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Old 04-07-2009, 07:10 PM   #1
thisisnotreal
 
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The same basic teaching

Informative podcast by Ellis Amdur.

http://usaikido.com/?p=21

This was really great. Thanks for posting the interview (to both of you gents).

If anyone has anything of this caliber; please post 'em.

(btw: I wish there was a how-to book! Dan, Mike, Ellis?)

i kno. ihtbf.

I loved the explanation of sankyo, nikkyo, etc...atemi.
Aikido is 90 % atemi.
The lines are in the techniques.

if you're in a rush; internal references directly start at 40:00 onwards

Josh
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:52 AM   #2
thisisnotreal
 
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Re: The same basic teaching

Here is a good interview with Feldenkrais about ki.

I like how he talks about it as a learnable skill. A bodily organization.
http://www.feldenkrais-wien.at/article-4.htm

I am very curious about the 'levels' of neuromuscular organization which he claims is outlined by Jackson. Can anyone please share with me who and what he may be referring to?

Some favourite quotes:

Quote:
You were talking the other day about the ki, chi, that kind of thing. I'd like to know what you think about that.

Ki and chi are the same thing. You better, about ki and chi, ask Chinese people or other Asian people. Because they talk about ki and chi. I can tell you only that Koizumi, when he wanted to talk about it, there was an international congress of Judo black belts in London and I was one of them. There were about 500 there. And we had a special course conducted by Koizumi. And then in the middle of the course, on the fifth day, suddenly he says, "Now I am going to talk to you about the most important principle in Judo training, about the saika-tanden." Some people call it tantien, the seat of chi, ki, or whatever you like, but it's the saika-tanden in Japanese. "But Feldenkrais come here," and he said to the whole assemblage, "I believe he will talk to you about the saika-tanden more sensibly and in a way in which you'll understand. It is something which I feel and know, but which I cannot explain." And then he let me explain that for the people there. And he wrote the preface to my book. The thing is this, when you talk of such matters in my way, nobody will take it for ki and chi or anything you like. You see, most people talk about that as if it's a mysterious kind of thing in the lower abdomen with all sorts of metaphysical meanings and powers. I have no connection with that. And therefore, my way of thinking is actually a useless thing to such people. If you challenge them on that they'll say, "Ah, what does he know? He is only a scientist."

But this is only a semantic difference, isn't it?

Oh, no. A semantic difference? No. Ghosts are a semantic difference? Ghosts are something which if you believe in and you are afraid of a ghost, you are afraid of a ghost You will never go into a haunted house.

Yes, but you must know . It's not semantic, but you must know from your practice something, the importance of this, what they call in the language, tanden.

Of course, I know.

And their description of it, while it may be .

My description of it is only in movement, I am not concerned with any of the other things.

But does it not come to the same thing?

No, it doesn't because, you see, in the one, if you say you've got chi, many people would try to be like you and do like you, and if they fail will say, "Oh, I could never get chi." To get chi, you have to possess moral courage, you have to be connected with the higher spheres of things. Therefore, you find that this is an impediment in the learning. (To a questioner) Have you chi?

I could not say that.

Oh, therefore, if you can't say it, that's what I'm talking about. You can work 20 years and you don't show it. You're not sure if you have it or you don't. Because if it's a mysterious quantity, then you must deserve it, you must be a part of an elite group, or you must be born in China. How will you get chi if it's a metaphysical thing that nobody knows what it is? Well, it's a quality like psychic healing, if you're a healer, you're a healer. If you don't heal, you are not. Now, chi is the same thing. Either you've got it or you ain't got it. If you've got it, you've got it. If you ain't got it, you ain't got it (Laughter) It's almost like EST.

But what you're talking about is different.

Yes. I told you. In movement, I can show you what chi is, what ki is, on you or anybody else. Can you see that my notions on breathing are different from anything you heard before and you will ever hear? You can see it, you can test it, on yourself, and there is a marked difference between the one and the other, provided that you can make the contrast.

Okay, for example, in martial arts training, in Aikido, where they have the notion of the unbendable arm or they talk about focusing somewhere, like a couple of inches below the navel and a couple of inches inside the lower abdomen, and then having your weight underside and not being stiff, but not relaxed, but having your attention .

