point on your body at will.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 01-19-2007, 09:51 AM   #138
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Re: Baseline skillset

Thanks for the advice. Will keep it in mind. I don't know that I really understand it, but I'll keep plugging away at the exercise and maybe the light bulb will go off at some point.

best,


RAUL
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Old 01-19-2007, 09:59 AM   #139
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Re: Baseline skillset

Do simple upward tests at first. Like a light lift up by Uke at the armpits. Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands. If you can do it at the armpits, try it at the elbows not far from the body (i.e., bend the arms so the hands are in front of the mid-body). Try to put the relaxed weight from the crotch there. Then the wrists. Then the hands. The further you get from the body, the more difficult it is because the lever-arm increases. This skill takes some time to develop.

Every movement of the body should fully and always be powered either by the ground, the weight, or some combination of the two. To make these powers stronger, the body has to be connected. That's what Akuzawa's (and Rob's) exercises are for. The turning-point or control-point of these forces is NOT the shoulder... it's the hara.


Best.

Mike
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Old 01-19-2007, 10:01 AM   #140
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Baseline skillset

The hardest part for me is relaxing properly...then it's keeping the upper body stable, but not using it's power. This stuff is not easy. Shortcut my @$$...

B,
R

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Old 01-19-2007, 12:27 PM   #141
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Saotome Sensei does these kinds of tecniques frequently. He can shoot me back about five feet when I grab him with a pulse like this.
Thank you for weighing in. I know this, I have seen it -- although, more's the pity, I have not felt Saotome.

I may have been unclear or have been misunderstood -- more likely the former. I have never questioned that these things are done. I question whether they are done as Mike describes them, and should be practiced in the manner that Mike suggests -- in relation to aikido.
Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
This very much sounds to me as if you have defined Aikido only by its aspect of redirection of the force applied by the attacker.
I am hardly the peace and flowers kind of guy. To give my approach a flavor more in keeping with my native tradition, think of Nathan Bedford Forrest: "Get there first with the most." "Hit 'em from the side." "Never stand and take a charge... charge them too."

Generally speaking, I'll get there sooner if I am not letting him impede me by engaging his force directly. Also, and to be perfectly clear about my interpretation, and while it is distinctly unpeaceful, a roundhouse to the jaw is not resisting any opposing force, unless he started first with a headbutt.

I don't even try to define aikido, I just try to do it -- occasionally, with success. I know my place. I explore O Sensei's definition of aikido, and that of the lineages of his students who have taught me. I try to obtain a consistent understanding of its physical reality and of the methods of practice I have been given to learn and to teach with. I try not to fiddle with them much or give explanations that were not given to me, that are not just plainly physical observations.

The only thing I bring to the table is a critical faculty with which to make judgments based on competent authorities about propositions such as Mike's in regard to training in "basic" skillsets. And what he proposes troubles me in terms of aikido training.

I challenge two things in Mike's approach to describing and training for these things. One is physical, the other, methodological.

1) That they are not necessarily done by means of resistance -- a component of collinear force opposite in sign to the input.

2) That training which expressly develops resistance, even "ground" resistance, is not helpful to aikido training.

As to my first objection, the physical interpretation of what Mike calls "bounce" jin as "store and release" -- is resistance, but it is also not a necessary physical interpretation of the interaction. Irimi/tenkan principles viewed as manipulation of moments and radial accelerations does not require any in-line opposing forces to describe the operation of movements we all know work. It is also a mechanical model of "absolute non-resistance" that physically explains a great deal of the power the best practioners can generate and/or dissipate.

Despite Mike's protests, "bouncing" or deformation spring energy is resistant. In order to receive the strain energy by bending, torsion, or comperssion, the spring (of whatever form) necessarily decelerates the object applying the input force, which is a collinear force in opposition, i.e.-- resistant. Resistance occurs even if there is not (yet) reverse displacement. Since it is resistant, if the force is too large or the impulse too quick, the deforming structure may break before it can release that energy. Springs bounce, but they also snap; balloons bounce, but they also pop.

