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Old 06-22-2008, 04:13 PM   #1
DH
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Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

How many of the Aikidoka seminar attendees, or those who have gone beyond to regularly train internal skills- now possibly numbering somewhere in the low hundreds- have reconsidered their view of what aiki is and what they used to think it was in their aikido ™ V Aiki…do?

There was at one point in time, no end of contention, disbelief, and even anger discussing internals as aiki. The discussion were sent off to the NON aikido related wonderland. Something which I found as accurate as saying gravity is unrelated to the discusions of Physics.

I recently read this reply by Kevin Leavitt and it seems to address some of my recent thoughts regarding Aikido™ and Aiki…do.
Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
What I thought was "internal" that is the whole blending, getting off the line, harmony, being at one with your opponent with "no mind" definition of internal was changed and how they (Mike, Ark, Dan) view "internal" is not that at all. It is a very definitive and measurable feel.
I found Kevins comments (an Aikidoka) echoing some of my own expressed here:
Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Most aikido shown on all manner of videos and in demonstrations has nothing to do with aiki either. I guess you have to consider just how many folks it takes -all walking in the wrong direction- to validate that choice and make thence make the wrong direction seem right. In that sense I would say there is a great divide between "Aikido" (tm) and Aiki...do. They are not the same.

The good news is you may be able to find Aiki...do, in "Aikido"(tm) but you're probably going to have to look around for quite a while, since most everyone in Aikido(tm) is convinced they are doing Aiki...do - when all along they are just doing aikido (tm) movement. Thus, my point about percentages and direction of travel.

There is a very common and completely mistaken view that turning your whole body to move someone out from their center is aiki. Or leading a cooperative uke out off their feet by having to move yourself all over the place is aiki. This sort of blending-‘called" aiki-has nothing to do with aiki. Its jujutsu, low level jujutsu. So many have done it, for so long, that everyone now thinks it's true aiki. It falls in with the whole "giving in to get your way" idea. It is not needed, is wholly unnecessary, and a tremendous waste of energy. As I said, levering their arm against your hip as you pivot is just jujutsu-and not where you probably would want to be headed were you to feel real Aiki...do instead of Aikido(tm). IMV that type of movement is "full speed… in the wrong direction."

If your re-train your own body, you can arrive at a point where your grip or touch is very controlling to their center. Touching you, or making contact reveals their center with that contact. So much so, that you really don't need to move around to get their center under your control. It just is. You stand there and if they attack you- you take their body for a ride through their contact point. While I am not a fan of this either, (its' still all aiki games-maybe allot of fun but its games none-the-less) it is of a much higher order that what you are talking about.
I most certainly do not and have not ever considered Aikido™ as expressing aiki in any meaningful way, with much or most of what I have seen being either completely wrong in its approach, or just marginally in the right direction.
It reminds me of wondering how you set off from N.Y. trying to get to England and ended up in west Africa.
Time and distance.
All you need do, is give someone a compass just a few degrees off and have them set sail.

If Kevin, Mark, Rob, and others can now more or less say the same things I and others have been saying for years-where do others in Aikido ™ now stand on the issue?
Is the community which has been traveling in large numbers in the wrong direction still behind relegating these discussions to Non-Aikido Martial Traditions Discussions of all non-aikido-specific martial traditions
Or is it finally realizing- by the witness of an ever increasing number of ranked Aikido™ teachers- that this is and was in fact Aiki…do all along and just that many people in Aikido™ missed it.
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Old 06-22-2008, 06:31 PM   #2
John Matsushima
 
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Most of the posts which I have read concerning the "internal skills" which you speak of, I have not been able to understand. There are often so many references to chinese arts and language, which I, and I assume many other cannot understand, which is why it may be written off as "non-aikido". As Aikido is a Japanese art, the concepts and terminology used are most commonly Japanese and English. Even so, there it is sometimes difficult to define certain aspects as it is due to language and culture barriers. Take Aiki, for instance. Ki itself is so difficult to define, even for the Japanese because, in part, that it does not point to one concrete idea, so that makes it all the more difficult for people to understand exactly what Aiki is. My understanding of Aiki refers to the unification of mind, body, and spirit with the universe, which I have gotten from my study of the works of Tohei, Kisshomaru, Morihei, and others. In my own experience, my views have changed not because of some revelation by experiencing someone's super-power, but rather because of the change in my own focus and seriousness of my study. Before I came to my current understanding of Aiki, which I described above, I used to think of it as what you might describe as simple ju-jutsu technique; the concept of opening and turning when pushed, and entering when pulled. But, while it may not be Aiki, it is a valid concept which is used it Aikido technique. In addition to what I have found to be Aiki, it has also been used as a reference to the harmony, spirit, and attitude used by Aikido practitioners. For example someone who is sarcastic, has a combative attitude, or seeks to win at all costs, might be referred to someone who is not "Aiki". Finally, anything which uses Aikido principles, can be referred to as Aiki. I find that in your words, you seem to have redefined Aiki into something else, that only a few understand and them condeming others for not doing so.