Well, I don't know that it's a few inches here and a few inches there. It has to do with the full organization of your body, you can see it in whatever you do. You actually get chi through using the pelvis and the lower abdominal muscles, the strong muscles of the body as a unit concentrated from where all push or pull is issued. The rest of the body and the arms needn't be powerful. It is not a muscle, it is not a point. It has nothing to do with this point, because if it were a point . Look, if you move your body like that, the point is gone (makes a move to demonstrate, a shift in the center of gravity to outside the body). A point a few inches there, a few inches here, if you go there, you will find that it is full of shit, literally. (Laughter) That point is full of shit. And this is the point of chi.

So, will you teach us this organization?

What do you want it for? You don't want to fight. You don't. What do you want?

Is it used only in fighting or is it a whole organization that is serving you in any other action?

Oh, of course, it serves me. I believe a dancer is not a dancer without that reorganization. That is why most dancers are half-cooked dancers.

Why would we go through life without it?

You wouldn't know it. And nobody would do the amount of work that is necessary to get it because they will have to change their dancing.

But people like us can learn it?

I am teaching you whether you want it or not. The improvement in your movement that you get moving the head free so that the pelvis can produce the necessary power, that's ki. What did Kano do? That's all. He stands there, you can't push him. If he wants to push you, you go wherever he wants. So the mysterious development of chi is efficient use of the equipment that everybody has. It is that question which needs, in order to understand it, a tremendous amount of knowledge. And as usual, it's easier to teach people without teaching understanding, by saying, look, this is it, imitate me. Look,I stand here unmovable. You can't move me. Now push me, you can't push me. If I push you, you move.

Now and then they have you send the chi down to the ground and bring it back up, each way. It is a marvelous technique. But you know in a way, it's interesting that they teach that way because, if the motor cortex is responsible for directing the organization of the body, then to tell someone to send their energy down would cause them to organize their body differently and so their weight would be more difficult to move. But, if you say you send your energy . how do you send energy here or there, show me any instance where you can send energy anywhere. In our work we can do something with awareness and without awareness, something just purely done in a mechanical fashion and we can also pay attention to making some movement. So I see the concept of ki and chi as an incredible impediment to learning and I see people in classes, Aikido and Kung Fu and whatever, and it's just a struggle. They can never get it. They never get it because the idea of chi or ki is preposterous. How can you get it if it's a point in your stomach? What would you do with such a point? What can you do with it? What change will it make to you? Now, it sounds a mysterious kind of super power that you get from somewhere in the point in your stomach, and that point described properly, is the duodenum Iying there and is literally full of shit.
Quote:
""""It's not that I don't want to talk about it, but for me this starts with the organization of the body. To me, ki is not a thing and not a spirit and not an anything, but the way a body is organized to function and that way in which it functions best. It means that a body can produce with it's weight, with the muscles that it has, with the brain it has, the greatest amount of work possible with a particular organization of that body and that particular organization turns out to be central to the thing we are talking about. It's a complex appreciation of how a human body is made, how it functions: That it has a head that must not be involved in the movement but which must be free, whatever the movement is, to move anywhere and that the lower abdomen must be in such a state that it can do all the things that it needs to do without disturbing the head. The rest of the body and the arms are not to be used to produce strength. And that is the truth. Once you get that, if you do, you can do Judo throws, the most difficult ones; the heaviest person, you can throw him if you get that. But to the people who are keen on mysterious things of ki and chi, this is a complete come-down, and they are not interested. They don't want to listen to it. They don't want it to be like that."""
Why the hell is there a link with Ki and the Supernatural? Let us say it is a bodily skill. Why then is it incorporated as the hidden/inner teaching of religions? I don't get this.

Quote:
But this is only a semantic difference, isn't it?

Oh, no. A semantic difference? No. Ghosts are a semantic difference? Ghosts are something which if you believe in and you are afraid of a ghost, you are afraid of a ghost You will never go into a haunted house.
Best,
Josh P.

p.s. Yeah, i know i'm talking to myself. I'm okay with that. Kind of. Where's the action? I know you guys are out there. Take care.

