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Old 10-12-2007, 06:42 PM   #51
Dan Bixler
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

Here I am replying to my own post already.

When I said " no chi mystical mumbo jumbo", I didn't mean that Master Hwa doesn't talk about chi, or that I don't believe in it. It' s just that so many Internal CMA teachers try to make their art so mystical that it's hard to understand, let alone learn. They try to tell you that you have to meditate to get the chi to move, or that there are 50 different types of jings that you can only learn after many years of studying with a teacher. I don't think this is right. I think the reason is because some teachers don't know anything about internal movement themselves. Master Hwa definitely knows, and he can teach it.

I also had great improvements in health regarding a back and hip problem, after I began doing Tai Chi the way Master Hwa teaches it in the videos. He has a martial art application video coming out soon.

Just wanted to clarify my earlier statements.
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Old 10-12-2007, 06:54 PM   #52
Mike Sigman
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

Quote:
Dan Bixler wrote: View Post
IFirst of all, I would like to say that I enjoyed the articles by Mike Sigman. I've been a long-time admirer of Mike Sigman and his work.
Don't be. I remember Abbie Hoffman and his book, "Steal this Book". Don't admire me at all... get what you can from me and then beat me at my own game. You're a Marine... so was I.
Quote:
When I once told him he was great, he told me. "I'm nothing. You should see my teacher." You know who his teacher was?"

Me: "No."

Wayne: "Tohei Sensei"
Beat those guys, too. Once you accept the idea that so-and-so was some impossibly great because he was Japanese (or Asian or whatever) and White Guilt gives you an insurmountable disadvantage, you're done. You can beat everyone if you try hard enough and you're smart enough. That's the attitude that the old guys had.... have it yourself.
Quote:
Wayne was an awesome teacher. Not only could he do the stuff, he could teach it better than anyone I've ever met.
I think I can kick his butt and I can teach better than he can.... but we don't know that until we put it on the line and try it out, do we? So let's accept that as the correct attitude to have because it moves us onward and upward. THAT'S the way do it!
Quote:
I e-mailed Andrew Nugent Head of Yin Style Bagua, and this was a part of his reply that really stuck with me:
"If you can lose the idea that there is some sort of power or force that comes from outside or through only meditation or via some secret given by a teacher, you are already far ahead of the game of most people interested in Chinese arts." I agree with him.
I haven't met Andrew, but I saw him on video with the guy he studied with, Shi Ming. I think I know stuff that Andrew was never shown. But I could be wrong and be a buffoon to boot... you need to check it out and see, right?
Quote:
I've recently been studying by video from Master Stephen Hwa. He is far better at articulating how to move internally than any other teacher I've seen since my Aikido teacher. I can't wait to study with him in person. He was so generous as to go out of his way twice in an attempt to meet with me in my hometown, while he was travelling through PA. Unfortunately, I was too busy to meet with him at those times. Soon, I will finish school and make sure that I meet him. Here is the web site for Master Hwa and Classical Tai Chi. There are also several good videos on Youtube. However, I feel the videos I purchased from Master Hwa were much better, as they cover much more.

http://www.classicaltaichi.com/

I was curious what Mike Sigman thinks, and if he's heard of Master Hwa. I'm very impressed with Master Hwa's knowledge and his ability to convey it. No mystical chi mumbo jumbo from him. Just plain, easy to understand explanations of how you should move and why. Tai Chi is really tough if practiced this way. His videos are by far the best martial art instructional videos I've ever seen. There is many years worth of learning on 5 DVDs. Incredible stuff, IMHO.

I'm also wondering if Mike Sigman has found that the internal discipline is pretty much the same in Tai Chi, Bagua, XingYi, and Aikido?
Fair enough. You're asking blunt, honest questions that show you're focused on what's real and what's not real. Certainly the common perception of guys kicking butt because they wear black culottes is not true... so keep looking. P.M. me and I'll give you some suggestions of what *I* think... but don't take anything I say as the final word in anything.

Best.