So, to me, all the references to the dantien, qi-gong power, etc. are just as confusing as those who attempt to use complicated physics to describe basic concepts. Furthermore, I find all the talk about internal skills to be mystifying, just hinting at concepts describing the effects without explaining in detail as to how they actually work. Take, for example this quote by Dan Harden, to which you referred;

"There is a very common and completely mistaken view that turning your whole body to move someone out from their center is aiki. Or leading a cooperative uke out off their feet by having to move yourself all over the place is aiki. This sort of blending-'called" aiki-has nothing to do with aiki. Its jujutsu, low level jujutsu."

Does this mean the one of the most basic of Aikido basics, tenkan, is not Aiki?

There are many reasons for people's misdirection in Aikido. Some of the reasons are, I think, is because of their attempt to find the "secrets" by inventing new concepts, applying similar, but different concepts instead of the one that should be used, or by applying valid (or perhaps invalid), but again different concepts from outside arts to Aikido, which I think is done with the subject of Internal Arts.

This is why I consider most of the discussion of internal power to be outside of the realm of Aikido.

-John Matsushima

My blog on Japanese culture
http://onecorneroftheplanetinjapan.blogspot.jp/
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Old 06-22-2008, 07:20 PM   #3
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

It is probably a bit tricky to ask people who know about certain aspects of internal skills (meaning they agree on the essentials which are not even worth discussing, and then have some exposure to and expertise is specific ways of development and usage of such skills) but do not do Aikido for detailed comments on the direction of Aikido. However, such people are far far higher up on a credibility scale than lay people in aikido who know nothing of such skills, so certainly some weight should be given as far as training goals go, even if the arts they know are radically different in culture (going back to the underlying similarities between Asian arts). I am also a supporter of those authority figures in aikido who do not possess any (or any advanced) such skills but who know and acknowledge this fact and are willing and eager to bring about their incorporation into training.

Aikido is (unfortunately for some, fortunately for others) a lot more than (and a lot different from) merely a dedicated solo and/or group method of training internal skills and applying them in techniques, as all of us who are/have been part of a large martial arts organization know.

It is important I think instead to have people with bona fide internal skills (even if not particularly high-level in development) scattered throughout the international aikido community worldwide, and their consensus (or what semblance thereof can be had with such a disparate set of cultures and societies) might reflect some underlying direction of the whole of aikido outside of Japan.

Other than that, one could rely on the traditional model; namely, taking leadership from the Honbu dojo, and from that wonderful counterweight and mediating organ, the IAF. Since obviously Honbu has lost some credibility (else this whole discussion would not even be happening) it might bear thinking that the IAF, through the mechanism above (scattered knowledgable people throughout the IAF's associated bodies), would exert some unofficial pressure through the mere existence of such people, on the Honbu dojo. After all, we do all take our mental cue from the originating body of Aikido and if there is real authority there in the form of skills then it makes sense to continue to take one's cue from there. I guess we are at the crossroads where an awakening is coming that aikido should be more about the development of bona fide skills than about social training, which is what I believe martial arts is most famous for in Japan since the Meiji period. However, I am sure many people will disagree on this point.

I am sure this thread will become a very interesting "layman's" thread parallel to Professor Goldsbury's scholarly column.

Regards, Gernot Hassenpflug

Last edited by Gernot Hassenpflug : 06-22-2008 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 06-22-2008, 07:29 PM   #4
DH
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Hi John
I wasn't really interested in trying to convince anyone or enter into a debate with those who haven't felt these skills. Rather I was hoping for interesting feedback regarding the preponderance of evidence via personal witness by the hundred plus who have felt these things, and whether or not that "witness" has been excepted by the community of readers, considered as a curiosity, or dismissed alltogether.
I was also asking for feedback from those who have begun to research on how it has impacted their view of Aiki in the larger sense, and how it has affected their view of Aikido™. Verses their growing understanding of aiki and the way of training aiki and using aiki in their own Aiki…do.
The larger debate of whether or not this is real and is in fact aiki as perceived in the Japanese sense was not my intent. IMO that’s old news. Your mention of the Chinese terminology frequently mentioned in the discussion (though I believe to be accurate none-the-less) has never come from me. All I have ever discussed was Japanese origins and usages in the Japanese arts. I’m guessing you just haven’t read much from me-not that I talk about how to’s on the net anyway, but I think you see my point.
Perhaps you care to revisit your comments in light of the purpose of the thread?.

