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Old 02-27-2008, 02:46 PM   #76
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: why focus on internal power

Quote:
Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote:
Ki/Kokyu training continues to fail to bestow a sense of respect, etiquette, or humility upon its practitioners. This is an area where the non-ki/kokyu elements of nihon budo training seem to be much more effective. Aikido has more gokui than just aiki and kokyu, and they are just as important, even if they generate less enthusiasm on the internets.

Sounds like another spiritual slap at someone by Benjamin Edelen. Benjamin, do you have anything to contribute to the conversation other than that? Why don't you start another thread on the gokui in Aikido that you know about and let's see how many of them are not dependent on ki/kokyu skills. It would be an interesting conversation.

Mike Sigman
One thing that concerns me is that some take the conversations that we have here as a lack of respect for one another or lack of humility.

I don't see that as the case at all.

For most of us, I think we generally are trying to peel back the layers of the onion and are constructively debating various topics, concepts, and issues.

What I like about the conversations is the honesty. It is of great help to me.

What I really disdain is the pseudo harmony and peace crap that call for us to be polite to everyone's face only to talk about them behind their back, or to confirm our ego's quietly without ever even speaking a word.

This is not harmony or resolution or growth, but denial and avoidance.

I can have a debate with Mike Sigman, Cady, or anyone else. Still respect them as fellow human beings and marital artist, train with them in a civilized manner, yet still debate and discuss.

This is how we learn and grow.

Heck, everyone hear is a notch up in my book of respect because at least they are alive and thinking critiically. Most people I incur in daily life, get up, brush their teeth, go to work, and go home, and never really give much deep thought to such complex things as life!

"Why can't we all just get along" does not work for me!

 
Old 02-27-2008, 03:04 PM   #77
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Re: why focus on internal power

I actually agree that most if not all of aikido's gokui benefit from or even overlap with ki/kokyu. That is not relevant to my above post, however. The ability to crawl does not bestow the ability to walk. Lets work this thought experiment. Rei is an important aikido gokui taught seriously at dojos all around the world. You have made it clear that you, being the living litmus test for who does and does not have ki/kokyu skills, find majority of the aikido world wanting in these areas, yet the majority of aikido practitioners reflect a far better grasp of martial etiquette than you or me. The proof of this is that the majority of aikido practitioners are not tossing vitriol at each other on the internet, frantically refreshing the page to see who takes our bait. I know I am guilty of this, and it is not particularly my favorite part of myself. Do you think that if I study ki/kokyu skills harder, I will, over time, become less abrasive on the internet? My guess is that this prescription, while a valuable addition to any martial repertoire, will not cure what ails me.
 
Old 02-27-2008, 03:17 PM   #78
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Re: why focus on internal power

Ron, re-read my post. I did not call the character of any nihon budo practitioner into question. Quite the opposite. I merely implied that ki/kokyu power is no guarantee of a winning personality. You and many others here, not including me, are great folks who should not be subjected to the likes of me and those who share my proclivity for drumming up drama on the internet
 
Old 02-27-2008, 03:17 PM   #79
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Re: why focus on internal power

Benjamin,

I am assuming you are referring to Mike.

Actually Mike is a pretty darn good litmus test for what is or isn't Ki if you have worked with him.

There are many aikidoka, experienced ones who do agree with his crticial assessment that aikido as an overall institution is lacking much in this area. I would tend to agree. Mike is basing this not on a few seminars, but on a life time of study, AND he can tell you and show you why.

As far as Rei, you'd have to define exactly what you mean by this? "Drink the kool aid"?

In my experiences he has always qualified his criticisms constructively. It is never "this guy sucks, because I said so!" There is qualified critique.

What is an example of failure to demonstrate Rei?

 
Old 02-27-2008, 03:28 PM   #80
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Re: why focus on internal power

Kevin, I wasn't being sarcastic about Mike, I am aware of his abilities and that he knows what he is talking about. I find his criticism is often less than constructive. I suppose that is a matter of opinion. I'm no master of constructive criticism either.
 
