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Old 02-27-2007, 03:52 PM   #26
ChrisMoses
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

Quote:
Robert John wrote: View Post
Just noticed this thread!

Holla out to everyone that came out, good work, and I'm sorry we couldn't work out longer. A lot of material had to be compressed into a short time, but I hope people got more out of it than quads burning up from lactic acid (sorry chris, had to steal that line from you lol)
[snippage]
Oh and mad props to the Seattle Crew!
Chris, Kit, Jeremy, Josh and all, glad you all made it. Hopefully people were able to get a little bit of stuff out of my half assed "seminar".
Well you're a day ahead of me! Steal away, I'm stealing all I can from you! I've said it privately, but here's a big public, "Thank you!" from Rain City (both to Rob and to those of you who came out). It was great to spend some time with you on the mat again and I've gotten nothing but very positive feedback from those who were able to make it, not to mention interest from those who weren't. Hopefully it showed that we've at least been TRYING to work on this stuff since we met in Tokyo, we just need to crank it up a bit, or is it *down* a bit...

I thought I should make the point to the general community that while Rob/Ark's stuff has had a very real, very significant impact on how I do my Aikido/budo/jutsu in a very short period of time, we have *never* talked about how I should be doing my aikido. Other than a couple of the "see why this doesn't work..." examples that Ark demonstrated (as long as I did my ikkyo 'like they do in aikido' anyway, lol), Rob hasn't attempted in any way to influence the strategies or specifics of our aikido waza. Perhaps that's something that should be made more clear to those who think that Rob (and by assumption, Dan and Mike) are attempting to tell us how to do our waza. That has not been my experience, but rather they're offering some better methodologies for how to move and organize oneself on a more fundamental level than, "no, put your hand here to do kotegaeshi." I'm not sure how much of that has come across to the general community.

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
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Old 02-27-2007, 03:54 PM   #27
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

I think many have missed that last point Chris...unfortunately. It is so easy to get tied up in pretzal logic.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
 
Old 02-27-2007, 04:02 PM   #28
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
I think many have missed that last point Chris...unfortunately. It is so easy to get tied up in pretzal logic.

Best,
Ron
Come on, that was clear like mud.

Short version, Rob has never showed me how I should be doing my aikido. It has never come up. I think a lot of the push-back wrt the internal stuff and guys offering it is the knee jerk response to the idea that someone's going to come in and show you how your aikido should be done. That hasn't been my experience, but rather they're showing you how to structure your body so that you can actually do your aikido, something that most people are never taught in aikido, and why it may or may not be a 'baseline' skillset of the art itself. That any better?

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
Budo Tanren at Seattle School of Aikido
Shinto Ryu Iai-Battojutsu
 
Old 02-27-2007, 04:20 PM   #29
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

Good to hear things went well! I have been looking forward to hearing about this. Sorry I could not be there.

I look forward to learning in the near future!

 
Old 02-27-2007, 04:20 PM   #30
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

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Christian Moses wrote: View Post
Short version, Rob has never showed me how I should be doing my aikido. It has never come up. I think a lot of the push-back wrt the internal stuff and guys offering it is the knee jerk response to the idea that someone's going to come in and show you how your aikido should be done. That hasn't been my experience, but rather they're showing you how to structure your body so that you can actually do your aikido, something that most people are never taught in aikido, and why it may or may not be a 'baseline' skillset of the art itself. That any better?
I agree. My actual "Aikido" sucks, so I would never attempt to teach someone how to do Aikido. On the other hand, there is a conundrum. If real Aikido requires the use of the Ki skills (which Ueshiba and a number of others made clear as being the case), how can someone who "does subtle and sophisticated Aikido" really be doing Aikido if they don't have these body skills? See the problem? That's why it's a double-edged question for some of the people who insist that "people who don't do Aikido shouldn't post to this forum".

Best.