Last edited by DH : 06-22-2008 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:18 PM   #5
John Matsushima
 
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
"Rather I was hoping for interesting feedback regarding the preponderance of evidence via personal witness by the hundred plus who have felt these things...."
Sorry, I missed that one. But how do I know if I'm one of the lucky few that you speak of? How do you know? Is this just a thread for people who think the same way to get together and polish each other's apples and talk about how ignorant everyone else is?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
....and whether or not that "witness" has been accepted by the community of readers, considered as a curiosity, or dismissed alltogether....
Well, I thought my response was, in short, to say that I, as a member of the community of readers that you speak of, have not accepted it, and have dismissed it due to the reasons stated.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I was also asking for feedback from those who have begun to research on how it has impacted their view of Aiki in the larger sense, and how it has affected their view of Aikido™.
Wait a minute...what is this "it" that you speak of, having an impact on the view of Aiki. I responded in my last post addressing the concept of Aiki itself, as that is what you asked for in your OP; my view of Aiki now, and what it used to be. I thought that you were basically attempting to discuss how "everyone" doesn't understand what Aiki is. By the way, I have begun research on every concept that I'm aware of in Aikido, as I think any serious student has.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
"How many of the Aikidoka seminar attendees, or those who have gone beyond to regularly train internal skills- now possibly numbering somewhere in the low hundreds- have reconsidered their view of what aiki is and what they used to think it was in their aikido ™ V Aiki…do?"
If what the "it" refers to internal skills, then could you please tell me what is the Japanese terminology/origins of these skills that you speak of?

And you seem to be speaking of Aiki again here;

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
"I most certainly do not and have not ever considered Aikido™ as expressing aiki in any meaningful way, with much or most of what I have seen being either completely wrong in its approach, or just marginally in the right direction."
and here...

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
"Or is it finally realizing- by the witness of an ever increasing number of ranked Aikido™ teachers- that this is and was in fact Aiki…do all along and just that many people in Aikido™ missed it."
Well, perhaps I am one of the people who are missing it. You say you don't do "how-to's" on the net, but perhaps you could enlighten me with what exactly "it" is, and how it is different from what the majority of misguided souls that you claim are doing. What are we missing??? Please tell me! Onegaishimaaaaas.....

-John Matsushima

My blog on Japanese culture
http://onecorneroftheplanetinjapan.blogspot.jp/
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:34 PM   #6
Upyu
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote: View Post
Does this mean the one of the most basic of Aikido basics, tenkan, is not Aiki?
Basically, yes, if it's done only copying the rote form.
Tenkan done "inside" the body would be a different thing.

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote: View Post
There are many reasons for people's misdirection in Aikido. Some of the reasons are, I think, is because of their attempt to find the "secrets" by inventing new concepts, applying similar, but different concepts instead of the one that should be used, or by applying valid (or perhaps invalid), but again different concepts from outside arts to Aikido, which I think is done with the subject of Internal Arts.

This is why I consider most of the discussion of internal power to be outside of the realm of Aikido.
Then why would Ikeda Sensei invite a karate-ka like Ushiro to give a seminar on Ki and Kokyu power, with Ushiro going so far to say "No Kokyu, No Aikido"

Point in fact,
Most of my background originally was in Chinese arts before I joined the Aunkai, where skills aren't really described in terms of "Ki"/"Qi" etc. But when I visited Abe Sensei's dojo in Kyoto, his description of how to send power, the lines connecting the body etc, were all things I immediately recognized and could do to a certain extent

John, it's just obvious you haven't felt anyone with these physical skills. If you've felt them before you'd know immediately what was being discussed.

Qi-qong = Ki-kou
Dantien = Tanden
Flow of Qi = Flow of Ki

Nothing differs really from a theoretical sense. You'd have to be able to perform the physical skills first before you understand why they say "be one with the universe" and all sorts of other ganja smoking hippy smack

I'm going to steal a quote from Kevin Leavitt since it illustrates this very point that's been covered over and over again

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Mary,

The only thing I can tell you is that you will go round and round with Mike, Dan, and Rob until you get with them and train.

I have my own definitions, facts, and assumptions...but I think I have a little better understanding of Mike and Rob's position and definition of the collective term "internal" from their perspective now that I have trained with them a little. (I haven't gotten with Dan, but assume he is in the same camp).

What I thought was "internal" that is the whole blending, getting off the line, harmony, being at one with your opponent with "no mind" definition of internal was changed and how they view "internal" is not that at all.

It is a very definitive and measurable feel.


If you're in Tokyo I suggest you drop by and get a feel of Akuzawa Minoru. He doesn't explain anything in terms of Aiki, but I'm sure it would give you an idea of what everyone has been talking about in the various threads.