Old 02-27-2008, 03:35 PM   #81
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Re: why focus on internal power

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Internal power is the product of proper training, which I believe Rob, Mike, and Dan have all stated on numerous occasions. Basically, internal power is value neutral, it is a skill but could be used for good or evil.
Reading back, this is the exact point I was trying to make, admittedly made rather more elegant by Ledyard Sensei. No kind of power automatically makes you a good person.
 
Old 02-27-2008, 04:12 PM   #82
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Re: why focus on internal power

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Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
You have made it clear that you, being the living litmus test for who does and does not have ki/kokyu skills, find majority of the aikido world wanting in these areas,
Give me a cite, please.

Mike Sigman
 
Old 02-27-2008, 04:15 PM   #83
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Re: why focus on internal power

Kevin,
I did not, even for a moment, take any of your comments as being argumentative or that you were issuing a challenge. Likewise, my reply was not intended to sound as though I were interpreting you that way. That's the flaw of Internet communications, I guess -- no nuance, no vocal tone, no body language. Just silly smilies to convey any underlying "intent." Take your pick here:

Some help, huh?


I, for one, enjoy this opportunity to engage in intelligent discussion of what are often sensitive and controversial subjects. AikiWeb is a good and easily accessible venue for it (thanks, Jun!).

That said, I would caution all here to keep a careful delineation between the moral/spiritual/emotional side of aikido and the physical stuff -- we can accept as a "given" that the two go hand-in-hand (though subject to different interpretations of just how, and what that means), so for the moment let's just talk about those separate components. For the sake of discussion, let's not confuse pragmatic, direct physical application of skills with the greater purpose of aikido (and yes, other forms of budo/bujutsu) in "building a better you" in all respects.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Cady,
I am honestly not trying to be argumentative or challenging. Definitely NOT looking to "throw down" by any means.

As a military man, I deal with things in very clear and concise terms. That is Tasks, Conditions, Standards and clear defineable endstates.

I'd be happy to discuss at great lengths real world applications of such powers in a very objectifiable way. That is defining the parameters, conditions, constraints, and standards..that is a framework upon which we can discuss or demonstrate how these apply in the real world.

It can be anything from working with primates, mental applications, spiritual, or martially. I think martially is what most people are interested in.

I offer this in a geniune and honest way, not in a "prove it to me way". I am way past accepting this method of training as I have bought into it and I am trying to implement it.

My main goal is to synthesize it into my training and find practical real world application on a daily basis.

So naturally I am eager to meet and/or discuss with those that can provide me that insight.

Mike can attest that I am no where near being able to do or replicate these skills enough to do so, and I probably need to just shut up and do what he has very graciously spent time with me on and come back to him after I have done my homework (which I will).

But, when I hear that there are those that have knowledge, can articulate, and can demonstrate real world application it certainly gets my attention and I would love to see the endstate of where I am trying to go!

So, real world applications do intrigue me, and I tend to spend time dissecting or "war gaming" the situations, parameters, and conditions that surround them.

That's what military officers get paid to do, and that is how I am wired.

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 02-27-2008 at 04:17 PM.
 
Old 02-27-2008, 05:04 PM   #84
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Re: why focus on internal power

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What I really disdain is the pseudo harmony and peace crap that call for us to be polite to everyone's face only to talk about them behind their back, or to confirm our ego's quietly without ever even speaking a word.

This is not harmony or resolution or growth, but denial and avoidance.

I can have a debate with Mike Sigman, Cady, or anyone else. Still respect them as fellow human beings and marital artist, train with them in a civilized manner, yet still debate and discuss.

This is how we learn and grow.
Go Kevin....
That so needs to be said. I have an opinion, not an IMHO. I simply have an opinion as one human being talking with another.

There is an old saying, "there are no lies in Judo." Either you landed hard, you tapped out or you passed out. Even if a Judge called it, you probably knew who was really winning.

Aikido is just not quite like that. Few practice with the feel of being attached to "a wild dog at the end of the chain". If you do, it probably looks and feels allot like Judo.