Mike
 
Old 02-27-2007, 05:35 PM   #31
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

Arggg. I'd really like to see what this "no-inch power release" feels like.

Mr. Sigman:

Any chance that you'll be giving a workshop, anywhere?
 
Old 02-27-2007, 05:47 PM   #32
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

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Franco Cuminato wrote: View Post
Arggg. I'd really like to see what this "no-inch power release" feels like.

Mr. Sigman:

Any chance that you'll be giving a workshop, anywhere?
Hi Franco:

You'd like to see what it feels like? Good one.

I only do workshops on a whimsical basis, Franco. Impulse. They cut into my free time too much. But if I do one near Austin, I'll let you know. I have to admit that being caught in the Beltway traffic around DC did a lot for confirming my reclusiveness, again.

Best.

Mike
 
Old 02-28-2007, 08:03 AM   #33
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

Didn't even see this thread until this morning....

Just want to say thanks to Mike and Rob for taking some of their valuable time to provide some brilliant instruction.
Rob taught a very clear and concise class. One could really feel the body act as a single unit when performing the conditioning exercises correctly. The power generation when the body is in this cohesive alignment is impressive. This is from either a standing or prone position.
Mike provide some excellent down to earth no BS explanations. He can put you in a mindset and body alignment that allows you to start feeling these skills immediately. He also can show and help the person begin to feel the mental manipulation of forces i.e. without any or very little body movement. Its a very cool sensation to have his palms on top of your arms while your hands are underneath his elbows yet he is still be able to uproot ones center. I won't even begin to mention his power releases... the looks on peoples faces were priceless.

Thanks again guys, (Oh, and thank you Hunter and Jim)
Tim Anderson
 
Old 02-28-2007, 09:11 AM   #34
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

Did anyone see the bait.... er, I mean the potential discussion about Kotodama and Kiko in the "Training" session? Tsk.

Mike
 
Old 02-28-2007, 09:14 AM   #35
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

So don't get in a fist fight with Rob or Mike, got it.
*writes that down*

If you're hungry, keep moving.
If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

You don't own what you can't defend
 
Old 02-28-2007, 09:17 AM   #36
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

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Did anyone see the bait.... er, I mean the potential discussion about Kotodama and Kiko in the "Training" session? Tsk.

Mike
I did, but kotodama and fascia development are new to me. I'm still trying to re-train.

Mark
 
Old 02-28-2007, 01:44 PM   #37
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

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This meeting demonstrated to me that learning and studying internal skills is best accomplished in small groups.
Incidentally, this topic of numbers is a good discussion. I don't have a perfect answer to any of this, but over a number of years I've come to feel that the best way to do these things are:

(1.) A 2-day workshop, 9am-3pm. It takes at least that much focus for it to begin to penetrate most people that you can't just temporarily change your movement and "get it".... it's a full-time practice so that kokyu and ki can thrive and develop in the body.

(2.) About 20 people is a good number because it allows you to work with everyone (it's 10 couples to move between; an easy number) and it gives the other people time to experiment longer with the newer concepts. When I show a lot of things quickly, it almost never sticks. The pace is important.

(3.) The approach has to be very logical and progressive. Each stage is based on knowing and understanding the previous stage (and that's why no one is allowed to come just to the second day of a workshop, BTW). The idea is that the progressive learning approach leaves you with that final stage(s) to work on.... you don't have to remember all the preceeding stages in detail.

(4.) A "Big Picture" is important so that people know and understand the overall logic and skills-development. However, beginning people should understand that their next few months should be focused only on imbuing basic jin/kokyu skills and some basic breathing/standing/moving exercises.... it takes a while to develop and complexities aren't important at first.

Anyway, just thought I'd throw that in.

Best.

Mike
 
Old 02-28-2007, 03:32 PM   #38
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

I caught the Kotatama thing Mike. Curious about it, but I cannot even begin to comprehend what it is that you are talking about so cannot comment at all on it.