Mike
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Old 10-13-2007, 08:36 PM   #53
Thomas Campbell
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
[snip] I haven't met Andrew, but I saw him on video with the guy he studied with, Shi Ming. [snip]
Andrew trained in Yin shi baguazhang with He Jinbao:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn2FA...elated&search=

[Andrew is translating/narrating the video clip]

The late Shi Ming was a taijiquan student who trained with Wei Shuren and others:

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

Thomas Cleary translated a book that Shi Ming cowrote several years ago, called "Mind Over Matter: Higher Martial Arts"--
http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Over-Matt...2325396&sr=8-2

Andrew did not study with Shi Ming.
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Old 10-14-2007, 02:32 PM   #54
Mike Sigman
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

Quote:
Thomas Campbell wrote: View Post
Andrew trained in Yin shi baguazhang with He Jinbao:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn2FA...elated&search=

[Andrew is translating/narrating the video clip]

The late Shi Ming was a taijiquan student who trained with Wei Shuren and others:

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

Thomas Cleary translated a book that Shi Ming cowrote several years ago, called "Mind Over Matter: Higher Martial Arts"--
http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Over-Matt...2325396&sr=8-2

Andrew did not study with Shi Ming.
In the famous Bill Moyers video about qi, etc., Andrew is shown as one of Shi Ming's students in the buffoonery in the park where Andrew was "student" who couldn't throw Shi Ming, went flying back at Shi Ming's gestures, and so forth. I've always heard that while he certainly studied other arts, he was also a student, at least to some degree, of Shi Ming's. I'll bet YouTube or someplace like it has some of the Moyers clips of Shi Ming with AN-H assisting.

Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 10-14-2007, 08:39 PM   #55
Thomas Campbell
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
In the famous Bill Moyers video about qi, etc., Andrew is shown as one of Shi Ming's students in the buffoonery in the park where Andrew was "student" who couldn't throw Shi Ming, went flying back at Shi Ming's gestures, and so forth. [snip]
I stand corrected. I'd forgotten about the clip you mention, which can be seen here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzIjUR-mHCY

Andrew is the taller American man with the ponytail, who first appears in the line of students pushing on Shi Ming at about 3:34 of the clip. Bill Moyers identifies him as Andrew a little later in the clip. I also checked independently.
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:20 PM   #56
Mike Sigman
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

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Thomas Campbell wrote: View Post
I stand corrected. I'd forgotten about the clip you mention, which can be seen here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzIjUR-mHCY

Andrew is the taller American man with the ponytail, who first appears in the line of students pushing on Shi Ming at about 3:34 of the clip. Bill Moyers identifies him as Andrew a little later in the clip. I also checked independently.
My point was only that I don't particularly put weight on anything Andrew says, given his on-record self-immolation of credibility.

Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 10-15-2007, 01:32 AM   #57
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

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I don't think it is so much who has it an who doesn't. I haven't met anyone that I would consider to necessarily be "complete" that is, you can quantify with any kind of litmus test..."yep, he has it."

That said, there are many people I have trained with that martially have various parts of what I consider to be "IT".
...
I try to identify it, and work with them as I work with myself.
I am always struck by the reversion to this two letter word as substitute for the property of movement "that dare not speak its name."

This argument about "it" -- who has "it" and what "it" is -- cannot be answered in terms of "it." "IT" has not been defined in terms that are generalizable, but only exists in terms that are specific and subjectively verifiable. You know it when you feel "it." At least that is what we are left with in the terms that are being used to frame the diiscussion.

For this reason, I forgive the inevitable throw-down challenges on this topic of those who want to "feel it" from others as a preliminary to discussion about "it" so as to know that they are speaking in the same terms and not at cross purposes. Their point is well-taken in traditional terms. I am not working the way forward in entirely traditional terms, so that aspect is of far less concern to me, although it does usefully inform the basis for their discussion in their terms.

To make a poitn I will refer to PBS special this past Sunday that detailed the crafitng of the Japanese sword, its historical origins, and a modern, traditionally made sword from the tatara to the art house display case, and all points between, in terms of both its manufacture and its traditional uses. An excllent documentary.

It was stressed with the traditional methods of crafting the blade that their uses of "subjective feel" formed by decades of apprenticeship and hard practice was rigorously attended by the intensive religious rituals that formed and preserved that process in its reproducible integrity.