So we are stuck with the Kata of "mutual respect" as we discuss portions of the art that can benefit overall waza. This kata should be honest, direct, sincere, and clothed in mutual welfare.

Quote:
Actually Mike is a pretty darn good litmus test for what is or isn't Ki if you have worked with him.
I am 100% in agreement with your assessment. And I have never met the man. Nevertheless, I accept him as he is (his strengths, as well as his humanity).

The simple fact that he is willing to take time from his day to talk with others concerning an area of study that he has put much time in and that is not practiced in the majority of commercial and not-for-profit dojos, say much about him.
 
Old 02-27-2008, 05:08 PM   #85
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Re: why focus on internal power

Quote:
Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
I, for one, enjoy this opportunity to engage in intelligent discussion of what are often sensitive and controversial subjects. AikiWeb is a good and easily accessible venue for it (thanks, Jun!).

That said, I would caution all here to keep a careful delineation between the moral/spiritual/emotional side of aikido and the physical stuff -- we can accept as a "given" that the two go hand-in-hand (though subject to different interpretations of just how, and what that means), so for the moment let's just talk about those separate components. For the sake of discussion, let's not confuse pragmatic, direct physical application of skills with the greater purpose of aikido (and yes, other forms of budo/bujutsu) in "building a better you" in all respects.
I agree, Cady. If someone forgoes intellectual combat and fantasizes that they could hack it in real combat, they're sadly mistaken. The "Tao", the "Do", is more than just platitudes and frivolous ideas about "aiki-speak".

Best.

Mike
 
Old 02-27-2008, 05:16 PM   #86
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Re: why focus on internal power

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Quote:
Quote:
Actually Mike is a pretty darn good litmus test for what is or isn't Ki if you have worked with him.
I am 100% in agreement with your assessment. And I have never met the man. Nevertheless, I accept him as he is (his strengths, as well as his humanity).
Chris, please don't agree with Kevin. He has met me, you haven't. And I'm not even an expert... I'm a frackin amateur. I'm outside of any groups or styles and I don't want the idea of gamesmanship and partisanship associated with my name or ideas. Kevin does it well... he keeps challenging. And that's exactly what someone should do. Already Kevin thinks he could kick my ass in a fair fight and I don't think he can... and that's how it moves forward.

This idea that you stop and adopt some sort of fake "Oh, he's the master" crap or some other make-believe Asian protocol is alien to me (and to most Asians!), to Rob John, and many others. That's the way it should work. We don't name drop... we just try to get the drop. And these skills will help someone get the drop on someone else. The real question is "how many people do you show?"

Regards,

Mike Sigman
 
Old 02-27-2008, 05:29 PM   #87
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Re: why focus on internal power

Mike,

You haven't met me either. I am not abdicating anything. Just giving you the respect I give to everyone who has trained hard. That respect includes, however, an open invitation for friendly rondori or push hands at any time.

Now for an objective question.

A training partner of mine, "Rob" was a regional champion wrestler and Arnold Classic Champion Escrimador (stick fighter). Not to be confused with Shawn, another Arnold Champion I have written about. He is a professional masseur, works out daily with Yoga and weights -- a real Hercules.

Two years ago, he got involved with Internal Kung…. Stance work with similar tensions and breathing that Mike S. talks about. He recently demonstrated how he could stand on top of an exercise ball while holding 50 pound dumbbells in "iron cross" fashion. He is becoming more grounded and, as far as his spine is concerned, his skeletal structure is becoming more sound. His Kung practice is still static.

About a year ago, he began to try to resist my technique. Both situations concerned his shoulder socket and elbow. One was a form of Daito finishing hold performed on the ground. The other was a standing Yanagi-style Sankajo. On both occasions, I barely moved. He tried to root. In his rooting, his shoulder and arm became disunified, i.e. his arm was not unified with rooted his torso. On both occasions he was injured by his own rooting.
What can you recommend…
 
Old 02-27-2008, 05:34 PM   #88
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Re: why focus on internal power

To address Mary Eastland's original post... and generally...