Would need to explore this more and be educated more in order to grasp the concept.

 
Old 02-28-2007, 05:05 PM   #39
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

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Murry McPherson's reaction to working with Dan Harden (see Baseline Skillset thread) precisely describes my reaction to working with Mike Sigman and (to a lesser extent) Rob John:
"And the sad truth is that what I felt was so far removed from standard aikido (or judo, or karate, for that matter) that I had the not entirely pleasant sensation of feeling simultaneously excited by the possibility of it all, yet resentful and angry that these skills are not understood and/or taught as the essential building blocks of skill, from day one."
...
Mike Sigman is frighteningly good, and I do not use that adverb lightly. I've met people who can root themselves strongly, and he is certainly the best I have felt.
So Jim, after feeling Mike for yourself, I'm curious whether you still think it would be impossible for someone like him or Dan to stop someone like Saotome or Ikeda? Or are you now ready to concede that the reason guys like you who have spent 20 or 30 years in your organization cannot do this yet people who have been training much less time but in different ways, like Rob or myself, can is that there is something important that they have not taught you?

I don't think Ikeda consciously chose not to teach these things, and he seems to be increasingly making an effort to try to get people in your organization to understand them. For most people, even in the ASU, his words just go in one ear and out the other. If he is able to develop some kind of pedagogy for teaching them over the next several years, that could change. In Saotome's case, I suspect there's an element he has intentionally withheld so that he would always be that much better than you. I guess it's lucky for you that you finally found someone to come out and teach you some of these things.

Regards,
Giancarlo DiPierro
 
Old 02-28-2007, 05:19 PM   #40
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

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Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
I don't think Ikeda consciously chose not to teach these things, and he seems to be increasingly making an effort to try to get people in your organization to understand them.
I don't want to step on the toes of Jim's answer, but I'll say what I said before on this forum.... members of the ASU should get down on their knees at night and thank god they have someone like Ikeda Sensei looking out for their interests. It puts them well out ahead of many others.

Best.

Mike Sigman
 
Old 02-28-2007, 05:56 PM   #41
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

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members of the ASU should get down on their knees at night and thank god they have someone like Ikeda Sensei looking out for their interests. It puts them well out ahead of many others.

Best.

Mike Sigman
And here I thought we were supposed to be thanking Him that we have someone like you looking out for our interests.
 
Old 02-28-2007, 07:34 PM   #42
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

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Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
So Jim, after feeling Mike for yourself, I'm curious whether you still think it would be impossible for someone like him or Dan to stop someone like Saotome or Ikeda? Or are you now ready to concede that the reason guys like you who have spent 20 or 30 years in your organization cannot do this yet people who have been training much less time but in different ways, like Rob or myself, can is that there is something important that they have not taught you?

I don't think Ikeda consciously chose not to teach these things, and he seems to be increasingly making an effort to try to get people in your organization to understand them. For most people, even in the ASU, his words just go in one ear and out the other. If he is able to develop some kind of pedagogy for teaching them over the next several years, that could change. In Saotome's case, I suspect there's an element he has intentionally withheld so that he would always be that much better than you. I guess it's lucky for you that you finally found someone to come out and teach you some of these things.

Regards,
Giancarlo DiPierro

Interestingly enough I just got off the phone with Murray talking about these same things.
Guys
It isn't about who is better than who at what. Its about whether you "got it" at all? Are you working smarter, and in the right direction?
If you go back and read the "Meeting with Dan Harden" threads, and the many "Mike Sigman" threads and the several "Rob and Aunkia" threads-it should be clear that the people who have met all three or any combination thereof report similar or exact same phenomena.
So... the real question is "Does it have any value for you?"
Any value in Aikido?

So far in my limited experience, men in Aikido, Judo, Karate, Daito ryu, Taiji, Xing-I, and MMA seem to think so. Most in VERY definitive ways. But that' s their view.YMMV Some of your Aikido teachers here doubt it and have openly said so. So at some point in time, as George Ledyard pointed out. You may have to finally be the arbitor for yourself. Own your own training and decide. if you remain caught up in the "style only training within their own style" blinders-on game you get what you deserve.