There was also a parallel engineering discussion describing the aesthetic beauty of the tool in its shaping and substance for efficiency and performance its designed function. There are things that we can know about how they are constituted and how their function is altered in various ways, that was able to expand upon the traditional understanding in very important and informative ways.

The engineers were able to explain, in functional physical terms WHY some things were done a certain way and the changes in the material that resulted in the alteration of its functions. They were able to explain WHY some things were done as a matter of interim results in the process as it continued, that were originally done simply because they provided an acceptable ultimate result by the traditional ritualized method shaped by educated trial and error in a more evolutionary process.

Nothing substitutes for craft, but adding new dimensions of understanding can only add to knowledge and facility in doing things with it. In light of the present discussion, here are then two alternatives (by no measn mutually exlcusive) to address in correcting the observed technical concerns of modern aikido in the teaching process that are the subtext of this discussion. They are in parallel with the ways in which swords are made and understood. Either one would help.

The first alternative is a more rigorous acceptance of traditional religiously guided ritualized learning in non-explanatory ways. This was an obvious focus of O Sensei, even as he explicitly accepted its limited utility for others. This adherence to the religiousity of exacting detail in the production of the blade with a limited understanding of the nature of interim results is the key to the survival of sword technology today in Japan as a rigorously reproducible technological feat in its ultimate achievement. It is a way of teaching that is unlikely to be usefully duplicated outside of Japan. It is in short supply and increasingly lacking broad understanding even there. It is too specific, too implicit in its assumed references and the non-analytic nature of its process for Westerners to take in everything that the ritualized observance actually does encode and transmit. Useful efforts have been made to adapt and explain these concepts to Westerners. We are, generally speaking however, simply ill-fitted to accept what it has to teach in those terms. For that matter exceedingly few Japanese today are so equipped, either.

The second alternative it is lacking is a generalizable, objective physical description of its functional dynamics. This is something that Westerners are good at and have haltingly attempted, (as well as many Japanese uchideshi coming here originally) often in metaphorical terms or "recipe" terminology that serves as guide for the subjective "feel" meant to be attained after sufficient training.

But no one has yet provided a rigorous, objective physical description of what is occurring and how it functions. I have developed my thought going along here, subejct to legitimate ( and illiegitimate) attacks, precisely in order to be challenged conceptually by those here who would do it constructively ( or otherwise). My effort is bearing fruit, at least for me. Whether I can adequately encapsulate and expound it as well as others might do remains to be seen. Once all my ducks are lined up, and some remaining ends tied up, I may give it a try intended for the use of persons rather than merely to better inform my own practice.

But whoever most clearly accomplishes this objective, it MUST be done in terms that are generally accepted because they are not subject to any objectively reasonable dispute from those who are capable and can critically observe. Until then, these discussions will continue, less usefully, to my mind, in this mode: The "it" that dare not speak its name.

While "it" is obviously serving at present as an ad hoc, third alternative to those I have outlined, it is not really working very well for purposes of critical description or comparison. "It" (as a conceptual framework, anyway) causes more arguments than "it" resolves

Some of us are striving to give "it" a proper name, in objective physical terms. That will make it far more generally transferable across culture boundaries, as rocket technology is now transmitted without regard to such boundaries. This does not diminish the value of craft, tradition or the need for hard work to do it -- it merely give its a different set of definitions to explain its functions in objective terms and thus provide some tools now missing in explaining more easily how to achieve them.

Terms slightly better, in any event, than merely "IT."

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:40 AM   #58
G DiPierro
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
But whoever most clearly accomplishes this objective, it MUST be done in terms that are generally accepted because they are not subject to any objectively reasonable dispute from those who are capable and can critically observe. Until then, these discussions will continue, less usefully, to my mind, in this mode: The "it" that dare not speak its name.
...
Some of us are striving to give "it" a proper name, in objective physical terms. That will make it far more generally transferable across culture boundaries, as rocket technology is now transmitted without regard to such boundaries. This does not diminish the value of craft, tradition or the need for hard work to do it -- it merely give its a different set of definitions to explain its functions in objective terms and thus provide some tools now missing in explaining more easily how to achieve them.

