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Old 09-29-2008, 07:42 AM   #126
Mike Sigman
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

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Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Dan remembers Rob standing Tues with his hands on me and for the first time-sending force into me at will without moving.
Seems to me you two have come together nicely.
Well, I think that's great for Rob. In general I would say that a lot of Aikido people are now at that stage (or more) or forces manipulations and it will get better, since there are a lot more skills in the pantry to develop. Most of the force manipulation skills can be reached fairly quickly (I'd say that most people can do them at one of the first-time workshops that I occasionally do), but the trick in my opinion is to get people to train more and more so that these skills are burned in and become part of what they automatically do. It's easy to do a simple skill rudimentally and then think "Mission Accomplished".

However, back to my point, it's easy to get back into the me, me, me stuff and run the risk of setting up personality problems similar to the problems that have been around for so many years. I think talking about *how* to do these basic things is a better topic than *who* or *guess what I can do*. Besides, I know for a fact that someone's understanding is enhanced by him/her thinking out how to articulate/describe exactly what is going on. That's sort of why I mentioned the older posts.... thinking back on them might give people an idea of thinking what their current posts will appear like to people in the future... as well as now.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 09-29-2008, 09:17 AM   #127
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
I think talking about *how* to do these basic things is a better topic than *who* or *guess what I can do*.
Mike,
Does this mean you will soon begin a thread about clicking one's heels together?
Ricky
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Old 09-29-2008, 09:55 AM   #128
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

I agree and would only add that for those who are just starting they will of course be discussing themselves and people they meet and comparing notes on effect they find new and interesting in their training. But more important is that it seems very clear that those who are training in it are being told by all parties showing them to look beyond them and to search out other teaching.
The cautions are worthy of note, I'm just once again restating that in seeing and meeting these folks they are making it clear- that they are indeed doing that very thing. The fire is lit and folks are searching and making decisions. There is an ever growing awareness of this type of training and a process of identifying those who have it and those who don't is under way by those looking for it, who don't want to get caught up waisting their time anymore
So, I think talking about "who" and talking about what they are personally experiencing in how this is changing in their own skill sets may continue for a while.
As an example is Allen stating he wants to e able to withstand a push and Rob and others can respond about what is happening to and in them. That will inevitably involve them talking about themselves, and who they are training with. Although some...cough... don't state everyone they train with to get " this stuff" others are more forthcoming.
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Old 09-29-2008, 11:13 AM   #129
Mike Sigman
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

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Although some...cough... don't state everyone they train with to get " this stuff" others are more forthcoming.
I'm not sure it's important to state where people learn what little information is out there. To me it's more important *what* they can do, *how* they do it, etc. Of course, if someone claims on a public forum that their knowledge was revealed in a dream I'd want to know exactly what hallucinogen was involved and if they claimed they learned it all in a koryu I'd want to know more about it.... but only because they started the conversation and made the claim.

Since I don't do any organized martial art (any more) but am more interested in the skills, the how-to's, and the training methodology, I'm no more interested in getting into the acknowledgement business (more simply: I don't want any acknowledgement) than the man in the moon. And frankly I'm a little but uncomfortable with some of the "testifying for Jesus" stuff that I see. But each to his own... I just don't see a need for it when there are all these good topics that need discussing, like the topic in this thread about DR, other topics about Aikido, and so on.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 09-29-2008, 11:31 AM   #130
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

Well we agree on that - in part. One issue I have is this
Quote:
I'm not sure it's important to state where people learn what little information is out there.
Were I to be looking for where to go-as people currently are doing-then we have to admit there are a lot of leads out there, that turn out to be dead ends or partial sources. So we will be seeing people now doing what we suggested years ago...to do. Go out and test and feel and share the information to aid others. Which is simply what MAers have -been- doing for hundreds of years
I don't like the 'testifying for Jesus" either, and I think it can handled better- I do like and hope that as people encounter the skills, where ever they may be, that they also find out if the students haven them and the teacher is actively teaching and come back and state where that is.

