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Old 06-24-2007, 12:09 PM   #51
miratim
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
In any case, talking about it isn't the same as feeling it, and you need to be tested by someone who has good mind and body coordination to really appreciate the test and get the most from it.
Got it (as much as one can by not seeing or feeling it). Thanks, gives me some things to experiment with.
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Old 06-25-2007, 02:50 AM   #52
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Re: Unbendable arm

As a 1-year old newbie, I have to say that unbendable arm (and the principles that it contains) is one of the most helpful things I've been taught.

It conveys, practically, a number of the principles of Ki Aikido and I use it for everything from forward rolls to simply holding my partner's wrist when standing "First form".

Am I a bad Aikidoka if I admit that it's also a nifty party trick?!
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Old 06-25-2007, 03:25 AM   #53
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Re: Unbendable arm

let me try to describe the " unbendable arm" my way ;

If you are holding a shinai or jo... ask your partner to hit with their weapon. If you grip too hard, your weapon may slip out of your grip. If you grip it too loosely, a good whack by your partner will also hit your weapon out of your grip.

The unbendable arm feeling is when, your grip is taut but not tight, relaxed but not limp. Your grip is alive, i.e, will constantly adjust to the external force faced.

Not exactly standard unbendable arm test, but close enough feeling to it.

Boon.

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Old 06-25-2007, 11:47 AM   #54
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Re: Unbendable arm

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Xu Wenfung wrote: View Post
If you are holding a shinai or jo... ask your partner to hit with their weapon. If you grip too hard, your weapon may slip out of your grip. If you grip it too loosely, a good whack by your partner will also hit your weapon out of your grip.

The unbendable arm feeling is when, your grip is taut but not tight, relaxed but not limp. Your grip is alive, i.e, will constantly adjust to the external force faced.
good. which is precisely why a good swordsman has somehow picked the feeling meant to be trained by practicing the unbendable arm exercise and why I teach it to my Iaido students. Especially useful to infuse life into their solo kata and kumi dachi practice.

gripping the weapon in such a way with unbendable arm allows you to control the weapon securely while at the same time be very responsive as well making the weapon truely an extension of yourself. It makes it very hard to succeed at usual kenjutsu techniques of batting your sword away while giving you a better feel for how to succeed at moving or deflecting your opponent's sword out of the way and entering. They have to up their skill level and understanding of such things as unbendable arm or they will find it impossible to defend against you.

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Old 06-26-2007, 03:35 AM   #55
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Re: Unbendable arm

Hello
Well I would say that is a bit excessive here. I am the first on to say that a good akidoka will be a good fencer and that our system (provided that it has a weapons syllabus) has all you need to be a good fencer.
At the end of the day, we could say that aikido is fencing principles and "tway of moving" applied to open hand.

However there is a few bits that we "miss" to make us impossible to defend against as far as a trained swordsman is concerned.
By miss I mean they are there in the awasai and the kumitachis with sword and body variation.
So we have all we need but, it is really one step removed of fencing application

I really needed to study German medieval fencing to see the link with a sword fight and how what we do in aikido makes senses fencing wise and how to use it safely

phil

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Old 06-26-2007, 06:39 AM   #56
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Philippe Willaume wrote: View Post
Hello
Well I would say that is a bit excessive here. I am the first on to say that a good akidoka will be a good fencer and that our system (provided that it has a weapons syllabus) has all you need to be a good fencer.
At the end of the day, we could say that aikido is fencing principles and "tway of moving" applied to open hand.

However there is a few bits that we "miss" to make us impossible to defend against as far as a trained swordsman is concerned.
By miss I mean they are there in the awasai and the kumitachis with sword and body variation.
So we have all we need but, it is really one step removed of fencing application

I really needed to study German medieval fencing to see the link with a sword fight and how what we do in aikido makes senses fencing wise and how to use it safely

phil
Don't know much about fencing (European fencing), but if you're talking about aikido being all you need to know about Japanese fencing (kendo) you're plain wrong. The aikido I/we practice has an extensive weapons syllabus with lots of swordwork, my teachers primary teacher was an iaidoka and kendoka as well as aikidoka.

I also study kendo and iaido and I can promise you that most aikidoka who have never studied an external sword art would get eaten alive by even a moderately skilled kendoka. Even with our heavily sword influenced background my aikiken wasn't enough to do anything other than stand my ground against mudansha when I first started kendo.

Also if you think that aikido is just sword principles applied to empty handed techniques it suggests you've probably never studied the Japanese sword in any great depth (at least to me it does). While aikido movements are certainly related to sword movements and other weapons movements they are not the same. Even if aikido movements all derived from sword movements, you cannot reverse engineer aikido movements to produce sword movements (as most aikiken seems to be) that are of any real use.