Terms slightly better, in any event, than merely "IT."
If you are looking for a more objective approach to what the "it" in this discussion is, you might start here. While the Japanese sword has already been studied in depth from by Western metallurgy, this form of movement seems to be still something new to researchers. So while I would agree with you that more scientific knowledge of "it" would be useful, I think it is going to have to come from laboratory research in the form of peer-reviewed studies of the those who have "it", not from posts on discussion forums from people with no qualifications, either scientific or martial, speculating about what they think "it" is.
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Old 10-15-2007, 04:45 AM   #59
dps
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

More empirical evidence and less " leap of faith".

David

Last edited by dps : 10-15-2007 at 04:50 AM.
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Old 10-15-2007, 09:07 PM   #60
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

Erick,

Not sure I can follow everything you are saying, but this thought comes to mind.

Driving a car.

There is a certain amount of knowledge one needs to drive or sustain driving a car. When you get down to it, really one really need to know very little to complete the task.

As a society to get to that point, a bunch of things had to happen. Combustion theory, understanding laws of inertia, thermodynamics, physics, math...lots of complicated things.

Heck, I can even build a pretty darn good race car with very limited knowledge simply by following the recipe that others have done.

I think the same with the sword. The guy cutting with it need not know how to build it, he was only skilled in using it.

Knowledge management works this way with everything. Macrosopically and collectively, we can know a great deal about stuff, but microsopically and in the details, we may know very little and yet, we still go about doing the things we do every day!

Somethings become intuitive.

A laugh a little thinking about the guy that may not get into a car because he hasn't figured it all out, and is a little scared to go that fast until he empirically possesses all knowledge and possibilities about how it might work (or not work!).

At some point we have to simply say "well everyone else seems to be okay doing it." and take a leap of faith based on the experiences of others that we will be okay.

It is interesting that many will get in a car, yet won't fly in a plane that is statistically safer.

I think this is very salient to the topic at hand!

Anyway, "IT" to me is defined differently by everyone. I agree that in order to have a half way intelligent conversation microsopically about "IT" requires a deep understanding of what both are talking about. Many arguments ensue here because both parties simply are talking past each other!

I define "IT" for myself based on my experiences of IT and what I consider to be IT as it relates to Budo and martial arts in general. That interpretation changes daily as I discover a deeper understanding of myself and the physicality of dealing with others.

I don't so much care to know the laws of physics or thermodynamics as related to "IT"...I simply want to be able to "drive the car" a little better than I did the day before!

Good discussion!

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Old 10-16-2007, 02:03 PM   #61
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I simply want to be able to "drive the car" a little better than I did the day before!
http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthread.php?t=37984
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Old 10-16-2007, 03:03 PM   #62
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Driving a car.

There is a certain amount of knowledge one needs to drive or sustain driving a car. When you get down to it, really one really need to know very little to complete the task.

Heck, I can even build a pretty darn good race car with very limited knowledge simply by following the recipe that others have done.

I think the same with the sword. The guy cutting with it need not know how to build it, he was only skilled in using it.

Somethings become intuitive.

I don't so much care to know the laws of physics or thermodynamics as related to "IT"...I simply want to be able to "drive the car" a little better than I did the day before!

Good discussion!
Good analogy. Let me extend it for further consideration.

First, your analogy is spot on, but we are not just driving the family sedan to soccer and back, in the intuitive mode we obtain be mere frequency of ordinary action. We are training to be much closer to the high speed, low margin for error end of the racing spectrum, at least that is what budo ought to require.

A racer develops a desire to learn everything that might be relevant in all the technical elements that go into the slim margin of performance differential he is trying to achieve -- from what ever sources that reduction in error or increases in performance may come. That includes, in the racing environment, an objective and analytical as well subjective and synthetic understanding of friction, aerodynamics, combustion chemistry, collision mechanics, applied torque and precession and a host of other disciplines that might bear on that high degree of performance, and low tolerance for error that is required.

All to go in circles on a closed track. (snark )

All these arguments are legitimately about better ways or overlooked issues, approaches or disciplines that may push one toward more firmly that end of the spectrum.