Last edited by Upyu : 06-22-2008 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:38 PM   #7
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I wasn't really interested in trying to convince anyone or enter into a debate with those who haven't felt these skills. ... I was also asking for feedback from those who have begun to research on how it has impacted their view of Aiki in the larger sense, and how it has affected their view of Aikido™.
So to clarify the thread topic ... in other words, instead of working to establish the points of legitimate contention with those who may disagree with you, you are asking those who already do, or are disposed to agree with you -- if they agree with you.

Daring choice, really.

pace John -- Physics has the benefit that it can be checked up on for the validity of a concept asserted, and then observed in practice for the validity of the concept as practiced. As to "basics" well, -- physics can be surprisingly complex for seemingly trivially simple things -- a hanging chain is child's play to demonstrate but analyzing it requires a grasp of hyperbolic functions and the natural logarithm -- definitely NOT child's play -- but worth the effort to understand how richly things are really connected.

I think much of what aikido teaches is in that category -- the simplicity is inherently deceptive -- but not intentionally so -- it just is what it is.

That frustrates some people, and entices others.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:41 PM   #8
rob_liberti
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

The point of aiki is that it represents depth of understanding. Finding a much more direct approach to access that depth has been wonderful. I am not so much re-evaluating what "aiki" is - but rather how much depth I can attain personally in my lifetime and what I might be able to do with it.

People will have all sorts of ideas about what is best to learn/teach this stuff based on their own personal experiences. (Aiki...do is a VERY RARE experience.) Also people will tend to be ego-attached to those methods. Let's face it people are generally willing to fight when something violates their personal belief system.

When I used to read Mike Sigman discussing jin/kokyu and it matched my image of sandan in aikido - because it was about mind/body unification. Since training internals a bit, I believe it is probably much more in line with what my opinion of yondan in aikido SHOULD BE - that your mind and body do different things at the same time (separated) to accomplish things (where sandan is mind/body unified). I got my yondan and was completely intimidated by how much work - and how much time it was going to take - that I was going to have to do to be able to really manifest this. Now I am studying internal skills directly - I am still intimidated by how much work and time it will take - but it is CLEARLY going to get me further faster. (It already has, and I haven't really got started yet..) And I'll take any help I can get.

As far as the form "aikido" vrs. "aiki...do" I'm just not really attached. Whatever is best I'll do. My plan was to continue to teach aikido in the normal way and let those who are interested in aiki...do approach me for before/after class instruction in what I'm doing for myself. I'm not sure if I'll continue that plan in the future. The reason is that a bit of delusion sells to beginners. I think there should be a happy medium where you have enough "beginner's program" to keep paying the rent and insurance, so that the serious folks have a place to train.

I was given quite a lot by aikido itself, and I feel obligated to give back. I'll just decide what is the best way of doing that for myself as I progress. It's just valuable to have a practice. What is practiced and how it is practiced doesn't much matter to me. I just want it to be darn difficult (if I could do it easily I'd quit) and fun (I don't like the emotionally constipated approach to trying to prove how serious of a student you are thing).

The thing to consider is that IF this approach does take off in popularity I expect the following:

1 - it will shake up the system for who gets the money for dan grading. I don't do martial arts to make money - not my thing. (I'm not against breaking even - that's typically my goal.) But I can see how it would make some people very nervous. But well, things change - that's the nature of things...

2 - the aiki bunny dance method will be in serious trouble. People will show up to those dojos and completely invalidate the approach within seconds. Only the religious zealots will refuse to believe what they are seeing and feeling for themselves from people with 20 fewer years of training.

3 - the rift between some of the organizations may HEAL - because the nonsense that divides us will be mostly irrelevant (it already is - but it will be obvious to everyone).

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 06-22-2008 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:53 PM   #9
DH
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Hi John

To remain on point. I was asking for feedback from those who have trained in these skills and then reported back and are now training in aikido, or of the community who have read those reports, and if it impacted their view. I think I am reading from you that you have dismissed all of these people out of hand because you still don't understand what is being discussed, so their many posts are irrelevant and to be dismissed. Do you dismiss skills of Ueshiba and Takeda then? We only know about them from reports as well, and you certainly didn't understand them either.
What has meaning to you as an aikidoka?
These posters here are all your fellow aikidoka, were all naysayers or doubters, and have come back with reports?
a) Are you answering my question by stating you do not believe them and dismiss them out of hand?
b) You do believe them, but don't care?
c) You think they have no ability to judge the difference?

Again, I didn't ask for yet another discussion whether or not someone thinks these skills are real. If someone wants to discuss that there are dozens of threads in the Non Aikido forums to discuss that -please do so there. I had asked for feedback of another kind
a) From Aikidoka who have experienced them and how it is impacting their aikido,
b) From those who have read their reports and whether all these many reports have impacted their opinions, second hand as it were?

