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Old 05-07-2008, 05:47 AM   #76
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

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Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
Is it possible that I have also achieved true victory over myself but Paul wasn't there to tell me I won? OR does this mean that after you won, your prise was the kojiki?
Is not about winning or losing... its about answering OP question.

Anyway, I hope "ki developement" doesn't affect (negatively) my sense of humor, someday I'll translate the kojiki to "modern English" so Masakatsu Agatsu Katsu Hayabi can be read "I kicked his rear end, by myself, with speed and awesome skills so he's still wondering which kind of truck hitted him"


Relax.

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Old 05-07-2008, 07:21 AM   #77
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

I assume you understood I was being sarcastic with that question.

The whole idea really struck me funny. A discussion on a thread seems to be one of those things that I take for grated is supposed to grow naturally and oganically from the original post. Having the original poster ask a question and then assign a winner is more in line with the "game show" model.

I think these kinds of miscommunications and differing assumptions among people are very good examples of how the functional orgins of EVERYTHING gets twisted and confused until they are mostly lost.

Too funny. -Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 05-07-2008 at 07:23 AM.
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:50 AM   #78
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Anyway, I hope "ki developement" doesn't affect (negatively) my sense of humor, someday I'll translate the kojiki to "modern English" so Masakatsu Agatsu Katsu Hayabi can be read "I kicked his rear end, by myself, with speed and awesome skills so he's still wondering which kind of truck hitted him"


Relax.
Very good. I think your translation is an excellent translation of the Kojiki phrase. At the risk of enormous thread drift, I need to explain.

The name is the first part of the name of a deity who came into being when two major deities, Amaterasu and Susanoo, had an amazing competition (considered incest by some 'wicked' Confucian scholars, because they were brother and sister and yet bore children, but argued by the Shintoists to be pure, because they were standing on opposite sides of a river).

In the competition, Amaterasu asked for Susanoo's sword (the famous sword that was ten hands long) and broke the sword into three pieces, rinsed the pieces in a well, shaking them (like furitama) then chewed the pieces and spat them out. Three deities were created from the spittle (three female deities thought to be Susanoo's children).

Susanoo them did precisely the same with the magatama beads that Amaterasu wore in the long coils of her hair (the left coil). In this case the deity born from his spittle was Masakatsu agatsu katsu hayabi. But then Susanoo took the beads adorning other parts of her hair and body, spat them out and so produced four more (male) deities. These male deities were thought to be her children, but acres of argument have since been devoted to the issue of whether the sex of the children mattered.

Masakatsu agatsu katsu hayabi is clearly associated with Susanoo, because the latter then went into a sort of victory rage. Extraordinary things happened next. He committed eight 'heavenly sins':
1. He broke down the ridges between Amaterasu's rice paddies.
2. He covered up the ditches.
3. He opened the irrigation sluices.
4. He double planted.
5. He set up stakes.
6. He skinned a horse alive
7. He skinned the horse backwards. (And dropped it through the roof of Amaterasu's weaving hall, causing the death of the weaving maiden. The cause of death was the striking of her genitals against the weaving shuttle.)
8. He defecated and spread his faeces around the harvest festival hall.

All this led to Amaterasu's famous withdrawal into the cave.

However, masakatgsu agatsu katsu hayabi is only the first part of the deity's name The second part, which O Sensei conveniently forgot about, is Ame-no-oshi-ho-mimi-no-mikoto. This is the name of a rice deity, something like, Great Heavenly Deity who Rules the Rice Ears.

Actually, masakatsu agatsu katsu hayabi was something of a wimp. He was supposed to go down from heaven and rule the Central Lands of the Reed Plains (= Japan), but as he was preparing to descend, he suddenly fathered a child by another deity and this child took his place.

So, I look forward to reading your modern translation and then Peter Jackson or perhaps Monty Python could make a movie.

Best wishes and many apologies for the blatant thread drift.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:02 AM   #79
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

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I tried aiki as a single skill and stunk at it for far too long. If I tried to explain aiki it would be something like this:

To achieve aiki in kokyu ho, and/or any situation for that matter, I _currently_ need to set my structure so I am not in the way of myself. I have to set my intent up and down my spine at the same time such that every part of my has to be flowing upward and downward at the same time with that intent. I have to hold myself such that my structural weaknesses are closed down with other lines of intent all happening at the same time. I have to pivot around my spine such that it and my hips do not move much at all. I have to feel how my own weight on my feet is expressed thorugh my hands (and arms, and shoulders sometimes) upward and over my partner/attacker and beyond them at the same time I convert any kind of pushing they are doing on me back into them generally underneath their pushing. I have to fix my intention to be in agreement with anything they are doing to me and completely welcome it while setting my intention in other directional lines for stabilization. When anyone touches me I have to be instantly touching their center (not moving around trying to find it) and they need to feel that their attack is generally sending them upward (or downward) and THEN I need to blend with their reaction such that I continue to follow my spine's connection to them through their spine and do it in a way thay I never lose my integrity. If they have been working such things then I have to employ some strategy to get there first and/or use soft power to blow through them anyway.
ALL of that skillset is aiki to me..
Aaahh -- just toss the guy already -- the suspense is killing me ...

