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Old 05-31-2008, 06:54 PM   #1
Nick Pagnucco
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new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

link: http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=4900

To summarize: In a piece on how to try and integrate internal training & strength/kokyu into aikido practice, Mr. Amdur offers 5 general rules:
  1. Seniors should stop the techniques of junior students once, but not constantly
  2. Always be aware of positioning as nage and uke for strikes
  3. Don't make your teacher look bad in front of students during a demo, even if you can stop the technique
  4. Social Darwinism is a lousy pedagogical philosophy
  5. Ukes have a responsibility to challenge but not break nage's structure

Now, part of the reason for me starting this thread is to make sure I have accurate summaries of what he means. I believe Mr. Amdur is specifically talking about paired practice for specific techniques (shomenuchi iriminage, tsuki kaitenage, etc.), not sparring or exercises like kokyudosa (I THINK).

But beyond that, reading this was a bit of a light bulb for me. It struck me that many of my personal frustrations have emerged when these rules have been violated, especially when they are violated in the name of good teaching.

So, do people agree? Are these just good elements of paired technique practice for aikido? Have I misunderstood what Amdur was saying?
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Old 05-31-2008, 07:12 PM   #2
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

PS -

And here is where I may get in trouble.
If these are good principles for paired practice in aikido, I suspect it may serve to reconcile some of the opinions in the No Fight in Aikido Thread.

I teach sociological theory (this relates, I promise). One of my favorite thinkers is Jurgen Habermas, who argues that democracy ought to be grounded in 'discourse ethics': the ideal that society runs off agreements that emerge from rational debate, free from ignorance or coercion. To the degree that society falls short of that ideal, in Habermas' opinion, the society falls short of being perfectly democratic.

I'm not naive (for lack of a better term) enough to believe a dojo should be a democracy. However, whats important from Habermas here is process matters. Even more importantly, process matters beyond efficiency (i.e., "What is the most effective way of people learning"). There is an ethical component to process, to how we decide to come together do to something, be it practice aikido or vote in an election.

This is where I might start getting naive: I wonder if one can try to ground the moral dimension of aikido in a 'paired practice' ethics, at least in part. I make no claim that this is O-Sensei's aikido. As I am not a neo-shinto practitioner / shaman, I cannot wholesale adopt his moral vision. It must be translated, as faithfully as possible, into my own understanding and practice.

I THINK that what I just said is possible without wandering into aiki-bunny territory. I suspect creating an environment where this kind of practice occurs could still have a martial element to it, yet also not have 'the fight' the original poster in that other thread discussed. I am not suggesting, however, that this type of paired practice is the only thing necessary for good aikido. I know that isn't Mr. Amdur's position, nor is it mine.

Nor am I claiming this is the only way to go; its just some partial ideas I wanted to post. In either case, I'm more interested in people's reactions to Amdur's piece than I am to this second post, but I still needed to post it, if that makes sense. I just hope this post made sense.
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Old 05-31-2008, 07:20 PM   #3
Keith Larman
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

Quote:
Nicholas Pagnucco wrote: View Post
link: http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=4900

To summarize: In a piece on how to try and integrate internal training & strength/kokyu into aikido practice, Mr. Amdur offers 5 general rules:
  1. Seniors should stop the techniques of junior students once, but not constantly
  2. Always be aware of positioning as nage and uke for strikes
  3. Don't make your teacher look bad in front of students during a demo, even if you can stop the technique
  4. Social Darwinism is a lousy pedagogical philosophy
  5. Ukes have a responsibility to challenge but not break nage's structure

Now, part of the reason for me starting this thread is to make sure I have accurate summaries of what he means. I believe Mr. Amdur is specifically talking about paired practice for specific techniques (shomenuchi iriminage, tsuki kaitenage, etc.), not sparring or exercises like kokyudosa (I THINK).

But beyond that, reading this was a bit of a light bulb for me. It struck me that many of my personal frustrations have emerged when these rules have been violated, especially when they are violated in the name of good teaching.