Last edited by DH : 06-22-2008 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:56 PM   #10
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
When I used to read Mike Sigman discussing jin/kokyu and it matched my image of sandan in aikido - because it was about mind/body unification. Since training internals a bit, I believe it is probably much more in line with what my opinion of yondan in aikido SHOULD BE - that your mind and body do different things at the same time (separated) to accomplish things (where sandan is mind/body unified). I got my yondan and was completely intimidated by how much work - and how much time it was going to take - that I was going to have to do to be able to really manifest this. Now I am studying internal skills directly - I am still intimidated by how much work and time it will take - but it is CLEARLY going to get me further faster. (It already has, and I haven't really got started yet..) And I'll take any help I can get.
I don't think it matters much what I said/say, to be honest. I think that it's all like a fox-hunt... once you spot the fox (or think you have), you're on your own trying to catch that sucker! Good luck.

Mike Sigman
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Old 06-22-2008, 09:05 PM   #11
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Rob wrote:

Quote:
My plan was to continue to teach aikido in the normal way and let those who are interested in aiki...do approach me for before/after class instruction in what I'm doing for myself I'm not sure if I'll continue that plan in the future. The reason is that a bit of delusion sells to beginners. I think there should be a happy medium where you have enough "beginner's program" to keep paying the rent and insurance, so that the serious folks have a place to train.
Funny you should mention this. I have discussed this issue with a number of people over the past year. Knowing what I know now about martial arts, proper training, and all....

(I will be the first one to say it that knowledge is a reflection of my own identified shortcomings!...you know...those that do, do...those that can't but can talk about it...teach....)

Anyway...

I think that if we were totally honest and had someone come to the dojo to learn aikido and they said that they were interested in learning it, we'd send them to something akin to a yoga class full of developmental exercises like Mike and Ark taught us. We'd have them show up doing suburi every night...then after a year we'd start putting them through Ki test to see if what they have developed gave them a good enough base....

Anyway you get the picture...

Well I think they would say...well that is great and all...but I want to learn Aikido..you know...how to redirect someone's energy, put them in a joint lock, etc.

We'd not have many students either! nor would we be able to pay the bills!

The fact is that the pareto principle is alive and well in aikido as it is in anything else. 80% of the people are there for reasons other than what the serious 20% are their for. Out of that 20% ....probably less actually will figure out a few other things.

Our culture is different than Japan when Aikido was started. Thus, the point of entry into the arts must also be very different. I can only imagine since I have never been to Japanese or experienced it pre and post war in Japan.

So, I think we bring people in however we get them in, and alot of them will leave, some will stay and dabble, fewer are willing to put in the time to really develop skill.

I know I am training differently today than I did a few years ago. I feel I have been fortunate to have been exposed to some very good martial artist both in MMA and in the "Aiki" world in the last few years. They have taught me alot about what is really important and that boils down to developing a good base.

I went to a yoga class with my wife tonight. It is humbling and embarrassing that I cannot do some very basic things that as a aikido practicioner I should be able to do if I had good core or internal development.

If I cannot demonstrate these things in a simple yoga class, how could I ever expect to do well at MMA, Aikido, or any other martial art?

So, at what point do we become honest with people and tell them, "you are wasting your time...you are not putting in the work necessary to improve".?

At what point to we stop teaching them?

How do we change the focus of the dojo to focus on core skill development?

Do we risk on changing how we do business and conduct classes at the risk of a mass exodus of unhappy people because we are doing "Aiki yoga" when they came there to learn a martial art or "blend and harmonize"?

I think Rob Liberti has the right approach personally.

Change slowly and those that want to go this way will gravitate together. Maybe the rest will follow if they start seeing the advantages gained!

Good discussion.

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Old 06-22-2008, 09:07 PM   #12
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Quote:
Robert John wrote: View Post
Then why would Ikeda Sensei invite a karate-ka like Ushiro to give a seminar on Ki and Kokyu power, with Ushiro going so far to say "No Kokyu, No Aikido"
Ikeda said why. Go look it up. http://www.bujindesign.com/seminar_r...article_1.html Audio here: http://www.aikidojournal.com/downloa...dia=radio&id=7.

As was once said about another thing -- Aikido has not been tried and found wanting -- it has been found difficult and not tried.

As to Ushiro, he said this in response to Stan Pranin : "when Mr. Pranin asked Ushiro Sensei what suggestions he might have that might help the students improve their aikido, he replied: "Things will change if you learn how to attack better. And that's pretty much it."

