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Old 01-03-2009, 08:45 PM   #1
Buck
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Rhythm

Aikido having all it terminology in Japanese, not being able to read or speak Japanese I have probably over looked any discussion or stuff written exclusively on rhythm. If I am spot on, and there isn't much technical discussion on rhythm as an Aikido principle I would like to discuss it.

I was thinking to start this off with..... rhythm can be seen in randori by O'Sensei. But, I think it is really noticable by Gozo Shioda's his randori. Did O'Sensei teach specifically the concept of rhythm and if so what is the Japanese term he used. Did Shioda stress rhythm of movement as a principle other then in the way he moved. Did he ever write about it in detail?

We don't need to just discuss O'Sensei or Shioda.
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:58 PM   #2
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Re: Rhythm

Aiki is rhythm.

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Old 01-03-2009, 10:03 PM   #3
Buck
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Re: Rhythm

Yes, agreed. I am not being a snot when I say, Aikido is rhythm, but it ain't a Tango! That is part of what I am interested in as a discussion.
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Old 01-04-2009, 06:31 AM   #4
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Re: Rhythm

Rhythm occurs when nage is conected to uke in each moment.
Mary
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Old 01-04-2009, 07:22 AM   #5
sarahhair
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Re: Rhythm

I am very interested in this.

I used to be a dancer, and could learn a new dance style or routine in minutes upon being showed.

When I began doing aikido, I was very frustrated wit myself that I could not learn the movements nearly as quickly, and would struggle with the most simple "steps." At one point I would hum to myself to keep time, which helped me, though I know it also confused my uke.

I found online a while back a dojo that incorporated taiko drumming into their classes. Something like, one or two students would rotate through drumming as part of the rotation of "partners" so there was always drumming happening during training. I thought it was beautiful and an amazing concept that I would be interested in as being helpful for me learning.

Has anyone tried this and could comment on it?

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Old 01-04-2009, 08:01 AM   #6
Katrina S.
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Re: Rhythm

Quote:
Sarah Hair wrote: View Post
I used to be a dancer, and could learn a new dance style or routine in minutes upon being showed.

When I began doing aikido, I was very frustrated wit myself that I could not learn the movements nearly as quickly, and would struggle with the most simple "steps."
I'm in that very situation right now. I seem to transport the wrong parts of dancing into Aikido; for example I am MUCH too kooperative as uke and am confused when my ukes aren't... but on the other hand I don't get the easiest "steps" sometimes, tend to confuse left and right which has never bothered me in dancing...

But for me this is not so much an issue of rhythm, than of observational skills, I think. Except for Tai Sabaki, where I sometimes catch myself beginning to slip into rumba
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Old 01-04-2009, 08:40 AM   #7
Bob Blackburn
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Re: Rhythm

Quote:
Sarah Hair wrote: View Post
I am very interested in this.

I used to be a dancer, and could learn a new dance style or routine in minutes upon being showed.

When I began doing aikido, I was very frustrated wit myself that I could not learn the movements nearly as quickly, and would struggle with the most simple "steps." At one point I would hum to myself to keep time, which helped me, though I know it also confused my uke.

I found online a while back a dojo that incorporated taiko drumming into their classes. Something like, one or two students would rotate through drumming as part of the rotation of "partners" so there was always drumming happening during training. I thought it was beautiful and an amazing concept that I would be interested in as being helpful for me learning.

Has anyone tried this and could comment on it?
I think the main part is relaxing. You are a dancer and you are comfortable and natural when you dance. So you have rhythm. Humming during a technique puts you in the comfort zone. Use what works.

I think drumming can have the same effect. I think it also has a primal effect (i.e. mothers heartbeat) Even those of us with two left feet can feel the cadence of the drums.

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Old 01-04-2009, 11:41 AM   #8
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Re: Rhythm

My thoughts exactly Bob!

I think what you are feeling Sarah is pressure. At first you're not as comfortable doing Aikido as dance. Humming is a minor distraction for your mind, so it puts you at ease, and makes doing the technique easier.

What Sarah is pointing out is a problem that all Aikidoka have but we don't work through it much. Under pressure we operate differently then we do when comfortable. This I believe is one of the main reasons Aikidoka have a hard time adding pressure and resistance to their training.