How you choose to interpret what "internal power" or "internal strength" means and how it pertains to the (general or specific) practice of Aikido is up to you (or what your teacher told you). Hence aiki-"do" and not "jitsu".

However, I believe the "internal power" under discussion is a learnt physical skill (i.e. jitsu). It is not character development nor has it any bearing or relation to the moral character of a person, although in one sense of the "ideal" of budo, one would hope that the acquisition of such skill leads to one becoming a better person. It doesn't - personalities and egos do not necessarily change for the better as a result of power acquisition - internal or otherwise. If anything, it's the other way round... for someone to begin to acquire such power and skills requires a progressively deep-seated change in one's innate being towards a sort of "egoless-ness".

Hence the reason why knowledge and transmission of internal skills development has traditionally been a closely guarded secret, particularly from persons "deemed" to be "not of requisite character".

The sort of "internal strength" that comes from acquisition of internal skills is not the same thing as having "intestinal fortitude", or strength of moral character, or the scope of compassion that would put the Buddha to shame. It is, in the context which it is mostly being discussed here, a physical "how-to" skill - like carpentry or skateboarding is a learnt physical skill - and specifically pertaining to physical combat and martial pursuits, which is but one aspect of internal power application.

In terms of why people seek such power varies according to each individual's personal reasons, the primary motives are usually to gain an added combative advantage, or to improve and maintain one's health well into old age. Again, based on whether you practice Aikido as budo or bujutsu... or both.

That such internal power can be (or should be) part and parcel of the (core) practice of Aikido, is beside the point. Whether one chooses to, given the choice, is up to them. Although, that choice is limited if you aren't being taught how to do it (properly). Based on the posts (and tone) so far regarding this general topic, it is clear that some know what they're talking about (to whatever degree), and some are trying to get a handle on it. And then there are some that think they already do it but are really in the category of most that don't have a clue.

Short of turning Aikiweb into a cyberdojo where everyone checks their egos at the login screen, I do think discussions, particularly those relating to the more "controversial" subjects, could be far more productive if people tried to focus on the topic at hand rather than the personalities.

Ignatius
 
Old 02-27-2008, 05:34 PM   #89
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Re: why focus on internal power

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You haven't met me either. I am not abdicating anything. Just giving you the respect I give to everyone who has trained hard. That respect includes, however, an open invitation for friendly rondori or push hands at any time.
Having read your anecdotes, Chris, it's probably not going to happen... for the simple reason that I don't want to get involved with the Baron Munchausen side of martial arts.
Quote:
On both occasions he was injured by his own rooting.
What can you recommend…
Why would he resist a technique? Not much I can say, Chris. He's your friend.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
 
Old 02-27-2008, 05:36 PM   #90
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Re: why focus on internal power

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
I agree, Cady. If someone forgoes intellectual combat and fantasizes that they could hack it in real combat, they're sadly mistaken. The "Tao", the "Do", is more than just platitudes and frivolous ideas about "aiki-speak".

Best.
Mike
How true...But how does one apply this to the litmus test of "hacking it in real combat" if all one has ever experianced is the Dojo or a Few Fist Fights...

It's been a few hundred years at least since my incarnation as a Samurai during the Onin Wars...

It seems to me the the phrase "Hacking it in Real Combat" is an ego trap or a least a projection of how one with Aiki might possibly perform under the heat and stress of a "combat". Unless of course one has actually experianced using Aiki in Real Combat.

Brings me back to my original point which Ledyard Sensei so aptly illustrated with his excellent posts regarding the reality of O'Sensei's vision for Aikido...

Sadly this to me illustrates the severe limitations of the internet. How I would love give this discussion some flesh and blood and pose these questions to you, Dan, and some others here after a night of hard practice and over a good dinner

Hopefully someday...If it's one thing I enjoy most it is meeting and practicing with folks who are passionate about thier practice.