So, do people agree? Are these just good elements of paired technique practice for aikido? Have I misunderstood what Amdur was saying?
Yeah, the article is very good -- I read it yesterday. It is a nice explicit exposition of what I have been taught about proper training, teaching and cooperation over the years, albeit less explicitely. I can't count how many times I've heard sensei talking about "testing" technique. We practice techniques like how we test things like keeping balance, unbendable arm, etc. The test isn't to cause them to fail, but to push their limits further each time. You want them to "pass", but pass better each time. The test allows nage to improve their structure, their movement, and therefore their ability to do the technique. So my test of a brand new white belt is *very* different from my test of an experienced aikido person. And I expect the same in return. Keep pushing, keep bumping, keep nudging, and find that uncomfortable spot where you have to keep getting better.

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Old 05-31-2008, 07:48 PM   #4
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
Had a recent discussion with my friends at the Itten Dojo in Pennsylvania, who are trying to integrate internal training (solo exercises) into their aikido practice. A dilemma can occur when trying to "insert" the acquired power into aikido, particularly if you've learned it from outside, rather than from day one. The new insights and strength that one acquires can potentially bust aikido technique, or disturb practice. One can easily begin to question the aikido form/techniques, and be tempted to simply stick to the internal training without aikido at all. Of course, that is a viable option. But if you think you ought to, why continue to do your aikido at all?
I think there's a very good reason to stick to internal training and stop aikido training. If you are just beginning internal training, it's a completely new environment. If your current aikido training hasn't already incorporated it, then you're going to get very messed up and at times, the two trainings will diametrically oppose each other.

So, yeah, I think if someone is serious about internal training, my suggestion would be to stop regular aikido training for a year or two. No, not forever, just long enough to build some structure.

Once there is some structure built, then one can go back to aikido training. It's at this time in one's internal training that I think Ellis' article is very useful. Before this point, no, I don't agree that his article applies.

But, that's me and my personal been there, done that opinion.

Mark
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Old 05-31-2008, 08:19 PM   #5
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

Pooh on you, Mark, just cause you can't get it to work doesn't mean we all have to give it up

. . . from my own "there now and doing it" perspective . . .
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Old 05-31-2008, 09:16 PM   #6
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I think there's a very good reason to stick to internal training and stop aikido training. ...
Once there is some structure built, then one can go back to aikido training. ... But, that's me and my personal been there, done that opinion.
The problem is one of learning style and inherent biases of perception (which we all have)
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Some perceive training better in blue (tai-jutsu).
Some see it better in red (tachi-waza or other weapons).
Some see it better in yellow (kokyu undo and other tanren).

Some see it better if they go through regular alterations or rotations of each, and for some that would be highly confusing.

Eventually, they all merge and the differences become functionally irrelevant. But the perceptual biases and the differences in history to get to that point remain. Even though the final product is perceived as white for everyone, a person with strong inherent bias toward one or the other thinks that there is no other way than the way they see it in terms of training to get there. And one can quite legitimately believe that from ones' own perspective. But more objectively it can be seen that while he is not wrong to believe that -- he is not completely right either.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 06-01-2008, 07:02 AM   #7
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

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Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
Pooh on you, Mark, just cause you can't get it to work doesn't mean we all have to give it up

. . . from my own "there now and doing it" perspective . . .
ROTFL! Well, you're in a very special case. It isn't like you're alone training in an aikikai dojo (or whatever dojo you choose) having to follow the instructor's syllabus for training. Even if you get your partner to go really slowly so that you can work on this stuff, they won't understand what is required of them to help you train internals.

On the other side of things, I think you've got a great bunch of people up there. Sounds like it's more of a group dynamic at work, which makes things a whole lot better. If the distance was just a bit closer ... I'd be there a lot more often.
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Old 06-01-2008, 09:31 AM   #8
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I think there's a very good reason to stick to internal training and stop aikido training. If you are just beginning internal training, it's a completely new environment. If your current aikido training hasn't already incorporated it, then you're going to get very messed up and at times, the two trainings will diametrically oppose each other.

So, yeah, I think if someone is serious about internal training, my suggestion would be to stop regular aikido training for a year or two. No, not forever, just long enough to build some structure.

Once there is some structure built, then one can go back to aikido training. It's at this time in one's internal training that I think Ellis' article is very useful. Before this point, no, I don't agree that his article applies.