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Robert John wrote: View Post
But when I visited Abe Sensei's dojo in Kyoto, his description of how to send power, the lines connecting the body etc, were all things I immediately recognized and could do to a certain extent
"Saotome Sensei made the light-hearted observation that he had been teaching karate and Ushiro Sensei had been teaching aikido." See link above

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 06-22-2008, 09:16 PM   #13
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Erick,

Also in the article it was written:

"Ushiro Sensei taught how he harmonizes with his opponent, which, on the surface at least, seemed quite different from how harmonization is thought of in aikido. "

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Old 06-22-2008, 09:17 PM   #14
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

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Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
... people will tend to be ego-attached to those methods. ...
I think that says all that need be said on this topic, frankly.

And I'll ask the rhetorical question, if only because Ikeda has already been brought up -- where are he and Saotome pointing their organization? -- toward a preferred, proprietary tutelary method or toward valid applications of objective principles that can be found by proper attention and study of what we do and why we do it when we do it properly?

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 06-22-2008, 09:21 PM   #15
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

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The fact is that the pareto principle is alive and well in aikido as it is in anything else. 80% of the people are there for reasons other than what the serious 20% are their for. Out of that 20% ....probably less actually will figure out a few other things.

Our culture is different than Japan when Aikido was started. Thus, the point of entry into the arts must also be very different. I can only imagine since I have never been to Japanese or experienced it pre and post war in Japan.

So, I think we bring people in however we get them in, and alot of them will leave, some will stay and dabble, fewer are willing to put in the time to really develop skill.
Just to throw in my two-cents worth, I think the real mistake is in trying to package the "internal" skills (I'd debate what that means, FWIW) as a martial phenomenon. I don't think these skills were martial to start with (another good discussion) and I'd note that both Ueshiba and Shioda indicated that these skills were more or less an investment for old age. I agree with that idea. Are they martially important? Sure. But they're much more important for daily life and usage... uh oh.... Tohei beat me to the punch on that one, didn't he?

As I see it, the baselines skills of the ki/kokyu things are fine in a dojo atmosphere, but some way has to be found to teach/convey them as daily movement, etc., skills. Will you get more powerful doing difficult standing/moving exercises? Sure. But the baseline skills can be (IMO) taught more easily than that. Once someone understands the baseline skill-parameters, then they should be able to invest as much time as they want in order to become as powerful as they want.

Certainly we're quite different from the earlier, more martially-oriented cultures. My comment is that everyone in Aikido (and other arts) has seen how easy it is to lose these skills in general, so it's worthwhile to find an accomodating level as a baseline and quit worrying so much about martial effectiveness. Martial effectiveness is good, but general usage should be more of a consideration, IMO. Oh... and I don't mean having babies with it.


FWIW

Mike Sigman

Last edited by Mike Sigman : 06-22-2008 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 06-22-2008, 09:21 PM   #16
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

My edit time ran out

I had thought that there would be some questions -as yet unanswered- to be asked of those who came to test it and experience it. Not to be asked of Me, Ark or Mike, but rather of your fellow aikidoka. Why did you go? What did it feel like? How do you see it impacting the art. What happens next in your training or school?
Or, as Gernot said,
A sort of laymens thread or response from those IN aikido to those FROM aikido who went to find out and are training.
I thought it might be more interesting to talk to them.

I'd imagine at some point in time it would start to seem silly to just sit there and keep doubting and or debating what is becoming ever increasingly more obvious.
Most missed it.
I was hoping to move the conversation forward to what's next. How to remain doing Aikido™ while trying to finally learn Aiki...do. Or to separate the training. Doing Aikido™ on opposite nights from getting together to practice Aiki...do. Or do you train it everyday on your own? With a group from within the dojo. Rob is already thinking ahead on how it may effect everything in the art -in time. Kevin has interesting ideas, Mark M. just stopped Aikido™ alltogether to focus, etc. etc.
It seems that many are really going for it and truly want it, having felt it. Which is what I thought would happen.

Last edited by DH : 06-22-2008 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 06-22-2008, 09:25 PM   #17
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

You know, being a part of Saotome's organization, from my limited experiences with him...he seems to simply put it out there and it is up to you to figure it out. To be honest, most of us are so removed from him in the hierarchy that he and Ikeda simply provide leadership at this point of the organization, as it should be.

What I read in the article is that both of them are open to new ideas and outside influences, and encourage us to look for different perspectives and paradigms.

I don't get the feeling that they want us to simply follow what they do, but figure it out for ourselves.

I think the fact that they bring Ushiro in is a direct sign that we need to consider other paradigms.