Unbendable arm is a useful thing to understand when using a sword as it helps you to extend ki through the sword and make it more a natural extension of your own body than an alien thing in your hand. At least in my experience it has been that way. Other aspects of tohei mind and body coordination help too with things like effecient cutting movements (by using weight underside) and also iaigoshi and moving your feet from iaigoshi etc etc as all movements in iaigoshi need to be executed from your one point or hara for them to be worthwhile.

Other interesting things I've noticed are that only the biggest guys at kendo can move me in tsubazeriai (where you stand toe to toe pushing the tsuba of the shinai against each other), and even they tend not to be able to move me too far.

Regards

Mike

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Old 06-26-2007, 08:04 AM   #57
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Re: Unbendable arm

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Mike Haft wrote: View Post
Other interesting things I've noticed are that only the biggest guys at kendo can move me in tsubazeriai (where you stand toe to toe pushing the tsuba of the shinai against each other), and even they tend not to be able to move me too far.

Regards

Mike
I'll put that to the test on Wednesday!

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Old 06-26-2007, 08:18 AM   #58
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Re: Unbendable arm

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Jo Duncan wrote: View Post
I'll put that to the test on Wednesday!

BWAHAHAHAHA!
Be my guest hehehe... I'd say we're about even, not bad considering you outweigh me by about 80lbs

Mike

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Old 06-26-2007, 08:25 AM   #59
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Philippe Willaume wrote: View Post
Hello
Well I would say that is a bit excessive here. I am the first on to say that a good akidoka will be a good fencer and that our system (provided that it has a weapons syllabus) has all you need to be a good fencer.
At the end of the day, we could say that aikido is fencing principles and "tway of moving" applied to open hand.

However there is a few bits that we "miss" to make us impossible to defend against as far as a trained swordsman is concerned.
By miss I mean they are there in the awasai and the kumitachis with sword and body variation.
So we have all we need but, it is really one step removed of fencing application

I really needed to study German medieval fencing to see the link with a sword fight and how what we do in aikido makes senses fencing wise and how to use it safely

phil
Hang on, think I got the wrong end of the stick, please ignore my previous post. I got a bit confused by your English sorry.

Mike

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Old 06-26-2007, 10:02 AM   #60
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
Don't know much about fencing (European fencing), but if you're talking about aikido being all you need to know about Japanese fencing (kendo) you're plain wrong. The aikido I/we practice has an extensive weapons syllabus with lots of swordwork, my teachers primary teacher was an iaidoka and kendoka as well as aikidoka.
I also study kendo and iaido and I can promise you that most aikidoka who have never studied an external sword art would get eaten alive by even a moderately skilled kendoka. Even with our heavily sword influenced background my aikiken wasn't enough to do anything other than stand my ground against mudansha when I first started kendo.
Mike
hello mike
Well, no I was saying exactly the opposite as I understood that it was exactly what kironin was saying. Basically I think we are on the same length wave, I e There is enough in aikido to make a you a good swordsman but you are missing elementary bit.

I can not talk to much about kendo other than may nephew got is first Dan in japan and that from what I can see it is related in the same way to kenjustsu as olimpic fencing is related to proper fencing. That is if you are so inclined to believe that rapier or small sword fencing is proper fencing (which I am not, both being civilian weapons).

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote: View Post
Also if you think that aikido is just sword principles applied to empty handed techniques it suggests you've probably never studied the Japanese sword in any great depth (at least to me it does). While aikido movements are certainly related to sword movements and other weapons movements they are not the same. Even if aikido movements all derived from sword movements, you cannot reverse engineer aikido movements to produce sword movements (as most aikiken seems to be) that are of any real use.
Mike
I would say that it is probably a matter of the style of aikido you particle and the style of swordsmanship.

I had to do a bit of medieval fencing for a movie (reclaiming the blade) and since there was some projections involved with wrestling at the sword.
I asked my Glorious leader if he would not mind taking ukemi for me and being the baddy. (And that was the occasion for me to snot him back in re-payment for all the time I have been his tatami dusting implement.)

He never handled a long sword of his life but it was dead easy for me to explain what he has to do just by saying it as in the x saburi or that bit of the awasai.
I would say that for him to get Ringeck's longsword would be equivalent to teach someone who can ride how to joust. (basically half a day on couching the lance)

I mean at the technical level, the weapons are very similar, the jo is really what you do when you half-sword.
What I had in mind with the link between swordsmanship was more of a tactical nature, though as you pointed out the some sword/Jo moves can be found in what we do with open hands

phil

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In the Land of Windsor where phlip phlop live.
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Old 06-26-2007, 10:33 AM   #61
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Re: Unbendable arm

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Philippe Willaume wrote: View Post
I can not talk to much about kendo other than may nephew got is first Dan in japan and that from what I can see it is related in the same way to kenjustsu as olimpic fencing is related to proper fencing.
No no no.
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Old 06-26-2007, 10:34 AM   #62
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Re: Unbendable arm

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Philippe Willaume wrote: View Post
hello mike
Well, no I was saying exactly the opposite as I understood that it was exactly what kironin was saying. Basically I think we are on the same length wave
Yeah, noticed that a bit too late, sorry about that

With regard to kendo versus swordsmanship and Olympic fencing versus fencing, yeah, I agree, there are a bunch of distinctions. Though not quite what you had in mind I don't think.