I have trained several times with Richard Moon Sensei, and he uses music extensively in his jiyuwaza. It is a very nice tool to help get you moving, relax and be with the moment. I do feel however that this is an aside from what we really want to achieve (or at least I want to achieve) in Aikido training.

Personally I want to learn to relax under terrible, horrible, stressful conditions. That doesn't mean I don't appriciate the practice, or even use it sometimes. but the goal of my practice is in a different place.

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Old 01-04-2009, 05:05 PM   #9
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Re: Rhythm

Quote:
Katrina Seitz wrote: View Post
I'm in that very situation right now. I seem to transport the wrong parts of dancing into Aikido; for example I am MUCH too kooperative as uke and am confused when my ukes aren't... but on the other hand I don't get the easiest "steps" sometimes, tend to confuse left and right which has never bothered me in dancing...

But for me this is not so much an issue of rhythm, than of observational skills, I think. Except for Tai Sabaki, where I sometimes catch myself beginning to slip into rumba
One of my favorite people to work with is the most cooperative uke ever. He will jump and fly across the room with the most subtle suggestion of a push. Something I learned from him is that being a very cooperative uke sometimes allows uke to remain in control of the situation, having maintained balance and being able to reverse a technique at almost any time.

For me, aikido is all about ukemi, so for me it is not possible to be too cooperative as uke. I like to find a rhythm, hum a little, and dance away from every fall. I still chant to myself, even if it is in my head, when I do almost any technique. How else will I remember when to tenkan or when to irimi?

I mentioned elsewhere that I observed my sensei once demand ukemi for ikkyo, omote and ura, from a single student during a test. Absolutely amazing. I have wanted to be able to do that with every technique ever since.

Talk about rhythm! And the dance! What a dance! I do it at home with my boyfriend!

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Old 01-04-2009, 07:47 PM   #10
Janet Rosen
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Re: Rhythm

I find that I have my own optimal internal rhythm, and my most fun training is when either my partner and I are in the same one OR if we are not but find a way to change/adapt to find a new rhtythm that works for us both.

Janet Rosen
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:40 AM   #11
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Re: Rhythm

IMHO, rhythm is essential.

Especially if you learn to enter and blend with your uke, both in the same rhythm.
Too fast you lose connection.
Too slow, they over run you.
Same pace, as if their rhythm (momentum) is pushing you, easy.

Everything has a rhythm.
Too often we are trying to get people (on and of the mat) to accept our rhythm. Yet, it may be more effective and efficient to accept and join their's.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:07 AM   #12
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Rhythm

I think this is a good, but complicated subject...

For starters, some things to look up / into:
--------------------------------------------------------
sen no sen
sen sen no sen
go no sen.

Kendo is a good resource for this...but be aware that different traditions have slightly different interpretations of these terms, or different terms for the same concepts.
------------------------------------------------------
Ma ai = combative timing / distance and how you manage it.
------------------------------------------------------
kokyu / kokyu-ho / kokyu-ho dosa

Very complicated subject, and should not be reduced to just timing, though I believe timing does play a part in it. I would start simply, by reading descriptions from several aikido traditions (probably focusing in the end on both Shioda's interpretation and Tohei's interpretation). When looking at different traditions, be sure to try to understand them seperatly at first, then look at differences and similarities, and how they fit and don't fit.

Understand that kokyu is really much more than just timing the breath, although that is a common interpretation at an early level.
------------------------------------------------------
Musubi, or joining, or Awase, matching. Again, these topics can be much more complicated than just timing, but that is as good a place as any to start.
-----------------------------------------------------

There should be good references to these on this site, aikido journal, and in books by Tohei, Shioda and others. Don Draeger has some good working definitions on these in his books...I'd say that is an excellent place to start, but as with any reading, understand where he is stating things specific to certain traditions, and where he is stating things in a more general way.

I also think there are some good things on this in Karl Friday's Legacies of the Sword, even though that is based in a different (but in some cases in some ways related) tradition than aikido.

Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 01-05-2009 at 09:10 AM.

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Old 01-05-2009, 11:57 AM   #13
phitruong
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Re: Rhythm

wonder what sort of rhythm would aikido be if say you are into heavy metal and acid rocks? or river dance?
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:37 PM   #14
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Re: Rhythm

Hey Ron,
Do you know what the further complications with things like masubi, awase, and kokyu are? Or do you want to tease us?