Bully boys
Bleck! I don't really care who can stop who. That's more Martial Art Bullshit obviating the value of any type of training. These skills are ways to increase power management; both in delivery and receiving in any venue you choose. Fellas, the idea is about making YOU a better YOU.
The real questions you should be asking is similar to what Mark Murray did when he -very intelligently I might add-went from me to Ikeda in the same week. Do they have it at all? Can they do anything on par with us peons? Will they, or more importantly CAN they teach these things. Worse still, what if they really don't know much at all... past waza?

Those still in the bleachers may be ruminating over what the hell we're talking about. Most/ many/all (?) who have felt these skills who now least know what we have been talking about will be getting about in the next few years to "feel" these shihans. Both their abilities and their willingness to share what they know may be open to the scrutiny of a more educated audience.

Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 02-28-2007 at 07:43 PM.
 
Old 03-01-2007, 12:46 AM   #43
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

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Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
In Saotome's case, I suspect there's an element he has intentionally withheld so that he would always be that much better than you. I guess it's lucky for you that you finally found someone to come out and teach you some of these things.

Regards,
Giancarlo DiPierro
I quite strongly disagree. I believe that Sensei has made every effort, according to his won thinking, to pass on what he knows. I have trained with him for thirty years and he has held nothing back. It's just that he teaches as he learned from O-Sensei. He shows... period. You can ask him questions and he'll show you. If he sees you are having trouble, he'll show you again. Unlike many of the old timers, he'll show you again if you ask him to. He simply has never developed a vocabulary to describe what he is doing. Only recently has he started to try to explain what he does. But his idea of an explanation almost requires that you understand what he is doing so that you can understand the explanation.

Many people have no idea of the burden that these former uchi deshi labor under. Teachers like Chiba Sensei and Saotome Sensei loved O-Sensei. He was like a father to them. They look at their experience training with the Founder as this great blessing which can never be repaid. So they have spent their entire teaching careers trying to live up to the investment which O-Sensei made in them. Their students are the tangible result of all those years of teaching over here. I guarantee you that they have both made every effort to pass on what they know. It's the only way that they can live up to their roles as direct students of the Founder.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 03-01-2007, 02:23 AM   #44
ksy
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

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Likewise Mike's skill is awesome. I certainly got trounced when I got to touch hands with him later, but I learned a lot, and was especially struck by the way he managed to explain away a lot of the grounding concepts in a very easy to understand way.
Hey fellas that were there, mind sharing some "tips" or pointers on the grounding concepts for benefit of us who weren't there? thanks....
 
Old 03-01-2007, 07:59 AM   #45
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Many people have no idea of the burden that these former uchi deshi labor under. Teachers like Chiba Sensei and Saotome Sensei loved O-Sensei. He was like a father to them. They look at their experience training with the Founder as this great blessing which can never be repaid. So they have spent their entire teaching careers trying to live up to the investment which O-Sensei made in them. Their students are the tangible result of all those years of teaching over here. I guarantee you that they have both made every effort to pass on what they know. It's the only way that they can live up to their roles as direct students of the Founder.
Fair point. I'd agree that teachers like Chiba, Saotome, Yamada, and Kanai, did the best they could to transmit what they learned, and without them, guys like you and I would not have the opportunity to practice aikido. They sacrificed everything so that we could have this practice in America, and we all owe them a great debt for their efforts.

But I think the best way to repay this debt is not to raise them up on a pedestal and put them out of reach, but to acknowledge their shortcomings and collectively try to move beyond them. All of these men are human beings who are flawed in some way or another, and I think it's important to see how their personal limitations have affected our development so that we can understand what we need to do to improve in the next generation.