More to the point -- your discussion is an excellent phenomenological description. There is a good discussion on a wholly different topic that encapsulates a recurrent bi-polar aspect of the debates on these topics. Phenomenology versus theory.It would probably be helpful if people recognized such structural sources of conflict in their arguments, as opposed to the mere factual disputes. They are necessarily complements rather than opponents. This article is ostensibly about physics -- but substitute "aiki" for that and you capture a fundamental aspect of many conflicts in perspective here.

http://motls.blogspot.com/2008/05/ph...vs-theory.html

There is a theory of aiki -- premised on the empirical concept of "Ki." Unfortunately, it does not fit commonly understood Western categories, so we do not have the vocabulary and conceptual tools to deal with it in its own terms. Until it does, the theory side of the discussion will languish ( and be mocked as it often is) and the phenomenology alone will be a source of dispute. The reason is simple, because, phenomenological explanations are by definition ad hoc -- coming from the sum of unique individual experiences. Without a common theoretical language to organize, relate and explain those individual experiences (other than the ever-disputed one of "KI") there will be no useful movement of the discussion from where it is -- and where it has remained -- for quite a long time, now.

I have my own thoughts on such a theoretical basis. I won't belabor them here. You can search for it in many threads if you are really that interested. And most people aren't interested, let's be frank. However, without a valid theory on some sound physical basis in terms common to Western concepts and language, the discussion will not go much past:

"I felt "This." -- Did you feel "That?"
"Yeah, what was "That.""
"Was it kind of like "This"
"Yeah, but not so much "that" as "this"
"Not really, I didn't feel "that" exactly I felt more like "this"

... etc. etc. Or more colorfully -- "... which kind of truck just hitted me?!?"

Most people substitute in their discussion words like "ki" or "kokyu" or "aiki" as placeholder words for the "that." In this usage, it really only a marker for an experiential reference -- it has no conceptual content for them at all. That's why we need to work on the physical theory of aiki more carefully, to put real and repeatable content behind those words -- in our Western terms.

Even variations in training methodologies (such as the current Aunkai fad or other methodologies in some quarters) do not get a theoretical basis, just a more rigorously informed phenomenological perspective )( i.e. -- because they do the same closely defined "thing" they can more easily compare and contrast what they feel or see of "that" in doing that "thing." In fact, that is exactly what the defined waza in aikido exist for -- not for value in and of themselves (they are merely slices of a continuum) but to provide that same common rubric for this performative discussion.

There will be no reliable way to find better or more comprehensive modes of training until a theoretical basis is worked out and more generally agreed. Whether of DTR as Sagawa has famously said that it canno t be taught, or in looking at O Sensei's own experience in which he proved it and they either learned or didn't -- however many instructors of whom it may be reliably said "Yeah, he really knows "That,"" does not necessarily mean that "That" can be reliably taught in terms the students are capable of understanding without a working theory of 1) what the unknown "that" is that they are reaching toward or 2) how to correct their errors (or even perceive that they ARE errors) in moving closer to it.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 05-07-2008 at 09:11 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:50 AM   #80
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

It stirkes me that Peter Goldsbury's description of that story was the set up for the "first opening of the rock door of heaven". (The god went into a cave and blocked it with a bolder, and they managed to coax the god out - ending "eternal night"). And aikido is supposed to be the second opening of the rock door of heaven. (said Osensei) which is being taught phenomenologically (is that a word?) and may someday be described in terms of physics (as Erick is attempting). And then all of these discussions will be about the good old days when we didn't know how to talk about this stuff properly.

Rob
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:03 AM   #81
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

Wow, we've actually been having a real conversation for 4 pages now! Awesome.

I also really like "with speed, and awesome skills"! I'm using that one in class tonight.

Peter,
Thanks for the story. It honestly helps put things in perspective.

Great post Erick! It would be great if the Aikido community could make some real progress in this aria. Maybe we could actually learn to understand each other.