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Old 01-05-2009, 12:49 PM   #15
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Rhythm

Hi Chris,

Know? No...

Believe, think, presume, guess? Well... maybe...

I think that if you read some of the posts in the Non-Aikido forum, you'll begin to get an idea of some of the complexities. Some of these come from perspectives from another culture, some from an imprecise language to descibe things like kokyu, some from the fact that this can just be a complicated issue.

I didn't want to state my opinions about the different things I suggested looking into, because I think people should be willing to research things themselves, and try to muddle through to a certain extent. This allows them to come up with their own opinions with less influence from me, and I believe it fosters a healthy mind.

So if someone came back and asked specific questions that showed some effort had been put in, I might get more specific myself. I also think it's entirely legitimate that they may come back with an understanding completely different than my own. And then we would have interesting things to discuss.

Some complications with kokyu...the whole ki thinga-ma-bob. (that is a technical term...because I SAY it is a technical term)

Some complications with awase...look into the idea of (sp) sugeistu, moon reflecting on water.

Some complications on musubi ... why the heck would you want to join with your attacker!?!?!?

Best,
Ron (a lot of these things have to be figured out for yourself. All anyone can do is point you in the direction of information.)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 01-05-2009, 01:08 PM   #16
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Re: Rhythm

Those are complications with the ways which one would connect to the attacker, but this doesn't go beyond timing/rhythm.

For example, if someone wanted to know how to catch a baseball. I could tell him all the complexities of vision. I could explain the visual cortex, and how the eye works.

I could then explain the complexities of the nervous system, and how the brain connects to the muscles in the arms, and sends a signal to move the hand.

I can tell him lots of complexities.

However it doesn't get much more complicated then seeing a baseball and catching it. Finding the timing of the ball, syncing your hand to the ball (rhythm) and catching it.

As one studies they will find the inherent complications in things. There is no need to tell people that things are involved or difficult, they will find that out on their own.

However it is helpful to be able to simplify things, and make them clear to the uninitiated.

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Old 01-05-2009, 02:00 PM   #17
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Rhythm

Well, the person who is asking is not "uninitiated"...they have been posting and reading for sometime. If someone said, "I have been training for one month, can you tell me about timing...", I MIGHT have a simple answer for them. But many of the people reading these posts, and certainly the poster, have been around long enough to start looking at the deeper issues.

Rather than lecturing as to my opinions, I thought I'd point out some specific areas that might be of interest, IF they are willing to look under the hood. If not, that's fine too.

I guess for you...not. No biggie.

As for this next statement
Quote:
Those are complications with the ways which one would connect to the attacker, but this doesn't go beyond timing/rhythm.
I think I disagree.

If you have a basic to pretty good understanding of kokyu as it is used in the internal sense, it will change your sense of timing, how and when you use it, etc. It will change the nature of your connections to others as well (which will again affect your timing). And it will all tie together in some pretty interesting ways. That is my meager understanding of it today, in any case. Or my best guess, take it as you will.

The poster also mentioned an unfamiliararity with the japanese terminology. I hoped to introduce them to some of that terminology. I think I've done that...and provided ideas where to go to get more information.

So, Chris, what do you have to contribute to the thread and it's original question?

Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 01-05-2009 at 02:10 PM.

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Old 01-05-2009, 02:06 PM   #18
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Re: Rhythm

First, it is impossible to learn a rhythm from external sources (like a drums or something). Such practice is not only useless but also develops wrong body conditioning.

I found the easiest way to introduce rhythm for beginners is to learn (any) jo kata. Then, take a look at O sensei old video, where he execute his own 'divine' kata with jo to get an idea how he moves in all dimensions (including time). Then, try to copy similar rhythm to your own kata. The result will be a discovery of your own rhythm.

Next step will be a kumi jo (practice jo with partner). It should be rather long sequence of movements, I'd say minimum 20. Once you both know very well attacks and responses, you should repeat it many times. During this process you may discover that there is a special rhythm underlying kumi jo. This rhythm comes from martial principles included in kumi jo (and not from stupid drums!)