Since no one is claiming expertise, it stands to reason that the search and the information sharing is beneficial. Unfortunately depending on the school some cannot share publicly. That was the source of the *cough" joke.
If the ultimate goal is as genuine as stated-"That these skills and the knowledge of them don't die." then it is the best way to get there.
Really, it's the way it always was-only that the internet broadens the search base. It also helps to read where this or that great MA teacher is fantastic, but his students really just didnlt get it. That's valuable information.

Last edited by DH : 09-29-2008 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:03 PM   #131
Allen Beebe
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
As an example is Allen stating he wants to e able to withstand a push and Rob and others can respond about what is happening to and in them. That will inevitably involve them talking about themselves, and who they are training with. Although some...cough... don't state everyone they train with to get " this stuff" others are more forthcoming.
Since my name appeared in the same paragraph as the "cough joke," and since I'm rather immune to subtlety, I'm wondering if the ribbing was directed at me?

If so, I thought that was pretty clear (its in my signature), especially to the primary participants on these threads. Although I should note that the biggest influence by far was Shirata sensei. (I've really just begun to be instructed in the Nairiki of TSYR. It would be inappropriate and presumptuous for me to speak on behalf of TSYR especially when my teacher can, and has, posted on the subject.) I've also mentioned on other threads that I enjoyed attending two Aunkai workshops.

That having been said, I would hasten to add that I feel that I have, and hope to continue to be, benefited by folks willing, and able, to share their experiences and insights. Hopefully someday I'll get the chance to meet up with everyone.

So there you go . . . if you even meant me in the first place.

FWIW,
Allen

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Old 09-29-2008, 02:27 PM   #132
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

No dig Allen. The cough joke involves a few folks who keep their training to themselves. And I don't think negatively about that either way. I'm neutral about it as it's there choice. But you also brought up another point though, that some don't feel they should be talking or allowed to talk. I still don't do "how-to's" on the net. But, no nothing aimed your way. None whatsoever.

Last edited by DH : 09-29-2008 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 09-29-2008, 03:41 PM   #133
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

Hi Dan,

OK, no problem. Sorry to take up "airspace" then.

I'm looking forward to receiving "how to's" up close and personal in the future if you'll be so gracious. Your mixed applications sound like a lot of fun too so I'd be up for that as well as long as I came out in one piece and learned something . . . I had a blast in the two Jon Bluming seminars doing his brand of MMA.

All the best,
Allen

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Old 10-04-2008, 09:55 AM   #134
Mike Sigman
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

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Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
Mike, I guess I'm just confused.
Fair enough, Rob. The topic is about using ki-skills for "aiki" in D.R., not analysing everyone else's potential character flaws. I started the topic, using a video of Nishikido and the point I was trying to make was that at the third generation, Nishikido still has some idea/skills about what "aiki" really is. He does some exotic demonstrations of "reaching through" others to achieve the "aiki".

How he reaches through and exactly what he does, I don't feel like discussing, although I'd note that he has overly-compliant uke's and in real life I don't think those demo's would actually work against anyone with even a modicum of self-defense skills.

The reason I don't feel like getting into a discussion about how he does those things is that there are several ways to do them (some not as good as others) and I'm back to my personal position that while I think everyone should have access to the basic skills, I think higher-level skills people need to work for. Besides, the real point was to show that someone third-generation still understands the basic point of "aiki". Much/most of the videos I've seen of present-day DR don't seem to have much in the way of ki skills (IMO) or if they have some, it's not very high level. That's my opinion and I'm open to a debate, as long as the debate stays on issues and can stay away from the constant personal remarks that a few people reverting to.