My comments about Saotome-sensei are based on my own experiences of him, which are certainly very different from yours. What I see as intentionally holding something back you might see more charitably as just teaching how he was taught. I don't think these perspectives are mutually exclusive, and I don't we have to say that one is right and the other is wrong.

The more we make the debate about personal issues and defending our teachers and ourselves against some perceived slight, the less we make it about the important issues that need to be addressed moving forward.

Regards,
Giancarlo DiPierro
 
Old 03-01-2007, 08:27 AM   #46
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

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I quite strongly disagree. I believe that Sensei (Saotome) has made every effort, according to his won thinking, to pass on what he knows. I have trained with him for thirty years and he has held nothing back.
Hi George:

Logically, your point is debatable. If Saotome Sensei showed everything *he* knew, then Ikeda Sensei wouldn't be bringing in Ushiro Sensei for the kokyu things. If the problem is only that Saotome Sensei is teaching it the way Ueshiba Sensei did, then by inference Ikeda Sensei is not as smart as Saotome Sensei, because Saotome didn't study with Ueshiba as long as Ikeda has studied with Saotome. I love these little thought puzzles.

To get back to realism though..... I know people who have studied under Saotome just as long as you have and who are of the opinion that Saotome witholds things. So really it seems to be a matter of opinion. The way I do it is go up to someone and say, "Show my your Ki skills". They either have them or they don't. I didn't have any for a long time and I kept looking. As soon as I could get real information, I did. And every year new vistas in these skills reveal themselves and I wish I'd been able to get started sooner.

Best.

Mike Sigman
 
Old 03-01-2007, 08:32 AM   #47
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I believe that Sensei has made every effort, according to his won thinking, to pass on what he knows. I have trained with him for thirty years and he has held nothing back. It's just that he teaches as he learned from O-Sensei. He shows... period. You can ask him questions and he'll show you. If he sees you are having trouble, he'll show you again. Unlike many of the old timers, he'll show you again if you ask him to. He simply has never developed a vocabulary to describe what he is doing. Only recently has he started to try to explain what he does. But his idea of an explanation almost requires that you understand what he is doing so that you can understand the explanation.
This is where it all gets Dicey.
Chiba didn't have it, neither did his students and one of his godans I felt at three seminars. Neither did Kannai and his in-house people. So to train with them and say you go it from them doesn't work.You would have had to go elsewhere. I don't know about Saotome.
What do they "have" that they taught someone for ten to thirty years, when that person doesn't get it? Are we left with having to compare student #12 with student #24, to Student #78 in an effort to be definitive. Or can we just simply touch the teacher. If they don't have it, they sure as hell ain't teaching it to anyone anytime soon. There are most assuredly some guys who have the stuff. It just remains dicey as to exactly just who will teach whom, the real deal. I can't see it opening up any time soon. It's not the way they have done it in the past, and there is no vested interest in seeing it change.

Next, vocabulary. I'll agree with that one. For many of us in the Japanese arts thing were just never explained well to us to begin with. It was done through touch and example with little explanation.
But here's the key. Even though we agree that terminology is and can be difficult-particularly if you learned the Japanese way- you may be able "opt out" for describing it well, but you can't escape the true test of someone who knows it coming up and touching you. You'll be discovered in an instant. There's simply no escaping it. My advice to teachers is to find it and start training it and get it into their bodies.
It's really only a matter of time before a new host of educated and experienced students start "judging" Asian martial art teachers by their knowledge and skills in the "basics"of......
The Asian Martial arts.

Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 03-01-2007 at 08:36 AM.
 