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Old 05-07-2008, 10:50 AM   #82
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

Peter has a few good posts on this in the aikido section of e-budo. More of the same, but very interesting. Some of my favorite posts.

Best,
Ron

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Old 05-07-2008, 12:50 PM   #83
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

To both Erick's point and Chris's follow-up. I agree that boiling something down to common terms is the ideal. The problem as I see it is that at some point it still has to be "felt" - no matter how many common terms are shared or exchanged. I don't know that it's ever going to be something that's adequately debated merely with words (like many things regarding martial arts, most likely).
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Old 05-07-2008, 04:21 PM   #84
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
... I _currently_ need to set my structure so I am not in the way of myself. I have to set my intent up and down my spine at the same time such that every part of my has to be flowing upward and downward at the same time with that intent. I have to hold myself such that ... Rob
Not a bad explanation at all.

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Old 05-07-2008, 04:50 PM   #85
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

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Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
To both Erick's point and Chris's follow-up. I agree that boiling something down to common terms is the ideal. The problem as I see it is that at some point it still has to be "felt" - no matter how many common terms are shared or exchanged. I don't know that it's ever going to be something that's adequately debated merely with words (like many things regarding martial arts, most likely).
This is a good point. It's like that old saying about coffee. You can describe it in perfect detail to someone who's never had it, but until they try it themselves they'll never know what it tastes like.

Language is imperfect, and it alway will be. However we need to agree on the terms we use when talking to each other. Those of us (most here on Aikiweb) who have "tasted" Aiki/Aikido, know what we call it for ourselves. However nailing down some terms that we can use to speak with each other about it (those already "in the know"); I feel would take us a long way.

We are drifting again...

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Old 05-07-2008, 05:23 PM   #86
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

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Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
phenomenologically (is that a word?)
Yep, it's an adverb. I briefly covered phenomenology as part of an Information Analysis unit back at Uni... interesting stuff, and possibly quite relevant to the topic discussion at hand....

Ignatius
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:17 PM   #87
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

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Yep, it's an adverb. I briefly covered phenomenology as part of an Information Analysis unit back at Uni... interesting stuff, and possibly quite relevant to the topic discussion at hand....
Phenomenolgy -- at least in Whitehead's useage may be loosely summed up in the passage from the Tao te ching. The Way that can be named is not the unnameable Way. The unnameable begets ONE. The One begets two. The two beget three. And three beget the ten thousand things. The term has a narrow use which is described below and a broader use that encompasses the theoretical distinction I also describe as Whitehead developed it in the school of thought known as "phenomenology."

A phenomenological understanding resolves the universal/individual dichotomy by acknowledging that everything that is, is the product of its unique history, but is fundamentally related to everything else by the fact of a common history at some level. Thus, things understood phenomenologically are closely tied to their particular histories.

The theoretical understanding addresses a different basis of commonality -- alos described implicilty in the same passage from the Tao Te Ching: A common process of instantaneous development that drives even wildly differing and seemingly unrelated histories. Things that are understood theoretically are understood independent of particular histories, except as representative of the common dynamic.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 05-08-2008, 04:53 AM   #88
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

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The whole idea really struck me funny. A discussion on a thread seems to be one of those things that I take for grated is supposed to grow naturally and oganically from the original post. Having the original poster ask a question and then assign a winner is more in line with the "game show" model.
At the risk of belaboring a tangential discussion, I should take a moment to explain: this was a reference to the (generally ironic) internet custom of declaring that "so-and-so has won the thread." It's a joke, mostly, given that of course it's an inherently absurd idea. That said, it does typically express at least a jocular claim that the individual has made a strong contribution or delivered a pithy analysis. In this case, I think Demetrio homed right in on what I think the central topic is: were these techniques ever optimal (or even usable) means to any martial end, or were they conceived as stylized dance routines.

I don't mean this necessarily as a historical question -- ultimately, I'm concerned with aikido techniques as they exist now and as they can be practiced now -- but I think the inquiry naturally slants towards history. I say this because, confronted with aikido's inability to fit within modern martial arts contexts (perhaps most significantly MMA), one alternative to saying, "It's just absurd" is to suggest a different martial venue (e.g. weapons, different types of clothing, different environs, etc.) In the same manner as, "This style of kenjutsu's footwork might seem pointlessly large, but it's actually meant for very uneven ground, where these movements are more useful than sliding-foot styles -- in a match on uneven ground, the person with experience in these large stepping movements has a clear edge."