There are a number of Daito-ryu videos on YouTube that might be worth looking at or even a freeze-frame of some technique could be analysed. However, even though the topic is DR, I don't think anyone should set out to disparage the art. All the arts are going through a phase where much of what they do is external and "technique".... that will change over time for some people. The costume-wearing, foreign-phrase-speaking masses... I don't think they'll ever change much.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 10-04-2008, 02:46 PM   #135
Mike Sigman
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

So just for fun, I looked at a couple of Daito Ryu videos on YouTube. Naturally, since I'm out of the organized-martial-arts loop I can offer a couple of insights that I couldn't do if I were card-carrying member of some related jujutsu ryu.

This video didn't show me anything that I wouldn't expect to see at many Aikido dojos and the way the two in the forefront move, I don't see any special skills. I'm not saying they have *no* jin skills, but if they do have them, they're minimal at best. That raises the more or less obvious observation that "not everyone in DR has these skills so to say anything generic about DR as an art can raise a question.

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

Here's a video of Okamoto Sensei:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKJm3...eature=related

The interesting thing about this video and the one technique he highlighted was that while I could see the "kokyu power" that Okamoto had, it was not really stressed; the technique and the timing of the technique were stressed. So it would be easy to imagine someone without any real grasp of ki/kokyu skills focusing on the technique, leading the Uke after the uke's reflexive resistance, and so on without picking up that the core of the technique was based upon Okamoto Sensei's ki/kokyu skills.

I don't think the technique was anything other than very basic, but it raises a few thoughts about what westerner can and do learn and how they interpret it. The first video makes me think that Japanese encounter the same problem.

But to get the thread back on track, I thought I'd use a couple of examples like that. If someone has some personal thoughts on the use of those videos, please p.m. me.

Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:35 AM   #136
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post

Here's a video of Okamoto Sensei:

Mike Sigman
I liked this video better http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewtzT6Dt4ZM

It kinda fun to hear one of the uke screamed like he in a horror movie but then i have to thanks Howard for not making me screamed like a girl; there was just no dignity screaming like that, except when you get a paper cut.

i remembered that Howard mentioned he didn't know how to train his body for aiki before taking up the beating from Okamoto sensei. so, the question is "how to train your body for aiki?" wonder if it has to do with catching and consuming large fish.
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Old 10-08-2008, 02:28 PM   #137
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
i remembered that Howard mentioned he didn't know how to train his body for aiki before taking up the beating from Okamoto sensei. so, the question is "how to train your body for aiki?" wonder if it has to do with catching and consuming large fish.
As I view things, a tuna uses almost pure aiki, and so requires aiki to handle effectively. Howard might even agree with that.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:25 PM   #138
Mike Sigman
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

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I liked this video better http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewtzT6Dt4ZM

It kinda fun to hear one of the uke screamed like he in a horror movie but then i have to thanks Howard for not making me screamed like a girl; there was just no dignity screaming like that, except when you get a paper cut.
That was pretty bad (the video). I don't think a serious student of any internal martial art would not be embarrassed to see a clip like that. "Not so serious" guys would have no problem, I guess.

I've given my opinion before and I'll give it again... this stuff is a morass. Most people don't know how to do "it". Then you get to the stages of "knows a little; blows it up as a lot" and after that various degrees in between top and bottom. You also have a number of "senior" hierarchies in between who are trying to BS that they "know all this stuff", etc., (see the moderators on eBudo and similar places as an example)... so it's confusion. I.e., it's not easy to find information... yet to delay can be costly because it's not all that easy to change how you move and the longer you wait around the further out of range (of success) you get.

The really serious/interested people will be the ones looking and then continuing to look at they get more information. It's a lot like (IMO) salmon fighting their way upstream and getting past obstacles. Only the strongest/smartest survive, but even then nothing is guaranteed and a lot of strong/smart lose along the way.

One thing I'd stress is that because most Asian arts are built around these same basic principles (they don't all tend to use the Yin-Yang symbols, Five elements, Eight Gates, etc., because it was a religion like Catholicism... those are practical underpinnings) there are going to be some basic principles between DR, Aikido, Shaolin Long Fist, Tchuo Jiao, karate, Iaido, Taiji, and so on. Someone who prattles on about he "secrets" of any art while not recognizing the similarities of all the Asian arts is a dead giveaway for someone who simply doesn't know. I suggest avoiding him/her.