But, that's me and my personal been there, done that opinion.

Mark
I have a small question.

I cannot state very much about Akuzawa Sensei's view of Morihei Ueshiba, but it seems that both Dan Harden and Mike Sigman agree that O Sensei definitely had 'the goods' about internal training.

Yet, he taught all his deshi waza, as did Takeda and Sagawa. If the value of internal training is so clear--and it clearly is, why did the creator of aikido never renounce his commitment to waza? It seems to me that M Ueshiba was committed to waza, right from the beginning of his budo training, but he seems to have become aware of the crucial value of internal training in parallel and alongside his training in waza: the two seem to have complimented one another.

Thus, it seems to me that to separate the two is not to follow in O Sensei's footsteps. The issue for aikido is how you do internal training as well as waza, not whether you do internal training as well as waza.

Or have I misunderstood you?

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 06-01-2008, 09:35 AM   #9
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

Mark, you know I like to push the buttons when you wave them at me, bro.

You also know that I think, without any bias whatsoever , our dojo freaking rocks. I'm eternally grateful and indebted to Robert Wolfe Sensei for his ability, sacrifice, leadership, and the way he's taught us all to keep seeking, keep striving and strengthening our dojo family. Any "group dynamic" that we bring to the table comes from doing our very best to follow his example.

Anyhow, like I've said before, I think I have a foot in the door . . . just working on it from there.
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Old 06-01-2008, 10:18 AM   #10
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
...Thus, it seems to me that to separate the two is not to follow in O Sensei's footsteps. The issue for aikido is how you do internal training as well as waza, not whether you do internal training as well as waza.
FWIW I couldn't agree more. I can only speak for myself but in my training what I understand people here call "internal" and "external" have both been taught as necessary for it to be "aikido" in the first place... At least in my experience. I can understand doing "exercises" to develop better grasp of the internal aspects but my understanding has always been the goal is to express that very thing within the waza each and every time.

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Old 06-01-2008, 11:03 AM   #11
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
I have a small question.

I cannot state very much about Akuzawa Sensei's view of Morihei Ueshiba, but it seems that both Dan Harden and Mike Sigman agree that O Sensei definitely had 'the goods' about internal training.

Yet, he taught all his deshi waza, as did Takeda and Sagawa. If the value of internal training is so clear--and it clearly is, why did the creator of aikido never renounce his commitment to waza? It seems to me that M Ueshiba was committed to waza, right from the beginning of his budo training, but he seems to have become aware of the crucial value of internal training in parallel and alongside his training in waza: the two seem to have complimented one another.

Thus, it seems to me that to separate the two is not to follow in O Sensei's footsteps. The issue for aikido is how you do internal training as well as waza, not whether you do internal training as well as waza.

Or have I misunderstood you?

Best wishes,

PAG
I think there's been a misunderstanding here. I didn't mean that one should quit aikido altogether, nor disregard waza. That wasn't my intent. Back when Takeda or Ueshiba trained, they were training the internals from day one. It really was part and parcel of their training. But, now, I'd say that the internal stuff is missing in most US aikido schools.

If you belong to a dojo that doesn't have any of the internals, then that's where my comments come into play. Working on internals and following a "normal" aikido dojo syllabus at the very beginning is definitely very hard to do. I'm not saying it can't be done, but that IMO it's going to be the long hard road.

But, if you stop the "normal" aikido practice for a year or two while you build a basic structure, then returning to aikido practice while still training internals is better. And at that point, it is where Ellis' article becomes important.

Or, as Budd has indicated, if you have a whole group, or a whole dojo committed to doing internals, then that's a very different situation. I think Ellis' article would apply then. But most people aren't going to be in that kind of situation. They're going to be one of many trying to train two completely different things -- at the very beginning.

It's almost like playing a game of catch-up. Since the internal training wasn't integrated into "normal" aikido training, one has to "catch up" with what should have been there. And trying to work on the internal training and at the same time work on "normal" aikido dojo waza is a very hard way to train for someone just starting out.

Which is why I say, for those starting out, concentrate on the internal training for a year or two and then return to aikido training. My guess is at that point (2 years in), you would have enough structure to still be able to work on regular waza while working internals. At that time, I believe Ellis' article would be invaluable for how to keep training effectively without being disruptive.