You demonstrated in seminar in Tallahassee (Mar. 05?) one of Ushiro Sensei's demonstrative tai sabaki movements to the wrist grab. (Ushiro is one of Mike's primary examplars of "lost" principles we should adopt.) First, weighting on the front foot without pushing or altering the grab, then stepping forward with the other foot, weighting it and then letting go the weight on the other side, causing incipient collapse, without doing a single thing to change uke's structure or his force, a simple touch (better than a roundhouse) to his shoulder dropped him . It was simple, and illustrated the problem of resistance to -- on both sides of the interaction.

There was no resistance when you performed it, and in fact you properly chided me and others for our own residual resistance in barely perceptible pushing in trying to performing it on you. Another reason to object to Mike's approach because, as you pointedly demonstrated to me, the impulse to resist force is pernicious, even when, as with me, one knows about and is consciously trying to avoid it.

Why, therefore, consciously train to do it?

It seems to me that what Mike is getting at that is useful is not new, and what is new is not terribly useful.

(And thanks again for the pointers on the No. 10 kumitachi.)

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-19-2007, 12:46 PM   #142
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Erick's arbitrary "proof" that I was "only talking about the rear foot", based on the one exercise I offered, is patently absurd.
I read what you say.. If you don't like that, please say something else.
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
The ki/kokyu skills should be developed in the Aiki Taiso, Kokyu-hu-undo, and so forth.
They are in the kihon in Saito's scheme and in Saotome's as I was taught them. I see them in the 94 year old gentleman's "bounce" jin movements, and those are same movement skills that are in the kihon, as I have illustrated by drawing the parallels. I see related aspects in what I have seen of Shioda's kihon dosa, but that is territory out of my familiarity. Maybe my experience was exceptional, but I really don't think so. I've wandered around a fair bit on the west coast and over this way. Maybe your experience is the exception.
Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Taking this conversation of "baseline skills" to a discussion of "baseline waza" is a waste of time.
Yes, semantic arguments generally are. If you really think that irimi/tenkan principle is merely waza, you really do not know what I am talking about either.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 01-19-2007, 12:52 PM   #143
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Mike Sigman wrote:
Incidentally, not wanting to be an evangelical, but I think that it would really pay if more dojo's set aside time to practice basic "grounding" skills, ...
Aha!
I knew our arguments had a familiar ring to them -- it's just like having rounds with the street preachers back in high school. You nailed it....

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-19-2007, 01:07 PM   #144
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Erick Mead wrote:
I may have been unclear or have been misunderstood -- more likely the former.
You may simply be wrong.

Interestingly enough, I've been through a lot of this before with many of the same arguments. As a lot of people begin to realize fairly quickly, the evidence for this stuff is overwhelming. Seeing everyone do the same demo's in China and Japan, using the same descriptions and admonishments about ki/qi and kokyu/jin, tanden/dantien, etc., etc., makes even the strongest denier give up in front of the evidentiary weight.

The two cop-outs that I seen favored by the ones who don't want to admit they were wrong are:

(1.) OK, but I already do that and you just misinterpretted what I mean

(2.)OK, but there is a difference in the basics in the case of "x" martial art, so while you are correct that it's needed you yourself didn't really understand the "real stuff", so now I'm back ahead of you.

I.e., it becomes a pee-ing contest or a face-saver. OK, you were just "misunderstood". Can we get back to baseline skills now?

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Mike Sigman
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Old 01-19-2007, 01:39 PM   #145
Michael McCaslin
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Rear Leg

As a beginner who has invested a lot of time in trying to understand where Mike Sigman is coming from, maybe I can shed a little light on the emphasis on holding the weight over the rear leg in the beginning.