FWIW and YMMV

Mike Sigman
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Old 10-09-2008, 09:02 PM   #139
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
It's a lot like (IMO) salmon fighting their way upstream and getting past obstacles. Only the strongest/smartest survive, but even then nothing is guaranteed and a lot of strong/smart lose along the way.
And some men who are interested about salmon preservation build fishways to help them to sort the barriers other men built.

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Old 10-09-2008, 09:06 PM   #140
Mike Sigman
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

"Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish, and he will sit in the boat and drink beer all day."—OldFox
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Old 10-10-2008, 03:56 AM   #141
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

Teach us to fish, then.
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Old 10-10-2008, 06:07 AM   #142
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
"Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish, and he will sit in the boat and drink beer all day."—OldFox
Fishing?, who wants fishing when there is a big party with hot she-fishes river up?

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Old 10-10-2008, 06:46 AM   #143
Michael Douglas
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

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Phi Truong wrote: View Post
Wow.
Thanks for posting the link to that video Phi.
Maybe everyone should be forced to watch that.
Is there any excuse for such behaviour?

The social pressure must overwhelm any common sense.
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Old 10-10-2008, 01:41 PM   #144
Mike Sigman
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
And some men who are interested about salmon preservation build fishways to help them to sort the barriers other men built.
Well, in this generic/oblique reference to ki-skills, Aiki, and Daito-Ryu, I think everyone has to find their own way through the fish-ladders, Demetrio.

One of the first things I pointed out several years ago was that the in-place hierarchies of existing martial arts will simply block any attempts by anyone to say "there might be something else there". It is to be expected. And if the hierarchies win in certain areas, I don't see any particular reason to worry about it, frankly. Ultimately enough things have started that it will be very difficult to stop now, regardless of occasional areas where information is blocked by various people in power and determined to stay in power. Someone who thwarts any gains in knowledge is just putting off things for a while within their own group.... spiting themselves as it were.

I remember getting into a brouhaha on the Uechi-Ryu list some 10+ years ago and the senior hierarchy was successful in driving me off from the discussion (one person in particular voiced his expertise in movement and said there was definitely no "different way of moving", and so forth). So basically he won a debate using his position, rank, expertise, and the fact that he was a moderator on the forum. But who really won? Now some 10+ years later I occasionally go to look at their archives with an honest interest in seeing what they know and have discovered. Nothing. So they've lost 10 years and they have their own seniors to thank for it. It's what I mean by the power of the existing hierarchies.

The younger up-coming members of various arts who are curious enough will have to go out on their own and work around the hierarchies. Same with Aikido and the other Asian-derived arts. When I first started looking for this odd type of strength, I thought it was just in Aikido, so I spent 7-8 years in Aikido before I realized that I wasn't finding much and any time I tried to go too far the hierarchies and pecking-order power was such that I could never investigate very far as long as I tried to stay within the Aikido group-mind. Conformity. So I left. There are other ways up the fish ladders.

There's enough out there on basics that it's now guaranteed a certain number are going to make it and will improve things in the next generation. But that's their worry and responsibility. People who are stuck in existing hierarchies will have to figure out for themselves what to do and where to look. But they can take comfort in the fact that all this stuff will inevitably arrive now, perhaps to their own students in 5 or 10 years, but definately sooner or later. No worries.