Does that help make my posts clearer?

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 06-01-2008, 02:05 PM   #12
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Which is why I say, for those starting out, concentrate on the internal training for a year or two and then return to aikido training. My guess is at that point (2 years in), you would have enough structure to still be able to work on regular waza while working internals. At that time, I believe Ellis' article would be invaluable for how to keep training effectively without being disruptive.
I think I interpret Ellis Amdur's article & its implications slightly differently than you. My sense is that if a dojo actually practiced technique in accordance with the 5 points he outlined, it would create a space in the dojo for one to explore a lot of different elements one could not in a more resistant (sparring, etc.) training setting.

Assuming one has enough time to dedicate oneself faithfully, crosstraining is a good thing. Thats a big if, however, for many people, myself included.

Of course, I happily admit my own ignorance here, so if there's a better argument, I want to hear it
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Old 06-01-2008, 04:02 PM   #13
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

I'd say the rules outlined in post #1 are pretty standard and define Aikido in terms of practice methodology - as opposed to other arts - in most dojos. These rules, ?or the lack of them?, are not the cause of the perceived problem. For me, I think that the problem lies in the fact that many seniors continue to do this forever so never test themselves beyond minimal realism. Thus, we have the eternal beginner, in the wrong sense.

I prefer the quote Ellis gave - far more sensible to take on board if you want to improve:
Quote:
Di Guoyong on Xingyiquan, V. I.: “Strengthen your root internally, strengthen you body externally. The internal is the way to nourish health, the external is the way to move. If you have the internal but not the external, then you cannot succeed at martial arts. If you have the external but not the internal then you cannot succeed at deep trained skill” Xingyi Classics

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 06-01-2008 at 04:04 PM.

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Old 06-02-2008, 10:33 AM   #14
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

Keith, Nick, and Rupert,
With due respect, I've found that "normal" aikido training is vastly different than working on internals -- in the beginning. While Ellis' article *seems* to overlap "normal" aikido training, it really does not convey the same situation.

I think Ron posted a very great example of this, but in another thread. Ron, I'm stealing your words.

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post

One way of testing these skills is to use varying non-cooperative settings. My own personal experience has been that aikido partners (myself included) have a trained, almost pavlovian, conditioned response to cooperate or even resist in inappropriate ways for this type of training. Now that I am realizing this, I find it necessary to watch my own responses in training both as shite and uke VERY carefully. I also must be carefull in how I assess my progress in this area.
I've found what Ron has. For the most part, aikido training has this kind of preconditioned responses. These responses are, at times, diametrically opposed to internal training. A new beginner will not get very far if trying to work on both training situations at the same time. It's why I posted what I did.

It's my opinion that if the aikido training *has* already incorporated internals, then everything will be fine. As Peter eloquently suggested in his posts, the two complement each other. It is as it should be.

However, if the aikido training hasn't incorporated internals (and this, IMO/guess, would be a vast majority of US aikido schools/dojos), then the beginner is better to stop the "normal" aikido training for a year or two until his/her structure is better. Once that's accomplished, he/she can go back to aikido and follow Ellis' advice.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:44 AM   #15
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

I have mixed views on this subject. And I appreciate Mark's viewpoint (and him quoting my poor words). But...

At this point in time, I believe that part of training is learning how to focus on your individual goals while you "get along" with whatever group you train with. For me, this is often the "meat" of the "spiritual" training. How do I shape my own individual keiko while working with others who may indeed have a VERY different mindset? It could be the young bucks who want to use every ounce of muscle to toss their partners, or the ki weenie who wants very light, sensitive training (and I don't even get to break a sweat), it could be someone who believes every waza must contain atemi, and he must land it every time.

I myself have probably been some of the worst versions of all of the above. So in this latest iteration of me, I need to keep that past in mind as I take Ellis's words to heart. Peter's post also resonates with me. I think this all means that I must accept failure, often. And be willing to just try and even fail again.