Respectfully,

William Hazen

Last edited by Aikibu : 02-27-2008 at 05:41 PM.
 
Old 02-27-2008, 05:38 PM   #91
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Re: why focus on internal power

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Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
How you choose to interpret what "internal power" or "internal strength" means and how it pertains to the (general or specific) practice of Aikido is up to you (or what your teacher told you). Hence aiki-"do" and not "jitsu".
I dunno, Ignatius. The problem is that people are using the name of "Ueshiba" and the name of "Aikido" to suit themselves. Is that really a fair usage of "Aikido"? "It means what you want it to mean"? Is that really respect for Ueshiba, when you really think about it? And I'm not speaking to you, really... I'm speaking to the people who want to do just that. Having read your stuff, I think your Aikido is probably pretty spot on.

Best.

Mike
 
Old 02-27-2008, 05:43 PM   #92
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Re: why focus on internal power

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Chris, it's probably not going to happen... for the simple reason that I don't want to get involved with the Baron Munchausen side of martial arts.
Then we are resigned to be those ships passing in the night you spoke of earlier.
 
Old 02-27-2008, 05:46 PM   #93
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Re: why focus on internal power

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William Hazen wrote: View Post
How I would love give this discussion some flesh and blood and pose these questions to you, Dan, and some others here after a night of hard practice and over a good dinner
Reminds me of a story about Chen Fa Ke (that I posted before):
Quote:
At that Beijing wushu contest, Shen San, the nationally known wrestler, was also present. After exchanging some polite remarks, Shen asked Chen: "What will a Taijiquan master do when he is confronted by a wrestler?" Chen replied smilingly: "How could you choose your enemy?" So the two agreed to have a try as an encounter between a wrestler and a Taiji master. Chen raised his two arms and asked Shen to grasp them. When Shen took Chen's arms and the onlookers were expecting to see a thrilling duel, it was no more than three seconds and the two laughed. The contest was over! On the evening two days later, Chen was teaching his pupils at his training centre. Shen called, bringing Chen an expensive present. Seeing Chen's pupils were perplexed, Shen San explained, saying: "Master Chen is not only good at wushu, he is even better in morals. That evening master Chen let me hold his arms. I intended to make use of Master Chen's momentum but I couldn't. When I tried to lift my feet, I again found I could not do so. I was immediately aware of the fact that Master Chen was much better than I. Yet, Master Chen neither put me off my feet nor told anyone else. That's great. Today I am coming especially to express my gratitude."
Why all night? If someone is big and reasonably strong and you withold everything, then they will wear you out and eventually overpower you. If you can't make your point without an all-night engagement, it's not much of a point, probably. Me, I don't make all these comments about contention when I'm trying to make a logical point and show it.

Best.

Mike Sigman

Last edited by Mike Sigman : 02-27-2008 at 05:51 PM.
 
Old 02-27-2008, 05:51 PM   #94
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Re: why focus on internal power

Quote:
Chris, it's probably not going to happen... for the simple reason that I don't want to get involved with the Baron Munchausen side of martial arts.
The we indeed are those ships passing in the night, yet I have told no lies. Rob is real and so are his conflicts. Shawn and I are both concerned his Kan is overwhelming his li. He needs another (more removed) set of eyes on what he is doing.
 
Old 02-27-2008, 05:55 PM   #95
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Re: why focus on internal power

LOL, Mike have I ever implied I could kick your ass??? I hope not.

Sure, a part of me thinks that given the right situation, the right circumstances, luck, skill, and what not..yeah probably.

I still think I could hit you with a baseball bat and move your center!

I am also wise enough, I hope to realize that it goes both ways.

How would I know based on the little interaction we had? In a non-martial/semi martial environment which was very productive for what it was designed to do!

Besides, is this what it is about???

Keeping it honest and geniune and keeping it with in the context of what is being offered up is what is important.

What is important is that walking away from the training has helped me see a new side of things.