Incidentally, as a side comment. I've felt a number of people who say (and maybe honestly believe) that they "also already do these things". If I feel in someone the accumulation of these skills, I immediately acknowledge it so that I'm totally fair about it. For instance there were a couple of people at the Itten Dojo who had skills, one person of whom had a teacher that was not me. I acknowledged his skills and mentioned my thoughts to him. There were several people there who had a few bits of coarse jin, but not much else and certainly not enough that I would too-politely over-hype their skills. But I'm sure (in at least one case) they thought they were "already there" and my comment would be.... this is always where the problems start. As one of my teachers told me, "these things are very deep" (meaning complicated). No one studies for a bit and is then an expert.... it takes many years. The real enthusiasts know that and don't get too involved in these battles among the beginning elements about who is the best. I'd just suggest that everyone needs to keep working. Some people need to just start; the years keep passing by.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:36 AM   #145
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

Hello all,
I've been reading parts of this site on and off (as well as E-BUDO) for a while now (although I only now decided to register and interact.)
There has been a lot of speculation on the part of various members here regarding the authority and ability of various Daito-ryu teachers. In some cases, the critiques are tremendously rude and harsh. In many cases these critics have never taken the time to actually visit the teachers in question and feel it for themselves. Some here seem to think that they are an authority on other arts even though they have not trained in them. It is a sad thing indeed. Although, I am sure many here have extensive training and may have developed some eye for aiki, I would like to remind you all that this is a public forum and whether or not you are conscious of it or not, you are informing the general public about which teachers are "good" and which are "phony". The fact is people are reading this and making choices according to your "EXPERT" opinions. Maybe your eye isn't as good as you think it is, or maybe the context of the video you are watching is not what you think it is. A lot of assumptions flying around both here and E-BUDO.
I'd like to share some of my experiences in Japan to hopefully clarify a few things regarding various teachers. I felt my first "aiki" in Yanagi-ryu after a decade of training in various other martial arts. Yanagi-ryu inspired me and I began researching it's origins. About 11 years ago I moved to Japan to train with Okamoto Sensei of the Roppokai. His techniques are very soft and flowing and he handles resisting students very well. His training method was limited due to a crowded room. The result was that few of his students could improve in any noticeable regard. The ones that have achieved a high level of skill were long-time students (15+ years), who were taught the basics in a small and intimate fashion. Okamoto's training method is one that stresses that the uke not resist Tori. Some of his students take falls too easily for him, but make no mistake, Okamoto Sensei handles resistance very well, although, he like any other human is not perfect. He tells new students that he has changed the techniques and that his Daito-ryu is thusly not formal Daito-ryu, but is instead his personal expression of it. He always says we must continue to improve and never think that way know it all.
After training there for about 6 years I wanted to train weapons, so I went to Kuroda Tetsuzan Sensei of the Shimbukan. Kuroda's training was all-together different from Okamoto Sensei's training. At the Shimbukan they practice Kata a lot and then have Jun Tai (True body) training to assist in developing the "silent" movement that Tetsuzan Sensei is famous for. Many of the students are developing very well in this training, but few can handle a resisting attacker well. Make no mistake, Kuroda Sensei can handle resistance. Like any human-being he is not perfect and admonishes his students to keep striving to improve (a philosophy that he exemplifies).