What I think Craig was saying about unbendable arm and swords was that a great many of the waza used for deflecting your opponents blade are more difficult to achieve against someone who is holding the blade in a coordinated manner with unbendable arm and mind and good body coordination. I know this is true from personal experience. In the beginning levels of kendo, kihon keiko ho exercises are practiced, the third of which is harai men (sweeping the opponents sword to one side and striking their head). I've found that if I hold my sword in a calm and coordinated way (i.e. with unbendable arm etc) the harai doesn't really work very well and no opening for the men strike is created.

Mike

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Old 06-26-2007, 11:59 AM   #63
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Philippe Willaume wrote: View Post
Hello
However there is a few bits that we "miss" to make us impossible to defend against as far as a trained swordsman is concerned.
By miss I mean they are there in the awasai and the kumitachis with sword and body variation.
So we have all we need but, it is really one step removed of fencing application
You have missed that I wasn't talking about aikido at that point. Frankly, I wince most of the time I see aikidoist handling a bokken. I was talking as someone who has studied traditional Japaneses swordmanship separate from aikido.

I agree. Aiki-ken is wholly different animal. That was not the context in which I was thinking. Aiki-ken is really exercises in aikido body movement and most of the paired practice if it was to be taken out of that context would need to be completely tossed out. There is an interesting idea here or there but most of it would just get you killed in a real sword engagement.

same for the jo, for that matter.

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Old 06-26-2007, 12:07 PM   #64
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Re: Unbendable arm

Hello
I think we are on the same length wave about kendo and Olympic fencing. Not that both are related just that they are a sporty version of fencing. I.e. the aim is to sore point and strategy and tactic have been developed for that as well as technique optimised to that effect.

I have to say that I did not really understood Craig point and it probably has to do with that difference between kendo and fencing.

If I use the exemple you give with the harai-men
Staying where you are is good for kendo but it is detrimental for fencing.
With the rules of kendo, when grappling is not allowed and the target very specified; he is looking to use the sweep to clean the centre line to gain entrance and strike (the head in our case )
So making the harai fail is good as he does not have other options

Provided that the harai has not been done like a donkey, in fencing he can cover up our sword, using is tsuba,/cross guard to avoid us sliding down the blade and cut his hands and then try to cut in the throat, side of the head or shoulder or simply enter to wrestle.

So we really have interest to take advantage of the fact that harai remove his point from our centreline to act there (by changing through and thrusting to his chest) or if we are taken buy surprise stick to his blade with the long edge (the edge for a one edged blade) as he comes back so that we protect ourselves and hit (cut or thrust him the shoulder/face/upper chest. We can do that omote and ura. (Though ura is better for wrestling.)
I would not be surprised if some kenjutsu school (especially if the like to maintain sword contact), use that harai to present the point and switching to the back edge on his sword as soon as both sword strikes (This exactly what we are told to do I ringeck longsword)

What ever option we use, it is based on the un-bendable arm and aliveness of the hands. But I failed to see that it was indeed usefull for kendo in the way Craig mentioned. (oops)

phil

One Ringeck to bring them all and in darkness bind them,
In the Land of Windsor where phlip phlop live.
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Old 06-26-2007, 12:17 PM   #65
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Re: Unbendable arm

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Craig Hocker wrote: View Post
You have missed that I wasn't talking about aikido at that point. Frankly, I wince most of the time I see aikidoist handling a bokken. I was talking as someone who has studied traditional Japaneses swordmanship separate from aikido.
Hello Craig, yes I totally misunderstood you.
Quote:
Craig Hocker wrote: View Post
I agree. Aiki-ken is wholly different animal. That was not the context in which I was thinking. Aiki-ken is really exercises in aikido body movement and most of the paired practice if it was to be taken out of that context would need to be completely tossed out. There is an interesting idea here or there but most of it would just get you killed in a real sword engagement.

same for the jo, for that matter.
That is an interesting discussion point, thoughI do not really agree. I think all is good in aikiken, no it is not a weapon system as such it is out of context however technically it does make sense.

But may be it is derailing the tread and may be we should start a new one

One Ringeck to bring them all and in darkness bind them,
In the Land of Windsor where phlip phlop live.
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Old 06-26-2007, 06:12 PM   #66
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Re: Unbendable arm

Unbendable arm is an example of extention. It's in many Aikido techniques. Thats what it is. Maybe other Aikido styles call it something else I dont know.
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Old 06-27-2007, 03:22 AM   #67
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Re: Unbendable arm

And here I thought I was unknowingly tapping into the "force".