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Old 06-22-2008, 09:28 PM   #18
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Erick,

Also in the article it was written:

"Ushiro Sensei taught how he harmonizes with his opponent, which, on the surface at least, seemed quite different from how harmonization is thought of in aikido. "
Interesting choice of words (underlined). What one might discern as different methods of instruction, but equally suitable for unhealthy ego-attachment. My teacher swore once he only ever knew two techniques in aikido -- irimi and tenkan. I've whittlin' mine down ever since.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 06-22-2008, 09:36 PM   #19
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Dan wrote:

Quote:
I was hoping to move the conversation forward to what's next. How to remain doing Aikido™ while trying to finally learn Aiki...do. Or to separate the training. Doing Aikido™ on opposite nights from getting together to practice Aiki...do. Or do you train it everyday on your own? With s group from within the dojo etc.
It seems that many are really going for it and truly want it, having felt it. Which is what I thought would happen.
good question actually Dan. One a few of us our struggling with in our geographic area.

In the aikido institution or dojo, it is challenging to implement I think as a full scale thing as it requires a shift that I believe the masses are not willing to do. AND one that the few of us that have gone to a couple of workshops are not comfortable with as we are struggling with this on a personal level.

I think that Mike's post above is a good one to consider too.

What I have done is found a partner that is willing to spend sometime training with me as we fumble through this stuff. I am spending time doing solo training as well.

In addtion I am trying to move differently when I do things daily such as openning doors, walking up and down stairs...in Aikido class, when I grapple, stand up out of a chair etc.

Some training occurs in the dojo and we try and do it, but it is more on a personal level. I think it will take time and most of us realize that at this point it is about personal development and not about the dojo.

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Old 06-22-2008, 09:39 PM   #20
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
You know, being a part of Saotome's organization, from my limited experiences with him...he seems to simply put it out there and it is up to you to figure it out. ... I don't get the feeling that they want us to simply follow what they do, but figure it out for ourselves.

I think the fact that they bring Ushiro in is a direct sign that we need to consider other paradigms.
Well we share that. I think you are right. But I don't think it is pointing us toward anyone's paradigm but our own. To challenge ourselves as we are challenged, not to simply adopt someone else's challenges. From my perspective, you are doing a bang-up job of YOUR OWN paradigm -- and with some interesting flavor on the Army side. Go with what you know. If there is truth in it, it will be useful and worthwhile, and if not, it will be seen soon enough. I try to do likewise. I just find that -- like the over-enthusiastic promoters of old standby flavors (which are all good in their own right) -- the salespeople for the new flavor on the block keep many people from realizing that to get ice cream on a hot day -- all you need is cream, your own choice of flavor (for variety's sake) -- plus ice, salt, and a whooollle lotta grindin'.

Keep grindin'

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 06-22-2008, 09:55 PM   #21
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Thanks Erick...I am hard headed mainly.

I personally think that there is nothing really that I have not been exposed to in aikido. Frankly just about everything that Mike showed us I have done at least ONCE in aikido as a warm up or exercise.

Same with irimi/tenkan...it is basic....move off the line and turn.

Irimi/Tenkan is the basis for ground fighting, and you see it in the UFC as well.

however, application of it, timing, and how you do it can be tremendously different.

Again, Mike didn't really show us nothing new..just told us alot of stuff about "HOW" to do it a little more correctly, and WHY you want to do it. and emphasized that you need to do it ALOT.

irimi/tenkan I have learned over the last few years is not just about moving off line, but more about energy you focus in and on your opponent. Today I try and move ever so slightly off line, but also try and have myself positioned with potential energy.

So, superficially, it may look the same or different. We communicate move off the line and turn....that is open for a HUGE discussoin about what it really means to do that. What I thought it meant has changed dramatically over the past couple of years.

So to me it is not so much the fact that I have been taught the wrong things, or the wrong methodology...it is simply a communication issue, or that emphasis was put in different areas than maybe where it should have been.

Who is responsible for it? Teacher or Student? Both I think. At some point the student has to start thinking for himself.

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Old 06-22-2008, 10:30 PM   #22
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Hello again Dan,

I don't dismiss people, I dismiss ideas and concepts. I dismiss the idea of reinventing the wheel. I don't agree that your skills are anything special that hasn't already been taught in mainstream Aikido. Perhaps your training methods are different, but it seems to me that it has always been an important principle of Aikido NOT to use muscle power. I think that perhaps what you and others describe as "aiki/internal/kokyu" skills are taught to many from day 1. I know it was to me. Perhaps I've never had this revelation because I remember in the very beginning of my training, it was stressed to me to relax, don't use muscle power, and to harmonize. Because of the thickness of my skull, it took many years of me trying to do Aikido, then I finally realized, oh, its that simple. Are you saying that the majority of Aikido practioners don't know this as well?