During my stay at the Roppokai, I often heard from my seniors (Shihan under Okamoto) that Ogawa Sensei and Nishikido Sensei have very effective aiki skills. Those Roppokai Shihan had done their due diligence and found that Okamoto Sensei was not the only person to have understood what Horikawa was teaching. As Ogawa Sensei's dojo was in Tokyo (he passed away last year), I decided to visit Ogawa Sensei (also long-time student of Gozo Shioda). He was very welcoming and shared his aiki with me and spent a lot of time telling me various stories of his time with Horikawa and Shioda Sensei. The main thing about Ogawa that shocked me was that his skills were very highly developed and his Aiki was effortless (ignore the video if you have seen it - he was very nervous and became unusually tense. He said he was really embarrassed about that video.) I was fortunate to find out that he lived but a few train stops from my house, so we took the train home together (about an hour), during which time we talked incessantly about Aiki and training and various teachers. The thing that surprised me most was that he spoke incredibly highly of Nishikido Sensei (It is very rare for a teacher to speak of another teacher in Japan). As Ogawa told it, Nishikido Sensei is a rare gem in the Daito-ryu world. He claimed that Nishikido Sensei spent the most time privately training with Horikawa Sensei at Horikawa's house (6 days a week for three years -- Ogawa and Okamoto also got some private training, but much less time. In Okamoto's case, as Okamoto tells it, it was once a month for a year towards the end of his time with Horikawa. Can't recall how long Ogawa said he trained privately. But by the three accounts it seems that no one else got any significant private training from Horikawa), and that in terms of form, Nishikido Sensei most resembled Horikawa. He said that Nishikido Sensei spent a lot of time learning to make his Aiki effective in real situations and had even tested it on Yakuza (Japanese gang members).
Until meeting and conversing with Ogawa Sensei, I had an aversion to going to Nishikido's dojo -- mainly because I saw a video of him some years earlier where he looked severe and kind of stiff. But after my conversation with Ogawa Sensei, I had a chance to visit a Shihan of Nishikido's dojo and observe training. What shocked me was that they trained with Uke giving various ranges of resistance, in a small, intimate dojo, where each student got one on one practice with the teacher for 15 minutes each time they came to the dojo (training held twice a day every day except Sat and Sunday, in which case there is long morning practic). The teacher takes ukemi for his students during that time and demonstrates technique. There is a training order from low level to mid to advanced which is clear, step by step method to take students to progressively deeper bodily awareness. (If you read Okamoto's large blue book, you will find his description of how proper training should be done. Although Okamoto Sensei is unable to give that proper training due to the number of students, it was clear to me that Nishikido Sensei and his Shihan are maintaining a proper training system.) There are special classes on realistic application of techniques for students mid-level or higher where various henka, difficulties and combative situations are created to help students learn how to use aiki flexibly. Nishikido admonishes students who don't actually aim to attack him (which can be seen on one of the videos on his website for those of you who understand Japanese -- the student was aiming his punch to the side of Nishikido Sensei to which Sensei scolds him for not attacking him.) http://www.hikarido.com/hikaridonowaza.htm
[These videos were taken by a Japanese TV show (they sought him out -- Nishikido doesn't seek lime-light), and Nishikido Sensei is merely demonstrating in response to their questions - it is not a video of the training method, which is secret.]
I have had a chance to feel several other schools of Daito-ryu as well as other jujutsu in Japan, but the aforementioned teachers are the only four that I have found that use aiki extensively. Some schools of Daito-ryu use aiki only at the beginning of a technique and others don't seem to use it at all. I am sure there are other schools that may be using aiki at high levels, for example Sagawa Sensei's student, Kimura, but I have not had a chance to feel his technique. I have a few friends who have trained with him (and Sagawa), but I am told that neither of them are perfect either (despite what is often written about them), although they are indeed very diligently practicing aiki and very good at it.
In the end, I suppose that is all we can do -- diligently practice our aiki and strive to improve until the day we die. If we could cut down on the insulting and condescension, I think it would be a pretty good thing for our arts as well as the boards and ourselves.