Last edited by Paul Sanderson-Cimino : 05-08-2008 at 05:02 AM.
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Old 05-08-2008, 05:09 AM   #89
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Very good. I think your translation is an excellent translation of the Kojiki phrase. At the risk of enormous thread drift, I need to explain.
Of course I have to recognize it's a loose transliteration of one of your posts at e-budo. I'm not smart enough to arrive at that "translation" on my own.

Quote:
So, I look forward to reading your modern translation and then Peter Jackson or perhaps Monty Python could make a movie.
I think the aikido world really needs a Life of Brian-esque movie about Ueshiba.

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Old 05-08-2008, 05:10 AM   #90
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

I think I hit the 15-minute time limit on editing, but here's one more bit I was going to add to my post:

The alternative angle -- that aikido is a stylized dance routine that nevertheless imparts real martial skills respectfully passed down throughout the ages -- sounds a little too much like the "invisible purple monster" idea for my liking. (That is, a classic non-falsifiable hypothesis.)

And now for something completely different.

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
I think the aikido world really needs a Life of Brian-esque movie about Ueshiba.
That has some serious potential.
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:09 AM   #91
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Of course I have to recognize it's a loose transliteration of one of your posts at e-budo. I'm not smart enough to arrive at that "translation" on my own.

I think the aikido world really needs a Life of Brian-esque movie about Ueshiba.
Hello Demetrio,

You added the bit about the truck, so you did make an original contribution to the translation.

As for the Life of Brian, you should know that Brian was the Private Eye nickname for Prince Charles. The nickname for the Queen was Brenda. Both names match their characters perfectly (which is why Private Eye had to spend so much on legal fees).

With O Sensei, however, you are entering on holy ground and still need to take off your shoes.

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Old 05-08-2008, 10:59 AM   #92
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

Understood!

I think my main point was more going after the idea that after 80 some odd posts I didn't want to be held to the initial post, and I wasn't sure that everyone was really on board with the humor of declaring a winner.

It is my belief that aikido can be as powerful as it was originally considered and more so. I'll spend my life training to prove (or fail to prove) that myself. I won't do it to win anything. I'll do it because aikido is my path for dropping my ego and manifesting my true self. The approach is based on principles and if they don't work in all situations (physical as well as mental/emotional and spiritual) then they are just not principles.

Rob
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Old 05-09-2008, 09:01 AM   #93
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Re: Functional Origins of Aikido/Daito-Ryu Techniques

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First, I am not interested in what O-Sensei said, or what someone said they thought he said. No one really knows as even his best students admit they could not understand him. And how do we know he was doing what he said he was doing? If what he said was important/useful, his students would all be able to do what he could do and that is clearly not the case.
I just love america... as long as no one gets hurt, anyone can do, think and say just about anything and defend it by saying, "...well I should be free to do, think or say..." Oh, never mind. In any case, if demz da rules, demz da rules. And in that case, with regards to your statement, I want to say, I couldn't disagree with you more! Why do people keep repeating such misinformation over and over and over? Oh, wait. Was that redundant? Sure, I will give you that most of O-Sensei's own students, even those whom we consider his "senior" uchi-deshi may not have understood all he said. Heck, 95% of my own teacher's students missed 95% of what he has been saying all these years, but isn't that usually the case? Yeah I guess O-Sensei could have been lying, or attempting to misdirect his own students, never mind the fact of what that would do to his legacy. However, to say that none of his best students even understood him is just mindless repetition of a wholly inaccurate postulation.

Hikitsuchi Sensei, Saito Sensei, Seiseiki Abe Sensei, might have a different opinion as to there ability to understand the varied specifics O-Sensei chose to share with them. There were others, too. My guess is that you may not have spent any considerable amount of time with any of these teachers, but I could be wrong. It might also be a case of the 95% creeping up on you, but only the other 5% could really say...

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
To me, aiki is not a skill 'set'. It is 'a' principle we should be seeking. 'One' principle. Think - can you topple your partner in suwariwaza kokyu-ho? If you can, then think - how can I use this skill in other techs? If you can't, you have to figure it out. And then, add resistance. If you get it right, it works no matter how hard they resist. The easier it is to topple him without using your own strength, against increasing levels of his resistance, the better your own skill, or aiki. To me, aiki can be found in this one exercise (and in many others). And this 'aiki' = one thing, one method = one principle. It is not - if he does A I do X; if he does B I do Y; if he does C I do Z. Rather, no matter what he does, I do aiki (or try to). Then, once you have the incling of an idea, you can 'begin' to put it into everything else = other techniques
Now, as far as all that goes, I couldn't agree with you more!

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