BUT I must also mark WHERE I fail and HOW, and strive to fail a little further down the path each time. I can no longer allow the rote movement of the waza to just flow while some part of my mind takes a nap. Before I had to pay attention to what foot went where, where my hand went, and oh so many wonderfull details. At some point, I reached a place where things just flowed, and I love that part of aikido. But sometimes you have to deny yourself what you love, to get to a better place.

So if I get stopped a lot because my structure is too weak to work it on the Bully Boys, or if I want more resistance to a particular movement but my partner is a Wet Noodle, or any number of other problems...

I need to focus my mind, stick to my principles, and strive to fail less often. In whatever environment I find myself.

Best,
Ron

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Old 06-02-2008, 12:03 PM   #16
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

I can see all of Ellis's points from being a student, to being a teacher, to opting-out to an owner of a Darwinian dojo out of my Barn (gee could we have been a little more subtle). very clearly They are a good start but I just didn't read that he was offering a comprehensive solution for all parties. In the end there may not be a one size fits all solution. I think Ellis offered some good starter points to go by in a modern aikido dojo, is all.

Reading Mark's views against Bud's, shows the dichotomy of training these skills. Not the least of which involved where any one person is training their internal skills. Many that I have spoken with have expressed the frustration in going back and trying to get those in authority or even just training buddies to cooperate while they worked their skills. Thinking you can train internal skills and just go walk in and do waza is going to prove to be problematic. I know I couldn't do it. I am always open to someone having a better idea than me, though. If I remember correctly Mike and Ark couldn't either. I'll wait to hear from them, but I thought they both opted out, and trained ardently in solo work as well trying to burn these skills in before letting waza ruin what they were trying to build.
On my end I am the Darwinian barn worker type Ellis referred to. Over 18 yrs of teaching I have morphed continually, from fighting to waza, to aiki, to waza, then fighting to aiki, then fighting with aiki....till I frustrated most of the 220 or so folks who tried to follow until only a dozen or so stayed for extended periods of time. In that sense Ellis is spot on yet again. I could afford not to care about those who left. I had no art to forward or preserve. I focused on me, and what I was trying to achieve. Most people do not even come close to having that luxury.

This also ties in with Peters observations that Ueshiba "had it." Yes he did. But the overriding question of the thread is "how" he got it? I do not agree with anyone who states that he got it from doing Aikido. He got it from doing Daito ryu. The focus on movement and intent there is totally different there than in aikido. And it was only there that we found Ueshiba's contemporaries and betters. But mores the point did he or any of them really ever get it from the student end? Or, was it in their long periods of training without Takeda when they transcended into the teacher/experimenter/solo training end where they could control more of the proceedings and not be as susceptible to waza ruination- that they solidified their skills?

Marks points, after all, may be the most strident.
That if you are practicing in someone else's dojo you are probably not going to get an opportunity to explore the skills you are aiming for either in movement as Uke or nage. Buds situation is that he also trains in one of Ellis's Darwinian examples in that they can pretty much do as they like and evolve together without fear of losing people.
So where is the fully comprehensive solution to the problem? The solution from a students end is far different then the solution from a teaching end. And that is different from a free lancers end.

1. If the goal is Aiki power utilized in Aikido? Then practicing waza and internals in a dojo as a student is slowest way.
2. If the goal is rank and learning waza as expressed in an art? Then practicing waza in a dojo as a student is the fast way.

3. If the goal is Aiki power utilized in Aikido in the fastest way possible? Than you are going down a road that will take years. You will have to get Aikido people to train with you outside of the aikido paradigm. Internal power-AIKI-power. IME it is totally different from what I have felt/see/read most aikido people think it means. The movements of aikido are meant to be powered by internal (Aiki) power. Without it-they ain't much. With it, they will forever change.
So you will need to work on the development of structure and what that feels like. Then work on maintaining structure and intent while moving. But trying to develop intent as having any real affect on your body or someone coming into contact with you is best done solo, then slowly with a person helping you, having hours and hours of work go by while training on only a very few things. It's one of the reasons Sagawa would do months and months on just a few waza. Next up would be ramping up the resistance to your movement, then adding changes and multidirectional positional changes. Then waza and being able to change incoming forces while adding your own. None of which has to do with you moving all over the place just to move them.
Now, conceivably years have gone by while working on all of this. With you doing solo work as an adjunct- to your paired work. BTW most will probably no longer train with you anymore. The real problem is then going to the dojo week after week and defaulting and failing, and seeing all your newly learned wiring once again falling apart; breaking structure, having your weight/balance on one side, being led out from your held equilibrium and seeing your shoulder tense up, or seeing a muscle train externally go right up through you and get manipulated before your eyes.
Later, most assuredly not sooner, you will change and everyone will notice. And over time-you-will be the wiser, and far more powerful one. If experience is any indicator, the people who used to laugh at you or stopped training with you will feel you now and say "What was that you were doing, again?"