P.S. I have seen a few pretty horrid comments about Nishikido Sensei's religion. It seems to be that some people here think that he teaches Sun worship in his Daito-ryu classes or says that this is the power behind his Daito-ryu. This is not true. He teaches both Daito-ryu and meditation, but in separate classes. He says he learned aiki from Horikawa Sensei and he teaches it as he was taught. His "spiritual" class is a distinct thing from his Daito-ryu. Lastly, it is pretty astonishing that people would bash a person for their beliefs anyway. Where is our tolerance and respect for others' views? Last I checked, no one solved the great mystery of the source of life and the universe…at least have some humility. If you actually took the time to experience what he teaches in both his Daito-ryu and his meditation class, you might find some value in both.

In training,
Richard
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:11 PM   #146
Mike Sigman
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

Hi Richard:

Nice anecdotes. As I mentioned a couple of times in the thread, I'm more interested in the "how" stuff than the "who" stuff. The original comment of the thread was more along the lines of seeing that actual "aiki" (blending and manipulating of ki-forces) was alive and well in some good-lineage D.R. Nothing to do with personality comments on my part.

Can you explain to us how "aiki" works, given your sizeable experience with so many people? I think we could get a good conversation going with that, but it seems on so many forums that when it gets down to the nuts and bolts, putting someone's name behind a functional description is just plain hard to get done. I'm betting you're willing to get in there and shed the light, though!

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:03 PM   #147
Howard Popkin
Dojo: Popkin-Brogna 大東流合気柔術銀柔会
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

That's why I flew him to New York 4 times per year.

One week with Sensei in New York was like 3 years in Tokyo

Hope all is well Richard !

Howard Popkin
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Old 01-15-2009, 02:54 PM   #148
R H
Dojo: Shinkaikan Medford Oregon
Location: Medford, Oregon
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

Mike,

Although, I certainly have my opinion about how aiki works, I took an oath in all three dojos where I was a registered member not to talk about the details of arts or demonstrate anything until receiving the level of Shihan. I think that is pretty common among schools of kobujutsu. It would be wrong of me to break my oath. I am no master of this art yet, although I, like quite a few other students certainly have the ability to execute some variety of aiki and have various opinions about what I and others are doing.

What I feel I can say is that in my experience (so far) , on a technical level, each teacher is using some combination of principles (many of which overlap) and some of which do not. Although, it seems at some point the body just embodies the principles and there is no more effort involved than merely responding to reality as it comes.
Apologies,
Richard

P.S. Howard - good to see you are well and active in NY. My regards to you and yours!
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:29 PM   #149
Mike Sigman
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

Quote:
Richard Haight wrote: View Post
Although, I certainly have my opinion about how aiki works, I took an oath in all three dojos where I was a registered member not to talk about the details of arts or demonstrate anything until receiving the level of Shihan. I think that is pretty common among schools of kobujutsu. It would be wrong of me to break my oath. I am no master of this art yet, although I, like quite a few other students certainly have the ability to execute some variety of aiki and have various opinions about what I and others are doing.

What I feel I can say is that in my experience (so far) , on a technical level, each teacher is using some combination of principles (many of which overlap) and some of which do not. Although, it seems at some point the body just embodies the principles and there is no more effort involved than merely responding to reality as it comes.
Hi Richard:

Well, my comment was meant to try to take the conversation, once again, off of the personal comments. If you take the personal comments out of a lot of these posts, usually all that's left are some vague implications, both good and bad, but seldom anything specific.

In your previous post you wrote:

Quote:
Richard Haight wrote: View Post
There has been a lot of speculation on the part of various members here regarding the authority and ability of various Daito-ryu teachers. In some cases, the critiques are tremendously rude and harsh. In many cases these critics have never taken the time to actually visit the teachers in question and feel it for themselves. Some here seem to think that they are an authority on other arts even though they have not trained in them. It is a sad thing indeed. Although, I am sure many here have extensive training and may have developed some eye for aiki, I would like to remind you all that this is a public forum and whether or not you are conscious of it or not, you are informing the general public about which teachers are "good" and which are "phony". The fact is people are reading this and making choices according to your "EXPERT" opinions. Maybe your eye isn't as good as you think it is, or maybe the context of the video you are watching is not what you think it is. A lot of assumptions flying around both here and E-BUDO.
So we have "rude", "harsh", "expert", "maybe your eye isn't as good as you think it is", and so on. That's what I meant about how these conversations move toward the personal, although I have to admit that you didn't call out any specific names in your broad-brush comments.

Now I personally don't claim any expertise in Daito Ryu or Aikido (although I had 7-8 years of practice) or a number of other arts. What I think I *do* have, though, is a lot of experience in doing, observing, analysing, and replicating so-called "internal strength" skills. I'm interested in those skills and I've studied, chased them down, etc., for about 35 years as a primary focus. Given that almost all of the Asian martial arts use those skills to one degree or another, I think I have a generalist ability to spot who has skills and pretty often I can tell to what degree that have skills. Let's say I'm like the college-level baseball player... I can spot the Little League players and I can spot the good Major League players, minor leagues, doesn't-know-squat level players, and so forth.