I have seen Mike's internal strength videos, and he has been kind enough to sign me up for his mailing list so I could learn what other people who are chasing the same goals I am are doing. While I haven't yet had the opportunity for hands on time with Mike, I believe I understand the theory he bases his approach on. I make no claims to being able to put it into practice yet. My opinion on the weight over the rear leg follows-- any errors are mine. Mike has pointed out again and again that you have to feel these things in person to really figure out what is going on, so if I've missed the point it's all my fault. Shame on me for being hard headed!

Anyway, the point of keeping the weight over the rear leg is to make sure you don't end up using it as a "strut" to brace your structure. If you take a bunch of guys/girls who don't know how to do this stuff, put them in a deep front stance, and test them, they will almost all use the back leg as a brace and as a result they will almost all develop bad habits that prevent them from "getting it." So Mike came up with a stance for beginners to use in an introductory exercise that removes the potential for one of the more common errors people make when starting out.

It's not "Mike's martial method" or "the way you do it" it's just an introductory exercise that is designed to make it harder to cheat so we have a better chance of seeing the point.

I hope this helps.

Michael
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Old 01-19-2007, 01:55 PM   #146
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Re: Rear Leg

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Michael McCaslin wrote:
Anyway, the point of keeping the weight over the rear leg is to make sure you don't end up using it as a "strut" to brace your structure. If you take a bunch of guys/girls who don't know how to do this stuff, put them in a deep front stance, and test them, they will almost all use the back leg as a brace and as a result they will almost all develop bad habits that prevent them from "getting it." So Mike came up with a stance for beginners to use in an introductory exercise that removes the potential for one of the more common errors people make when starting out.
Y'know, really those videos of Master Sum and O-Sensei are good to analyse in terms of the back-leg thing. Well maybe Sum's is the best one. Watch his Uke walk around and push him from all sides. The idea is that you can release power in any direction at any time. If you become dependent on only pushing, bouncing, whatever to the *front* by using the back leg as a simple brace, you can't use power in any direction. That's why it's a good idea to have a partner walk around you slowly and give slow, steady pushes from various directions (although at first it's helpful if they push only toward the leg furthest away from them until you develop elementary skills).

Watch Shioda and others and how upright they stand so that they're always balanced. Then look at a few tapes of lower level westerners and watch how dominant the "back-leg brace" has become.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 01-19-2007, 02:31 PM   #147
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Thank you for weighing in. I know this, I have seen it -- although, more's the pity, I have not felt Saotome.

I may have been unclear or have been misunderstood -- more likely the former. I have never questioned that these things are done. I question whether they are done as Mike describes them, and should be practiced in the manner that Mike suggests -- in relation to aikido.
I am hardly the peace and flowers kind of guy. To give my approach a flavor more in keeping with my native tradition, think of Nathan Bedford Forrest: "Get there first with the most." "Hit 'em from the side." "Never stand and take a charge... charge them too."

Generally speaking, I'll get there sooner if I am not letting him impede me by engaging his force directly. Also, and to be perfectly clear about my interpretation, and while it is distinctly unpeaceful, a roundhouse to the jaw is not resisting any opposing force, unless he started first with a headbutt.

I don't even try to define aikido, I just try to do it -- occasionally, with success. I know my place. I explore O Sensei's definition of aikido, and that of the lineages of his students who have taught me. I try to obtain a consistent understanding of its physical reality and of the methods of practice I have been given to learn and to teach with. I try not to fiddle with them much or give explanations that were not given to me, that are not just plainly physical observations.

The only thing I bring to the table is a critical faculty with which to make judgments based on competent authorities about propositions such as Mike's in regard to training in "basic" skillsets. And what he proposes troubles me in terms of aikido training.

I challenge two things in Mike's approach to describing and training for these things. One is physical, the other, methodological.

1) That they are not necessarily done by means of resistance -- a component of collinear force opposite in sign to the input.

2) That training which expressly develops resistance, even "ground" resistance, is not helpful to aikido training.