Second, we are not just using the sword. Our bodies are the sword. We shape it in the same process that we are routinely using it. You can't just hand it to a sword polisher and tell him to bring it back when it is sharp enough. Like the skilled polisher we have to be knowledgable about the consequences of inconsistent blade geometry, the ways in which it may affect the ultimate performance, and attend to methods and factors involved in shaping that may add or detract from that required degree of precision .

Like understanding the functions of blade geometry (or its metallurgy), we need a consistent reference to principles of action to help us decide what functions to try to train for more intuitive action, That way we can identify and refine training methods or approaches that will make those actions intuitive, or more likely so.

I pointed out that in swordcraft the traditional means are synthetic, with a literally religious intensity driving its attention to both rigor and detail. It does that very effectively. That Way requires a level of inculturation much harder for us to duplicate, and for which we have no ready substitutes.

We do, however, have our own analytic Way. It may allow pursuing "it" according to our own inherent strengths. We can capably apply our own Way to the methods and principles by which we train, if we choose to do so. It can still hew to traditional synthetic understanding, by more clearly setting it forth explicitly in our terms of reference. That is my current effort.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 10-16-2007 at 03:08 PM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 10-16-2007, 03:29 PM   #63
Aran Bright
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

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Giancarlo DiPierro wrote: View Post
If you are looking for a more objective approach to what the "it" in this discussion is, you might start here. While the Japanese sword has already been studied in depth from by Western metallurgy, this form of movement seems to be still something new to researchers. So while I would agree with you that more scientific knowledge of "it" would be useful, I think it is going to have to come from laboratory research in the form of peer-reviewed studies of the those who have "it", not from posts on discussion forums from people with no qualifications, either scientific or martial, speculating about what they think "it" is.
I don't how you would ever form a review panel when there is such a disagreement over what "it" is and who has "it" and therefore who can recognise "it".

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Old 10-16-2007, 05:31 PM   #64
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Good analogy. Let me extend it for further consideration.

First, your analogy is spot on, but we are not just driving the family sedan to soccer and back, in the intuitive mode we obtain be mere frequency of ordinary action. We are training to be much closer to the high speed, low margin for error end of the racing spectrum, at least that is what budo ought to require.

A racer develops a desire to learn everything that might be relevant in all the technical elements that go into the slim margin of performance differential he is trying to achieve -- from what ever sources that reduction in error or increases in performance may come. That includes, in the racing environment, an objective and analytical as well subjective and synthetic understanding of friction, aerodynamics, combustion chemistry, collision mechanics, applied torque and precession and a host of other disciplines that might bear on that high degree of performance, and low tolerance for error that is required.

All to go in circles on a closed track. (snark )
Actually as a track enthusiast who has more hours of high speed training than your average police officer, I find this analogy quite amusing.

Understanding the physical mechanism behind oversteer, understeer, brake fade, aerodynamics, fuel ratios, etc, may in fact help one understand the phenomina conceptually, it does not in fact help the skill development in and of itself. Every high performance driving school I have been to has talked about the physics behind these skills, but in fact it is seat time (the analog to hands on training with a teacher when talking about internal skills) which develops these skills.

Developing high performance driving skills require developing feel. How do I know what it feels like when I am about to loose grip? How can I tell by feel when I am understeering/oversteering? How do I use these mechanisms to rotate the car around the corner at higher speed than utilzing total grip (the answer it requires hands on expereince and feel)? How do I know how to do threshold breaking without kicking in the ABS, or for a non-ABS car without locking up my wheels? When I am in car, with an instructor, we aren't talking about the physical mechanics of why I just spun out, rather we are talking about how it felt right before I spun out.

When you first start, feel in a driving context is misleading of crouse, as what we all think of as fast (sudden abrubt movements) isn't really fast. The same applies in terms of IMA power generation. Racer's don't necessarily report what the guages are reading back to the pit crew, thats what telematics are for, rather they report back how the car feels to the pit crew, though that knowledge may be aided by technical knowledge.