So, I think it remains a difficult problem to solve. I also think that folks will have to weight their end goals in the balance; wanting Aikido as an art that looks like everyone else's? Or the internal power that was meant to drive the art?
Once -you- get it. Your aikido will never look or feel like what most call Aiki-do ever again. I'd bet you will join the ever growing voices, including aikido teachers now encountering this power and opting to train this way asking "What the hell were they thinking? That isn't aiki!"
I think many are entering into the most wonderful time in their martial careers. I can't wait to see what happens in ten years.

Last edited by DH : 06-02-2008 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:02 PM   #17
Robert Wolfe
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

Dan,

Rather than Budd training "in one of Ellis's Darwinian examples," I'd say our dojo tends more toward the "Intelligent Design" end of the spectrum. While we do have the opportunity to train pretty much as we want, we also have to pay the rent for the dojo. And that has become increasingly problematic.

As our general training paradigm became more sophisticated under Ellis's guidance, requiring solo work outside formal classes, people practicing only occasionally and casually were steadily dropping behind and began to drop out. Now that we're trying to incorporate a structured approach to internal skills following the seminar with Mike Sigman, demanding even greater amounts of solo training and individual initiative, it's worse. On top of that, we don't want to have to "dumb down" regular practices now that the core group doing the work wants to play around a bit -- and the people on the periphery aren't even doing enough training to get purely mechanical fundamentals.

So, as Budd frequently notes when we're debating how best to accomplish what we're after, "It's a real balancing act."

-- Bob
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:33 PM   #18
DH
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

Hi Bob
Oh I do I hear that bud
I'd say "welcome to the club!" But I haven't figured out which club I'm in, or left, was part of, or want no part of.

Seriously though I sat down and was reading my sign-in register. It's all over the map; 16 people regularly training to 2, 8 to occasionally training to 4. I've only got 8 regular people now and a bunch of visitors. But I've been down to just two members many times. With all manner of comments for leaving, I wanted more groundwork, I wanted more stand up, I wanted more striking, I wanted a more traditional approach, I wanted more freestyle and not that aiki crap!!!
Oh well. No profit mind you. But no real bills either.
As I wrote I just focused on me. I've never really figured I had anything worth being called a teacher for anyway. I think of us a place for Shugyo. Hence, Shugyo dojo (named by a teacher I once had). A totally non-traditional name for a totally non-traditional place.

Were I you guys I would embrace this stuff with everything you have. I'd guess you'll thank yourselves and probably be shocked years from now with how many will be looking you up as a source. Not that you are catering to a crowd. It's just that percentage wise it's very hard to find anyone who has appreciable skills. So it's an investment in your future. Anyone who trained smart-stands out. I also think as it build in you you'll wonder "Why do anything else?' If you do it right the power and sensitivity just keeps growing and growing.

So I guess I remain the only Darwinian experiment. Hopefully some of us here have progressed past their Neanderthal stage. I don't think many would include me in that category though.

Last edited by DH : 06-02-2008 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:50 PM   #19
Robert Wolfe
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

Dan,

Well, the only sure thing is you can't please everyone...

Our best head-scratcher was the evening two potential members came to watch the same practice. The vet said what we were doing was too much like the practical combatives he did in the Army, while he was looking for something softer. The college-aged kid said what we were doing was too soft, and he wanted something a little more "real."

Neither joined.