Old 03-01-2007, 10:31 AM   #48
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I quite strongly disagree. I believe that Sensei has made every effort, according to his won thinking, to pass on what he knows. I have trained with him for thirty years and he has held nothing back. It's just that he teaches as he learned from O-Sensei. He shows... period. You can ask him questions and he'll show you. If he sees you are having trouble, he'll show you again. Unlike many of the old timers, he'll show you again if you ask him to. He simply has never developed a vocabulary to describe what he is doing.
I think what George is saying here (and what Dan and Mike might be missing) is that Saotome Sensei, while he may do a lot of what we're talking about, (haven't felt him directly, I was never 'in' enough to have that honor) didn't learn any of it in the way that we're talking about. He just trained really hard with an extremely skilled practitioner and now just does it. I've found the same thing with very skilled people in various disciplines, they often don't make the best teachers, because they just don't think about all of the many things that come together to make them what they are. That's been true for me in Diff EQ, snowboarding, motorcycling, martial arts, you name it. Anyway... since he was able to get it simply by training hard, why shouldn't we? This also goes back to my comments elsewhere about small class sizes. We all know that hands on informs better than all of the verbage one could ever read, particularly if you are a physical learner, but I also feel that the nature of aiki waza means that most people will mis-understand what nage is actually doing. Aiki by definition is disorienting to the person on the receiving end. (Another reason why I feel the role reversal in the uke nage roles has been extremely detrimental to aikido, but that's another can-o-worms). When I was teaching aikido, some people I could tell something and they could integrate it, others I would have to physically move or have them put their hands on me to feel what I was doing in order to drive home what I was getting at. Aikido (in general) has really favored those who learn physically. Personally I think most people benefit from multiple types of instruction: see it, feel it, talk it, draw it out, find an analogous solo exercise... Feel free to disagree, anyone who knows me knows that I'm not in Saotome's fan club. Just offering what I've observed over the years.

As for him not having the terminology, what about, "BIOPLASMA!" I really loved that when he was on the "BIOPLASMA!" kick. "Do you know BIOPRASMA?!?!" Um, no, not espescially...

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
Budo Tanren at Seattle School of Aikido
Shinto Ryu Iai-Battojutsu
 
Old 03-01-2007, 10:33 AM   #49
Mike Sigman
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

Quote:
Kong Seng Yuan wrote: View Post
Quote:
Robert John wrote:
Likewise Mike's skill is awesome. I certainly got trounced when I got to touch hands with him later, but I learned a lot, and was especially struck by the way he managed to explain away a lot of the grounding concepts in a very easy to understand way.
Hey fellas that were there, mind sharing some "tips" or pointers on the grounding concepts for benefit of us who weren't there? thanks....
You know, I missed that comment of Rob's, since I tend to skim for information and ignore the light chatter, but I need to go back and point out something I learned a long time ago from a Chinese friend of mine: "Push Hands is just exercise; if you want to really test someone, you have to fight". Rob's comments about push hands and "trounce" were meaningless diplomatic banter about someone more than twice his age. Very traditionally polite... don't take it as gospel.

If it was possible to really share something on the web, it might be worth the effort. However, note that time and time again, the same people who have patiently read a lot of the chatter about "ki" skills have still had no idea of what was being talked about until they felt it. Unfortunately, that's the way it works.

Best.

Mike
 
Old 03-01-2007, 11:06 AM   #50
Jim Sorrentino
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia, Aikido Shobukan Dojo
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 243
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Re: Meeting with Mike Sigman and Rob John

Giancarlo,
Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
So Jim, after feeling Mike for yourself, I'm curious whether you still think it would be impossible for someone like him or Dan to stop someone like Saotome or Ikeda? Or are you now ready to concede that the reason guys like you who have spent 20 or 30 years in your organization cannot do this yet people who have been training much less time but in different ways, like Rob or myself [emphasis added], can is that there is something important that they have not taught you?
Arrogant, clueless, and grandiose statements like that show why the late Mitsunari Kanai-sensei quite sensibly decided that you were not worth any of his attention. After this post, I will follow Kanai-sensei's example. If you are doing anything worthwhile, then I am sure that we in the aikido world will eventually hear about you, rather than from you. Until then, shame on you for using a dead man's reputation to enhance your own.

Jim
 

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