Now, talking about your average driver, they simply drive with no consideration at all of the physics, conceptual or not (which is why you simply hear, I lost control of the car in a wreck). They have no need to either, the car simply works.
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Old 10-16-2007, 06:23 PM   #65
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

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Aran Bright wrote: View Post
I don't how you would ever form a review panel when there is such a disagreement over what "it" is and who has "it" and therefore who can recognise "it".
That's not quite how peer review works. Science is done by creating a falsifiable hypothesis and then designing an experiment to test that hypothesis. Peer review just makes sure the experiment is designed correctly, the conclusions follow from the data, and the findings are meaningful enough to publish. Over the course of several such published experiments a scientific discourse evolves on a particular subject.

The internet is great for a lot of things, but speculating on how something works on an internet discussion forum is not a valid form of scientific research.
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Old 10-16-2007, 06:58 PM   #66
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

Aran,

The jujitsu peeps in Oz have been doing this for decades. For them, it is no longer about "style" but about preserving the "art". There are 2 jujitsu organizations (politics!) to which all jujitsu-ryu will be members of one or the other. There are specific technical requirements common to all jujitsu styles. To conduct a grading, one merely requires a panel of higher level jujitsu-ka. So, in terms of peer review, everyone knows what the basic standards are and what's in the common technical syllabus. The principles of Ju are immutable - anyone purporting to teach jujitsu ought to know what these are, and what the basic technical requirements are.

I had the opportunity to sit on a jujitsu shodan grading panel last year, and even signed the candidate's certificate - right below a Shihan's (from a different ryu) signature - and I'm not even a jujitsu anything, much less an aikido anything. How's that for peer review?

Ignatius
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Old 10-16-2007, 07:20 PM   #67
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

Erick/Ricky/Hunter

Good stuff.

Summing it up you "train as you fight, fight as you train." that is what we say in the Army.

It is pretty simple, you see or experience something, you say "hey, I want to do that too!" then you approximate the behaviors and conditions that lead to you being able to do it.

Martial training I think really works that way. You find someone that is doing something, or feels like something, or looks like something you want to be...and you ask them "how do you do that?"

Hopefully they are honest with you and you do what they say, get some assistance, and you are eventually able to do the things that they do.

Too many times I think we get caught up in esoterics, theory, or simulation and training becomes an intellectual, or feel good practice.

We are either afraid to "get behind the wheel" for fear of wasting our time doing something that may not lead to what we want.

We get behind the wheel, think we are really driving, but we are really in a "driving simulator or game" and convice ourselves that we are really driving, or good indeed enter the Indy 500 since we did well in the game! I think much practice is really like that in Martial Arts!

Or we take driving lessons from someone that really isn't qualified to drive, but did stay in the Holiday Inn!

However, it doesn't really matter because most will never know that the guy teaching them doesn't really understand about driving since they are only interested in driving the video game and feeling good about how well they are doing compared to all the other video game players!

Finding someone with real skill, that can replicate it, show you how to train to do it, and set the conditions correctly for you to achieve that same endstate is what is key for me.

I don't really need to understand how, or why he does what he does...only that we agree on what the desired endstate will be, and he can show me the steps, exercises, or share the knowledge to get there.

Even with that...I think it is rare to find those that are still willing to do all that, even with this in place!

If it were common...then diet fads that all these guys get rich on would go away!

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Old 10-17-2007, 07:03 AM   #68
Budd
 
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

The other part is always assuming that there's lots out there that you don't know. This helps prevent the senior syndrome of "Oh, now I understand, they're doing xyz" . . . then make the following two errors:

1) Presume they now understand xyz.
2) Attempt to teach xyz.
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Old 10-17-2007, 08:36 AM   #69
Aran Bright
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

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Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
Aran,

The jujitsu peeps in Oz have been doing this for decades. For them, it is no longer about "style" but about preserving the "art". There are 2 jujitsu organizations (politics!) to which all jujitsu-ryu will be members of one or the other. There are specific technical requirements common to all jujitsu styles. To conduct a grading, one merely requires a panel of higher level jujitsu-ka. So, in terms of peer review, everyone knows what the basic standards are and what's in the common technical syllabus. The principles of Ju are immutable - anyone purporting to teach jujitsu ought to know what these are, and what the basic technical requirements are.