I can't see what level someone is on the internet, of course, but often while saying something on the internet, a person will give me enough of a clue about what he knows and doesn't know that I can generally extrapolate what their skill level is. More recently, as a few people have been gaining basic skills, I have been able to get "reads" on various people who give seminars, etc., and so I can at least generally categorize what level of skills they have and are teaching, etc.

My opinion is that a lot of people need to understand that some of their "secrets" are really just general-level skills and they should perhaps find some way to more freely engage in discussion, how-to's, etc., because often things aren't what they think they are. In other words I think it would be helpful if they engaged and shared in "how-to" discussions, not only because their viewpoints might help other people, but also because they might learn things that they're never going to learn as long as they block discussion of fairly simple basics behind the "secrets" door. I.e., it works two ways and having it one way is cool, but with more and more of these skills getting out there some of the koryu people seem to be putting themselves in an ultimately untenable position.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't really care what someone does and I just find all of this fascinating to watch. In the last 4-5 years I've watched these conversations evolve and I think they'll continue to evolve in ways that will ultimately help a lot of the practitioners of Asian martial-arts. I also think that a lot of people are simply going to be left behind. As I said, my position in this is more of an observer and I'm not urging anyone to do any particular thing. But in terms of internet discussion forums, watching some particularly basic skills being kept under the umbrella when just so many other arts (at the moderate to higher levels) have exactly the same skills seems sort of curious to me. But then, everyone to their own opinion, I guess. Just seems odd.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:28 PM   #150
R H
Dojo: Shinkaikan Medford Oregon
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Re: Using ki-skills for "aiki" in Daito-Ryu

Mike, I generally agree with you on all points you have made in your last post.

It is, however, not up to me to choose to give information or not. If I hadn't given my oath and joined these dojos I would be happy to share what I think I know (for what that's worth). I am no expert, so my opinions should be taken with a huge bag of salt.

What I have found is that as I train and improve in this art my thoughts on the "general theory of aiki" have changed step by step. I have been making rapid progress in the last few years, and if I think back on my perspective just 6 months ago and compare it to now, I find that it is lacking. I am sure the same thing will happen 6 months from now again. My view of aiki has simplified and simplified considerably over the years. I do not, however, think that Daito-ryu in principle is the same as what Kuroda does (although there is overlap). When I first joined Kuroda's dojo I thought it was the same. As my awareness increased and I gained a more refined eye, I found there to be quite a few differences in principle, form and training method. However, in the end all humans share the same basic body,mind and spirit (for lack of a better word) so there is going to be a fair amount of overlap.)

If I could give any advise to any aiki practitioner that I think would be generally helpful yet not break my oath to my ryu-ha, it would be this: do whatever it takes to develop awareness of the body (yours and others - at distance and close up), the logical mind (yours and others - at a distance and close up), the emotional mind (""), the "reflex responses" of those three things as well as develop the ability to control things like heart-rate, bloodpressure, breath, thought, etc simply by slight intention. The goal being to be able to flow in all these areas without locking up or having negative reflexive responses. By becoming conscious of what most people are unconscious of you will simply notice things that escape the senses of others. You won't be figuring things out so much as realizing (effortlessly) Lastly, I would say that when doing techniques, if you are thinking about how to do them, you are greatly hobbling yourself (the thinking mind interferes with smooth execution and awareness). Thinking before or after is fine,

Those awarenesses you can develope outside of a traditional dojo simply through careful observation of self and others with a silent mind and dedication to developing such ability/skill on a daily basis(meditation in daily movement seems to greatly help.)

My two cents...

Richard

Last edited by R H : 01-15-2009 at 06:32 PM. Reason: cleaning up sentence structure
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