As to my first objection, the physical interpretation of what Mike calls "bounce" jin as "store and release" -- is resistance, but it is also not a necessary physical interpretation of the interaction. Irimi/tenkan principles viewed as manipulation of moments and radial accelerations does not require any in-line opposing forces to describe the operation of movements we all know work. It is also a mechanical model of "absolute non-resistance" that physically explains a great deal of the power the best practioners can generate and/or dissipate.

Despite Mike's protests, "bouncing" or deformation spring energy is resistant. In order to receive the strain energy by bending, torsion, or comperssion, the spring (of whatever form) necessarily decelerates the object applying the input force, which is a collinear force in opposition, i.e.-- resistant. Resistance occurs even if there is not (yet) reverse displacement. Since it is resistant, if the force is too large or the impulse too quick, the deforming structure may break before it can release that energy. Springs bounce, but they also snap; balloons bounce, but they also pop.

You demonstrated in seminar in Tallahassee (Mar. 05?) one of Ushiro Sensei's demonstrative tai sabaki movements to the wrist grab. (Ushiro is one of Mike's primary examplars of "lost" principles we should adopt.) First, weighting on the front foot without pushing or altering the grab, then stepping forward with the other foot, weighting it and then letting go the weight on the other side, causing incipient collapse, without doing a single thing to change uke's structure or his force, a simple touch (better than a roundhouse) to his shoulder dropped him . It was simple, and illustrated the problem of resistance to -- on both sides of the interaction.

There was no resistance when you performed it, and in fact you properly chided me and others for our own residual resistance in barely perceptible pushing in trying to performing it on you. Another reason to object to Mike's approach because, as you pointedly demonstrated to me, the impulse to resist force is pernicious, even when, as with me, one knows about and is consciously trying to avoid it.

Why, therefore, consciously train to do it?

It seems to me that what Mike is getting at that is useful is not new, and what is new is not terribly useful.

(And thanks again for the pointers on the No. 10 kumitachi.)
Personally, I just don't see what Mike does as somehow un-aiki; quite the opposite. I do believe that his focus encompasses one aspect of aiki and one that I have not worked in to any great extent myself. Actually, if I had access to Mike on a regular basis I would train with him. He taught me a great deal in a very short time at Rocky Mountain Camp.

What I have been focusing on myself is complete neutralization of the opponent's power via relaxation. Angier, Threadgill, Vasiliev, Kuroda, Yamaguchi, Endo, Gleason, Ikeda and Saotome Senseis are my models for this work.

I have also spent a lot of time working on how one moves the partner's mind in order to get him to move himself. I've had a lot of help on this from Ushiro Sensei whose explanations are helping me see what Saotome Sensei has been doing all along. I have come to realize that how and where one places ones attention is central to how a technique does or does not work and it is almost never mentioned by any Aikido teacher I have seen. It is so fundamental to success that I have started teaching even the beginners these concepts right from the very start.

One of the difficulties I've had with Mike's posts was that I don't have the vocabulary he does to describe what he is talking about. He was very kind in Colorado to give me a basic run down of what he is talking about. I absolutely believe that what he is talking about is an aspect of what the teachers I am emulating are doing. There are times when it is important and necessary to deliver power to the structure of the opponent. From a martial stand point it is an integral part of the art to be able to end it on a touch, at the instant of contact. The "soft" neutralization of force stuff which I have worked on extensively will only set up the opening for the application of the "hard" force. To be effective that force has to be strong enough to finish things in one blow. Mike can do this and at some point I would like to work on it.

Now there are other ways to develop this capacity as well. The top Systema people can hit you with something that looks like nothing at all and I have no doubt whatever that, if they intended it to do so, would kill you. It is so relaxed and without what we would consider proper structure that it looks fake. But if you feel it, there's no doubt whatever. I have a lot more access to this instruction than I do to Mike's. My former students have set up a Systema school right on the other side of the wall from my dojo. I have the best people in North America coming through our town. So I will probably get a chance to develop some of what they do before I figure out what Mike is talking about.