I had the opportunity to sit on a jujitsu shodan grading panel last year, and even signed the candidate's certificate - right below a Shihan's (from a different ryu) signature - and I'm not even a jujitsu anything, much less an aikido anything. How's that for peer review?
Firstly to Mr DiPierro,

Thanks for pointing that out, I am not a scientist. And I am not trying to be too serious about this discussion. Science is wonderful, truly, but if I wait around for science to get to the bottom of 'it', I'll be too old to worry about 'it'.

Ignatius,

Thanks for that bit of insight, I guess nearly all gradings must be 'peer-reviewed', in a sense. But then again, who cares about gradings, right?

Wasn't this discussion about an article or something?

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Old 10-17-2007, 11:11 AM   #70
Lee Salzman
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

As has been said: "IT" is a bogeyman.

If you accept the premise that "qi" is the essence of all Eastern martian arts, and that it's the same everywhere, then you can start accepting anything you want. It's reasoning backwards. To take it out of context, one might say they know "animals" or will someday come to understand all animals, if they have just been studying and will only ever study "birds" all their life, but that's pretty much false.

No point in going to the extremes of absolute ignorance of the subject, or also insisting on complete analytical understanding. But you need a description of the goal and it must be practical, functional, and realizable, and one must have a way of verifying they are moving towards the outcome. If that is in place, then the how, or at least how to start working out the method of how, should become apparent. But for all the years of talking about "IT", I haven't seen that.

Once the goal is there, the how I think will take the form of: just practice, practice in circumstances where you can understand where your mistakes are coming from, and work on correcting them. At first, in the simplest possible circumstances, then working up to more demanding situations until the most demanding situation you have practiced meets or exceeds the goal. A to B, in steps, where the steps have the right direction. There might even be multiple sub-goals to get to the outcome.

Some examples (not related to "IT"):
  • Goal: rapid, extreme power release over short or non-existent distances.
  • Sub-goals might be: rapidity of release, intensity of activation, completeness of activation, range of motion of release.
  • How might be: practice these in the simplest circumstances that can eventually be extended to the final application. Maybe starting at one static position, or maybe its simple isolated movements that are gradually reduced to a static position, practicing activating and deactivating everything, working on how quickly its done, the space over which its done, etc.
  • Verification might be: video taping speed for comparison, trying against a heavy bag to see movement or have a live target verify to gauge intensity, all manner of new-fangled pressure/timescale measuring equipment, having someone palpate your muscles during practice to ensure all things are assisting.

Or another example might be:
  • Goal: complete movement of the body against all levels of external resistance and practical motions
  • Sub-goals might be: completeness of activation in movement, movement against external resistance
  • How might be: practice moving while verifying activation everywhere, first in simpler movements then in unpatterned movement, then at varying levels of internal resistance and then with a partner who offers gradually increasing levels of unpatterned resistance.
  • Verification might be: practicing against partners of increasing strength and skill until they can't unsettle you, or using non-live forms of resistance that can be quantified.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 10-17-2007 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 10-17-2007, 01:45 PM   #71
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
Every high performance driving school I have been to has talked about the physics behind these skills, but in fact it is seat time (the analog to hands on training with a teacher when talking about internal skills) which develops these skills.
Good points from Kevin and Hunter. There is no substitute for subjective experience, but there is also no substitute for objective understanding. I won't dwell on implicit presumptive judgments from writings, one way or the other. I also won't clobber the discussion with a rather lengthy summation that Hunter's post prompted me to pull together from my strands of continuing work on these topics from these and some offline discussions I have been having, I think it clarifies the state of my thoughts on physical mechanics, perception and aiki.

If any one is interested, I have posted them here: http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/but-why...and-aiki-3083/
If not, well God bless, and pass the mustard. If, however, you find the following image resonates at all with your experience of aikido dynamics (the 3d path depicted changes along its length of travel from initially red through purple to blue ), you might waste ten minutes reading it:
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Last edited by Erick Mead : 10-17-2007 at 01:51 PM.