On Hacking it in Combat:

I am sure William can attest that under the stresses of combat pressure you learn things more about yourself that you probably don't really want to know about. A long time ago I learned somethings about myself and fellow human beings that I honestly hoped where not true, but were! I'm not talking about 5 minutes of combat pressure, a mugging, or a brief encounter, with a quick adrenaline spike followed by "phew, I am glad that is over!" but prolonged combat pressure over weeks and months.

 
Old 02-27-2008, 06:12 PM   #96
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Re: why focus on internal power

Quote:
A long time ago I learned somethings about myself and fellow human beings that I honestly hoped where not true, but were! I'm not talking about 5 minutes of combat pressure, a mugging, or a brief encounter, with a quick adrenaline spike followed by "phew, I am glad that is over!" but prolonged combat pressure over weeks and months.
Kevin,

That is why I trust you opinion on things.
 
Old 02-27-2008, 06:33 PM   #97
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Re: why focus on internal power

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Mike can attest that I am no where near being able to do or replicate these skills enough to do so, and I probably need to just shut up and do what he has very graciously spent time with me on and come back to him after I have done my homework (which I will). [[snip]] That's what military officers get paid to do, and that is how I am wired.
Hi Kevin:

Don't get me wrong... I *want* you to argue the debate with me (and of course I want you to work on things and succeed/overtake, so don't get me wrong).

My comment is more that it should be clear exactly what is "internal power", at least as a baseline talking point. *I* think it's a pretty obviously beneficial addition to power and advantage when it's trained well. Obviously, so did thousands of year so Asian martial-artists, including Ueshiba. So my debate points are more along those lines and I try to at least physically demonstrate whatever I can to support my points, but I'm aware that I'm by no means a "great" like some of the famous martial artists. I'm just a player trying to make a point that I feel strongly is beneficial.

Let me shortstop this military issue, if you don't mind, from you and Hazen. I did my time in Vietnam in I-Corps: Dong Ha, Cam Lo, Con Thien, Khe Sanh, and Mother's Ridge. I've done my share. The military stuff has got very little to do with the debate at hand and I'd seriously appreciate it if we could leave it out. And yes, William, I'm aware that you're a very large guy.

Best.

Mike Sigman
 
Old 02-27-2008, 06:34 PM   #98
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Re: why focus on internal power

I always like the saying "in God we Trust, all others pay in Cash".

And my belief in an omnipotent God are sketchy at best!

Thanks, though for the vote of confidence!

 
Old 02-27-2008, 06:40 PM   #99
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Re: why focus on internal power

Yeah your right, it has very little to do with the issue at hand.

 
Old 02-27-2008, 07:25 PM   #100
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Re: why focus on internal power

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Hi Kevin:

Don't get me wrong... I *want* you to argue the debate with me (and of course I want you to work on things and succeed/overtake, so don't get me wrong).

My comment is more that it should be clear exactly what is "internal power", at least as a baseline talking point. *I* think it's a pretty obviously beneficial addition to power and advantage when it's trained well. Obviously, so did thousands of year so Asian martial-artists, including Ueshiba. So my debate points are more along those lines and I try to at least physically demonstrate whatever I can to support my points, but I'm aware that I'm by no means a "great" like some of the famous martial artists. I'm just a player trying to make a point that I feel strongly is beneficial.

Let me shortstop this military issue, if you don't mind, from you and Hazen. I did my time in Vietnam in I-Corps: Dong Ha, Cam Lo, Con Thien, Khe Sanh, and Mother's Ridge. I've done my share. The military stuff has got very little to do with the debate at hand and I'd seriously appreciate it if we could leave it out. And yes, William, I'm aware that you're a very large guy.

Best.

Mike Sigman
Understood Mike...You have my utmost respect. I am too large for my own good and your post now puts the "Real Combat" metaphor in it's proper perspective. Also I agree it should not "take" all night for me to know that all of you know what you're talking about I meant... That it might take me all night and then some to learn it. I am no longer the sharpest tool in the shed LOL

William Hazen

Last edited by Aikibu : 02-27-2008 at 07:30 PM.
 

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