Next step will be empty hands jiu waza. Progress should be done from one attacker to more, as the skills improve. During jiu waza, you should use all these kinds of timing that Ron mentioned and other elements he wrote about. You may discover that if you want to respect martial principles you have to enter into special rhythm. To make it easy, first attackers are very cooperative, but the attacks must be fast and honest. It is to force you to discover a right rhythm. Progressively, the attackers can set the level of difficulty higher, to put you under more pressure.
In the end you may learn to move as well as Shioda sensei or even O sensei himself! LOL

Nagababa

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Old 01-05-2009, 02:15 PM   #19
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Re: Rhythm

Mr S. has found a good, concrete way to make suggestions in this area. I applaude him. Words fail me...

Best,
Ron (again)

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Old 01-05-2009, 03:06 PM   #20
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Re: Rhythm

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
So, Chris, what do you have to contribute to the thread and it's original question?

Best,
Ron
Same as my original post. Aiki is rhythm. If you want to look into that, that's fine, other wise I won't add anymore complexities.

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Old 01-05-2009, 05:58 PM   #21
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Re: Rhythm

One, two and three

Kali, capoeria, lion dancing (chinese gung fu) are among the many styles that use rhythm through dance patterns and musical instruments.

Bruce Lee was the cha cha champion of Hong Kong. My teacher was often asked by women to be a dance partner at social dances. In fact, every "great" martial artist I have ever encountered was a good dancer.

The beats 5, 6,7, 8 let the martial artist/dancer know when to start, continue and end. As such, when the martial artist can learns to attune himself to the rhythm of his opponent, he matches him beat for beat. By doing so he can "time" when and when to strike. He can disrupt. He can guide direct and manipulate. He does so by speeding up and slowing down the rhythms.

The dancers here are quite on track. The females can sense and adapt to the rhythms. This is a yin/female characteristic. They instinctively blend and adapt and as such position themselves to absorb the attack.

Unfortunately, most men can't dance. And yet, more men then women practice martial arts. Unfortunately, those women who do practice martial arts learn yang/male oriented systems.

Joseph T. Oliva Arriola
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Old 01-05-2009, 06:23 PM   #22
C. David Henderson
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Re: Rhythm

Respectfully, Joseph, I'm a bit confused by this for a few reasons, including:
1. The OP was written by a man;
2. Dancers include men and women;
3. The women who identified as dancers also reported trouble finding the rhythm of aikido.

Also seems to me this opens a can of worms, if unintentionally.

Respectfully,

David
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:06 AM   #23
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Re: Rhythm

somebody mentioned bruce lee but didn't mention his view point on broken rhythm. for beginners you would set the pace, a rhythm of some sort so they learned to move. for advance folks, you should play with broken rhythm. take kumi jo or tachi, you attacked fast 2 times, pause, slow attack once or twice, attack fast 3 times, and so on. make it as random as possible. from a martial point of view, folks who stuck in a rhythm are folks who will get pound, i.e. if i figured out your rhythm, i can find way to disrupt it.

do slow randori, say at 30% of speed. then mixed up with all the ukes empty hand or armed with tanto or armed with a mix of tanto, bokken and jo. don't focus on aikido techniques. just see if you can tap ukes with your fingers at various opening on uke's body, such as kidney area, ribs, back of the head, hips, stomach, face, and so on.

also work on reading uke's intention to move before he/she moves. you will be surprised how much folks telegraph their intentions.

rhythm -> time, space and intention
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Old 01-06-2009, 07:09 AM   #24
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Re: Rhythm

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
somebody mentioned bruce lee but didn't mention his view point on broken rhythm. for beginners you would set the pace, a rhythm of some sort so they learned to move. for advance folks, you should play with broken rhythm. take kumi jo or tachi, you attacked fast 2 times, pause, slow attack once or twice, attack fast 3 times, and so on. make it as random as possible. from a martial point of view, folks who stuck in a rhythm are folks who will get pound, i.e. if i figured out your rhythm, i can find way to disrupt it.
Excellent point. Having come from a striking background, this is what we train for. Learn how to read your opponent and manipulate them into striking the way you want them to. Then disrupting their attack when they are the most vulnerable.

I have to keep reminding myself of the different approach to rythm in Aikido.

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Old 01-06-2009, 08:06 AM   #25
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Re: Rhythm

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
First, it is impossible to learn a rhythm from external sources (like a drums or something). Such practice is not only useless but also develops wrong body conditioning.
Actually, we did a lot of rhythm training to drums in FMA. Changed the way I move. Tranlsated well to Aikido.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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