Cordially,

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Old 10-19-2007, 09:34 AM   #72
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

Gawd, the only people who argue or question what "it" is are people who haven't taken the time to seek out someone with "it" and feel "it" for themselves.

The whole thing isn't mysterious. There might be different explanations for why "it" works, or how to achieve "it", but noone who has felt "it" has a problem recognizing "it" in others.
  • To begin with, there are postural clues. These clues can be imitated, but you won't see someone with "it" without them. These include things like a high head, shoulders pulled back and down, a more or less straight back, and a certain style of movement.
  • Second, people with "it" have a very coordinated, unified movement. Their feet, hands, and hips move as one. The head/hips/shoulders/ankles don't lead the rest of the body. This is a pretty big clue, at least for me. It took me a little while comparing people with "it" and people who don't before I could see the difference, but now that I can it's really obvious. Do you notice the difference between, say, Kuroda Tetsuzan and James Williams (both excellent swordsmen)?
  • If you find someone with a really developed dantien, their abdomen will actually shift left/right/up/down as they move (it's kinda weird when you first notice this).
  • People with "it" also have a certain relaxed power. This also took me a bit to see, but now it's also really obvious. This can be confusing at first because there are tricks for applying "relaxed" force without "it". Look at [ this video ] of Akuzawa. Can you see the difference between the "wrong" way to do kokyo-ho (0:30) and the "right" way (0:35)?

These things are all very easy to spot, but you need to spend a little time with people who have "it" before you can tell the difference.

...

OK, enough ranting. Mike, I asked my teacher about breathing exercises, because we don't focus on them in my class. His argument was that you don't really need to worry about them. He said if you focused on standing/moving exercises, the breathing stuff will appear naturally along with the manifestation of body connection. (And interestingly enough, a couple days before you wrote this piece, a fellow student of mine described this same phenomenon---the inflating feeling---showing up in his own practice, without doing any special exercises.)

Response?

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Old 10-19-2007, 09:46 AM   #73
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

Quote:
Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post
Mike, I asked my teacher about breathing exercises, because we don't focus on them in my class. His argument was that you don't really need to worry about them. He said if you focused on standing/moving exercises, the breathing stuff will appear naturally along with the manifestation of body connection. (And interestingly enough, a couple days before you wrote this piece, a fellow student of mine described this same phenomenon---the inflating feeling---showing up in his own practice, without doing any special exercises.)
Well, it's kind of like the argument that the "subtle" part of a good tenkan is blending with an opponent. On one level, that's true, but there's a deeper level than that. The idea that you get all the breathing stuff you need in exercise, forms, applications, etc., is true, but it's only true on a coarser level than you can get into with focused breathing exercises.

Actually, if just moving and breathing stuff would do it, that's what I would have recommended in my carefully-thought-out series. The recommendation I gave for the breathing is the closest I could come to showing the more subtle path, in a written description. What you're discussing, BTW, is the heart of the old battle between "Shaolin" and "Internal styles".

O-Sensei and Tohei actually use the more subtle and desirable "soft" and "relaxed" approach. Some of the other approaches being discussed tend to be more of the "Shaolin" approach. But at some time, people have to be able to figure these things out for themselves or at least have the motivation to go find out.

Note, BTW, that O-Sensei and Tohei used separate breathing exercises, too.

Best.

Mike
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:40 AM   #74
Walker
 
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

Quote:
# Second, people with "it" have a very coordinated, unified movement. Their feet, hands, and hips move as one. The head/hips/shoulders/ankles don't lead the rest of the body. This is a pretty big clue, at least for me. It took me a little while comparing people with "it" and people who don't before I could see the difference, but now that I can it's really obvious. Do you notice the difference between, say, Kuroda Tetsuzan and James Williams (both excellent swordsmen)?
Not to nit pic or anything, but the second clip is not James Williams.

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Old 10-19-2007, 02:42 PM   #75
Timothy WK
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Re: Article by Mike Sigman

Quote:
Doug Walker wrote: View Post
Not to nit pic or anything, but the second clip is not James Williams.
Crap, you're right, I copied the wrong link. I apologize, [ here's the one ] I meant to link.

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