-- Bob
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Old 06-02-2008, 02:20 PM   #20
MM
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

Quote:
Robert Wolfe wrote: View Post
Rather than Budd training "in one of Ellis's Darwinian examples," I'd say our dojo tends more toward the "Intelligent Design" end of the spectrum. While we do have the opportunity to train pretty much as we want, we also have to pay the rent for the dojo. And that has become increasingly problematic.
Well, you do have Budd there, so "Intelligent" might not be the best word choice. Maybe "Stubborn" Design? Just Kidding!

Quote:
Robert Wolfe wrote: View Post
As our general training paradigm became more sophisticated under Ellis's guidance, requiring solo work outside formal classes, people practicing only occasionally and casually were steadily dropping behind and began to drop out. Now that we're trying to incorporate a structured approach to internal skills following the seminar with Mike Sigman, demanding even greater amounts of solo training and individual initiative, it's worse. On top of that, we don't want to have to "dumb down" regular practices now that the core group doing the work wants to play around a bit -- and the people on the periphery aren't even doing enough training to get purely mechanical fundamentals.

So, as Budd frequently notes when we're debating how best to accomplish what we're after, "It's a real balancing act."

-- Bob
Seriously, though. I really, really wouldn't wish anyone to be in your place. Yuck. You're caught between two worlds and it's a real kick in the rear. The bills have to be paid and this internal stuff is at best, boring, and at most, severely repetitively straining. Most people won't want to do it. So, you can't just focus on internal training, but after having tasted some of the internal stuff, you realize you can't go without it.

I guess I chose, though. But, I was lucky in that I don't have the overhead that you do. And if the overhead does become a problem, I'll work in my yard or find a place that's cheaper. Aiki, or internal training, is worth it in the long run. We're down to three of us, me included. Some of your guys met Chris as he was at the Sigman workshop. You haven't met Brian yet. We sort of just focus on this internal stuff right now with the hopes of returning to aikido in another year or so. That's the plan, at least. But, after reading Dan's post, I'm not given much hope. (Gee, thanks Dan. )

Maybe you'll find a middle road in there somewhere. It would give the rest of us hope. I couldn't find it, but I'm not exactly the best or brightest. I have found that now that the three of us have concentrated on just working on internal stuff, we're progressing a bit better. Either that or the past year has helped our progression. It's hard to tell, really.

Sometime this summer, we'll have to visit again, though. Thanks for everything you've done so far. It'd be a heck of a lot harder without the things you've done and are doing. We appreciate that.

Mark
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Old 06-02-2008, 02:50 PM   #21
Budd
 
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Well, you do have Budd there, so "Intelligent" might not be the best word choice. Maybe "Stubborn" Design? Just Kidding!
ZING!! Now, I really can't wait to see you soon, Mark . . . it'll be fuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnn (Why, yes, that is an EVIL grin)
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:06 PM   #22
Ron Tisdale
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

Nah...THIS is an evil grin...


Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:06 PM   #23
MM
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

Quote:
Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
ZING!! Now, I really can't wait to see you soon, Mark . . . it'll be fuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnn (Why, yes, that is an EVIL grin)
LOL! Well, just get the other partner in crime (you know, the one that's always busy working) to free up a day ...

EDIT: Um, the one that posted when I did!
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:27 PM   #24
Ellis Amdur
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Darwinian

Dear Dan - I wasn't thinking of you at all. I was thinking of myself. I have a garage dojo, and frankly, I'm a lot less welcoming than you. You accept guests to practice, I do not. You issue open invites, I do not. So why a "garage or a barn?" I have a habit when I write of coupling words together for rhythm. "A garage or a barn," sounds like a community; far better than "a garage," which merely sounds lonely and depressing.
But if you want to argue with me and include yourself among the isolates who see students in terms of "suitable or please get out - now," you are welcome. The only question is if two misanthropes together are any less lonely.
Ellis

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 06-02-2008 at 07:37 PM.

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Old 06-02-2008, 09:20 PM   #25
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: new Ellis Amdur piece on aikido journal

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
It's one of the reasons Sagawa would do months and months on just a few waza. Next up would be ramping up the resistance to your movement, then adding changes and multidirectional positional changes.
I feel this is an important principle. And you're right Dan. Finding an environment conducive to that kind of training is difficult. If you want it, you usually have to create it yourself.
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