Last edited by roadster : 06-27-2007 at 03:26 AM.
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Old 06-27-2007, 03:29 AM   #68
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Re: Unbendable arm

lol erik. and I love "the drama" video too.
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Old 06-27-2007, 09:25 AM   #69
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Re: Unbendable arm

[quote=Erik Jacobson;181900]And here I thought I was unknowingly tapping into the "force".

Indeed you are my padawan learner!

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Old 06-28-2007, 02:56 AM   #70
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Re: Unbendable arm

[quote=Larry Cuvin;181931]
Quote:
Erik Jacobson wrote: View Post
And here I thought I was unknowingly tapping into the "force".

Indeed you are my padawan learner!
well you can learn it but not from a jedi

One Ringeck to bring them all and in darkness bind them,
In the Land of Windsor where phlip phlop live.
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Old 06-28-2007, 09:10 AM   #71
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Re: Unbendable arm

Jedi...aikidoka...just semantics.

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Old 06-28-2007, 10:27 AM   #72
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Re: Unbendable arm

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At least before Toyoda Sensei passed away, AAA after reconnecting with the Aikikai in 1990's retained unbendable arm as a part of kyu tests, but it seemed to me to be practiced very little and even then at a very elementary level. Students that followed Toyoda Sensei from Ki Society have a more sophisticated understanding, but in my experience students and more recent teachers did not. I use this as just an example, where there is sort of a loss of transmission because of de-emphasis in training.
I train AAA-style and it's still a pretty important part of our training. It is still part of the first belt test, and it's often the first thing taught in our intro classes. While we don't practice it on its own that much outside of beginners' classes, it's an integral part of every technique we do.
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Old 06-28-2007, 11:27 AM   #73
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Re: Unbendable arm

I was wondering if the practice of "unbendable arm" did originate from Koichi Tohei or if it was performed earlier by either O-Sensei or even Sokaku Takeda. Then I found this article on Aikido Journal:
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=232

At one point, the article describes a demonstration by Sokaku Takeda:

"Then Sokaku called on a huge man named Shoji who was a fifth dan in Judo and said, “You can twist or lower my arm any way you want.” He offered his extended arm to the man. Everyone present was astonished.
A highly skilled judo expert with a large frame, Shoji tried to twist and raise Sokaku’s outstretched arm in various ways, but he could not move it at all. Finally, Shoji stood on the insteps of Sokaku while holding and hanging on his arm. Though he applied great force, he could not lower Sokaku’s arm at all. Shoji was helpless against Sokaku’s muscular arm. Sokaku was a small man, but his arms, which had been trained through the sword since childhood, were hard as the root of a tree. Everyone was surprised at the strength of his arms."


Was this a demonstration of unbendable arm?

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Old 06-28-2007, 03:34 PM   #74
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Re: Unbendable arm

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Cito Maramba wrote: View Post
Was this a demonstration of unbendable arm?
Yes. The main difference is the teaching methodology used by Tohei IMO, which comes from the Tempukai.

Mike

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Old 06-28-2007, 08:22 PM   #75
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Re: Unbendable arm

Quote:
Cito Maramba wrote: View Post
I was wondering if the practice of "unbendable arm" did originate from Koichi Tohei or if it was performed earlier by either O-Sensei or even Sokaku Takeda. Then I found this article on Aikido Journal:
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=232

At one point, the article describes a demonstration by Sokaku Takeda:

"Then Sokaku called on a huge man named Shoji who was a fifth dan in Judo and said, “You can twist or lower my arm any way you want.” He offered his extended arm to the man. Everyone present was astonished.
A highly skilled judo expert with a large frame, Shoji tried to twist and raise Sokaku’s outstretched arm in various ways, but he could not move it at all. Finally, Shoji stood on the insteps of Sokaku while holding and hanging on his arm. Though he applied great force, he could not lower Sokaku’s arm at all. Shoji was helpless against Sokaku’s muscular arm. Sokaku was a small man, but his arms, which had been trained through the sword since childhood, were hard as the root of a tree. Everyone was surprised at the strength of his arms."


Was this a demonstration of unbendable arm?
Quotes from several of those who trained with him declared him as thin and even specifically mentioned that his arms were soft and not well developed. How does that gel with the description of his arms being hard?
Very well if you know what made them feel that way.

Ueshiba's students talked about his arms being slack like an old man's and when he hit the mat to begin training -they "popped" and become like steel.
How does that make sense? It all makes sense if you let go of the muscle-chaining flex ideal.
I think its more important to think of the unbendable mind/ body driving the arm.

Last edited by DH : 06-28-2007 at 08:37 PM.
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