But as far as I am concerned it is all aiki. Personally I do not have any problem seeing why I would be training to do these things.

I do believe that I have probably misunderstood your explanations. Terminology in these things is difficult unless we have the chance to sit there together and show what we mean when we describe some movement or energy. Half the time when I get a chance to compare notes with folks, I find that we are talking about the same things but using a whole different way to visualize and describe it. It doesn't really matter as description is all just upaya anyway. I use a consistent set of descriptive principles to get a certain result from my students. I am sure someone else has a different way of describing the same thing which works just as well for them.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Old 01-19-2007, 04:37 PM   #148
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
You may simply be wrong.
Always possible. Hasn't been demonstrated on this point, yet, however. Anyone is welcome to do it. I enjoy ukemi when necessary, but I don''t take falls unless it aids in training, I have to, or it is safer to want to.
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Mike Sigman wrote:
.. the evidence for this stuff is overwhelming.
I don't dispute the "this stuff," I dispute your exposition of what it is --in physical terms -- and how it should be developed -- in relation to aikido. My issue is a prudential one in relation to Aikido, a technical one in relation ot the physics of it all, and not a denial of the sophisitcation of traditional Chinese arts, which I greatly respect.

Chemistry is a producer of many good things -- not all chemistry is good for a given purpose, and not all good things are necessarily good for all purposes. Fire can keep you warm or burn your house down -- best to be careful about how, when or if we choose to use it.
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Mike Sigman wrote:
Can we get back to baseline skills now?
Sure. I'll just have a running objection to the training use or model or any "bounce" modes of action that are actually resistant. I've made my point.

Counterforce is too tempting, even to just "train with" even if it is just ground reaction. It warps the nature of the connection in Aikido -- in my view. It blurs the sensitivity to all that information -- literally in your hands -- about what your opponent is actually doing. It is the likely cause, frankly, as I see it, of much that you complain about in the levels of training in kokyu skills. Which, if I am right about the physical basis for "this stuff," would make some sense.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 01-19-2007, 04:50 PM   #149
Mike Sigman
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Re: Baseline skillset

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
Counterforce is too tempting, even to just "train with" even if it is just ground reaction. It warps the nature of the connection in Aikido -- in my view. It blurs the sensitivity to all that information -- literally in your hands -- about what your opponent is actually doing. It is the likely cause, frankly, as I see it, of much that you complain about in the levels of training in kokyu skills. Which, if I am right about the physical basis for "this stuff," would make some sense.
Well, let's just leave your opinions for a while. As has been recommended, because you fairly obviously don't know what we're talking about, you should go see someone who can demonstrate for you. In terms of "sensitivity", you give it away again. A person becomes even more sensitive to "reading" or "listening" to someone... I thing George Ledyard already commented to that effect after our meeting in Glenwood Springs. Using that skill, I think you'll find that you probably lose your balance very rapidly when we touch... i.e., the "training" which you so strenuously object to even though you don't understand it, results in real-world ability to do things with even less resistance than is done in most cooperative training in Aikido. You simply don't know what we're talking about.

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-19-2007, 04:51 PM   #150
eyrie
 
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Re: Baseline skillset

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Mike Sigman wrote:
For walking forward practice, it's good to walk into a partner whose hand is on your belly, elbow straight (to keep the force rigid and not springy), and concentrate on keeping the ground as purely and solidly as possible into his hand, with no discontinuities.
These are probably NOT the best examples, but I think they illustrate the idea.... IMO, when first starting, the amount of force your partner should be using should be LESS than what is being shown here.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find the originals that were hosted on YouTube, but I managed to save it to an .FLV before it got jacked.

http://aikidofnq.com/images/vids/han...- 070107-2.flv (24MB)
http://aikidofnq.com/images/vids/han...- 061025-1.flv (24MB)

You'll need an FLV Video Player to view this.

Oh, and you might have to wait a while... it may still be uploading....

Last edited by eyrie : 01-19-2007 at 04:54 PM.

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