I also dismiss your idea of elitism, the whole idea that only members of the "100PLUS Club™" have these "skillz". I think its that kind of thinking that hinders learning. If you realize that there are hundreds of thousands of people out there with very high Aikido skills, then you will see how much higher you can go. I don't do hero worshiping and I do disagree with some of the things that Ueshiba said and did. I disagree with some of the ways that Ikeda sensei does his waza too. But so what. I also believe that many Aikido practitioners today have built and created even higher levels than what Ueshiba ever achieved. So, I don't think that most people missed "it". But rather, that the concept of not using muscle power is what they felt and saw in the very beginning from their sempai and sensei,and is what impresses so many people and causes intrigue and a want to train in Aikido. At least it was for me.

On a side note regarding training, I don't think that Aiki/Internal/Kokyu skills should be kept a secret and saved only for the "serious" students. I think that this will hinder the progress of Aikido.

I completely agree with your quote from Ushiro sensei, "no kokyu, no aikido". But then again, without breath, you can't do much of anything.

"I was hoping to move the conversation forward to what's next. How to remain doing Aikido™ while trying to finally learn Aiki...do. Or to separate the training. Doing Aikido™ on opposite nights from getting together to practice Aiki...do. It seems that many are really going for it and truly want it, having felt it. Which is what I thought would happen. You'd have to be a real dunderhead to have felt Aiki...do andnot want it.
I couldn't say the same for Aikido™"

Dan, Aikido and practicing Aiki are one and the same. Aikido is the practice of Aiki. But if what you are talking about are training methods, then I agree with Mr. Leavitt, it can be real boring stuff sometimes. I have trained in dojos where we didn't do a single technique for a month. The methods are already out there. Man Sei Kan has some great stuff, as well as the KI society.

-John Matsushima

My blog on Japanese culture
http://onecorneroftheplanetinjapan.blogspot.jp/
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Old 06-22-2008, 10:30 PM   #23
Mark Jakabcsin
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I'd imagine at some point in time it would start to seem silly to just sit there and keep doubting and or debating what is becoming ever increasingly more obvious.
Dan,
No sarcasm intended. 2009 is not far away, perhaps you will get a better response then as more will understand. If not 2010 is only 18 months a about a week away.

MJ
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Old 06-22-2008, 10:36 PM   #24
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

John,

Even though it is all this stuff is "in Aikido". When I went to the two weekend seminars the thought kept running through my head.....

"why didn't anyone wearing a hakama ever explain it so clearly as these guys wearing sweats and tee-shirts?"

it is in there, but I think we as a community have done a very poor job of codifying and communicating it.

Maybe your experiences are different than mine, and myself and a few others are the exception (I think not), but that question keeps running through my mind.

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Old 06-22-2008, 11:06 PM   #25
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Aikido™ and Aiki…do. Where are we at?

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote: View Post
I don't dismiss people, I dismiss ideas and concepts. /../ I don't agree that your skills are anything special that hasn't already been taught in mainstream Aikido. /../ it seems to me that it has always been an important principle of Aikido NOT to use muscle power. I think that perhaps what you and others describe as "aiki/internal/kokyu" skills are taught to many from day 1. I know it was to me. /../ Are you saying that the majority of Aikido practioners don't know this as well?
Just some comments:

Heh, very thorough dismissal there :-) It bears pondering what the details are of that which replaces the muscle power. And incidentally, of course muscles are used, else nothing works. So even the way you have phrased it, it is an indirect telling of the tale. I don't think that can be avoided. In the same vein, it can be said that while a lot of people may be using less muscle than they were before, what they are doing is still not very effective or very efficient. That is, a lot could be improved. In fact, a whole mindset change could be made. So yes, the majority of Aikido practitioners don't know this. Certainly the majority I've met "even" in Japan. I too have been "fortunate" but not as fortunate as I assumed!

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote: View Post
I also dismiss your idea of elitism, the whole idea that only members of the "100PLUS Club™" have these "skillz". I think its that kind of thinking that hinders learning. If you realize that there are hundreds of thousands of people out there with very high Aikido skills, then you will see how much higher you can go.
Well, it is only logical to note that there are fewer people with high-level skills than low-level skills. The basics are certainly within the means of anyone. The problem is access to someone who will teach, and access to someone that will teach in an efficient manner. I know my use of the body improved every year I did aikido, but the increment was extremely small compared to what I would have been able to get with the access to teaching I have now.

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote: View Post
On a side note regarding training, I don't think that Aiki/Internal/Kokyu skills should be kept a secret and saved only for the "serious" students. I think that this will hinder the progress of Aikido.
I think all of us posting here agree on that point. The basics are so essential to everything that having them in the open is still no threat to those with real developed skills. That is, knowledge is not the same thing as actual experience and training over a long period of time. However, most of the people who have access to this training now can verify that there were many reasons why even the extreme basics were and are guarded jealously like the crown jewels they are: someone who know how you train can tell what you can do in an all-encompassing way, and bye-bye surprise in an encounter.
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