Last edited by thisisnotreal : 04-28-2009 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 04-28-2009, 09:22 PM   #3
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Re: The same basic teaching

Quote:
Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
Here is a good interview with Feldenkrais about ki.
.....
I like how he talks about it as a learnable skill. A bodily organization.
http://www.feldenkrais-wien.at/article-4.htm
...
I am very curious about the 'levels' of neuromuscular organization which he claims is outlined by Jackson. Can anyone please share with me who and what he may be referring to?
....
Why the hell is there a link with Ki and the Supernatural? Let us say it is a bodily skill. Why then is it incorporated as the hidden/inner teaching of religions? I don't get this.
Because it is not really a "what" it is a "how," and so it does not easily fit our material categories of mass or energy because it is actually aspects of both, and neither, really. This http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/but-why...dialogue-3404/ is my best attempt, so far, at explaining it in physical terms.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 05-04-2009, 01:13 PM   #4
Mike Sigman
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Re: The same basic teaching

Quote:
Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
Here is a good interview with Feldenkrais about ki.

I like how he talks about it as a learnable skill. A bodily organization.
http://www.feldenkrais-wien.at/article-4.htm

I am very curious about the 'levels' of neuromuscular organization which he claims is outlined by Jackson. Can anyone please share with me who and what he may be referring to?

Some favourite quotes:

Why the hell is there a link with Ki and the Supernatural? Let us say it is a bodily skill. Why then is it incorporated as the hidden/inner teaching of religions? I don't get this.
I'm not even sure I want to get into this on this forum, Josh, but I'll hit a few highlights.

First of all, what Feldenkrais *says* is essentially true, particularly about the reorganization of the body. The old terms of ki/qi did their best to describe some things about force manipulation, body traits, etc., but I agree more with Feldenkrais' view.

I first read that interview a few years back and since then I've tried to find one of the older "studied with Moshe himself" students to see what they can do. From what I've seen of most Feldenkrais practitioners, they don't really demonstrate what would be called "ki" skills, although I know of one Feldie who is getting into that area. My general reasoning was that if Feldenkrais himself had something, he wasn't very successful in transmitting it (the ki part, I mean) to his students. I haven't seen this skills in Feldies, but I have to caveat that I haven't seen all that many practitioners and my mind is still open to the possibility.

Interestingly enough, it's clear in the Feldenkrais interview that he is mentioning at least one basic ki/kokyu/qi/jin skill that Kano could do and the clear inference is that Kano called it "ki". Now, Feldenkrais was a good judo practitioner and he reports this thing about Kano and ki. People like Trevor Leggett, E.J. Harrison, and other old hands in judo report these same phenomenon associated with judo, yet today's "experts" don't know anything about it and deny it left and right. Sounds like some of the recent history in Aikido, doesn't it? And just like in Aikido, most judo practitioners don't really care about this ki essence (called "ju" in the old days, hence "ju"-jutsu, "ju"do, etc.). You don't miss what you never knew you were supposed to have if you've never had it.

There have been a number of discussions about reorganizing the body and sourcing forces, etc., on this forum and too many of them have exploded unnecessarily. But they're in the archives, if you'll look for them.

From a humorous perspective, look at how even the topic of ki in Aikido is relegated to "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions". To be fair, AikiWeb at least keeps the topic as one under consideration while in a number of other forums the topic is pretty much bannished by the admins and moderators (Judo Forum and eBudo are classic examples where "seniors" who have no knowledge of what ki is are ruling the roost and deciding what can be discussed within range of their wisdom).

From experience, I'd suggest that if you want answers you're going to have to make the effort to go see someone who can demonstrate the skills, particularly (if you're just starting) the static versions of "ki tests", which are IMO a good place to start. Try David Shaner Sensei, Ikeda Sensei, maybe the karateka Ushiro Sensei, and so on. In Japan I'm know there are many more good sources. In terms of "outsiders" who can do the same skills, I think you'll find that because the ki skills and qi skills are the same basic things, there are others you could locate to at least get an idea of what it feels like.

What's fascinating to me is the ho-hum reaction in the general martial populations of Aikido, Karate, Iaido, Taiji, etc., in terms of learning these core-to-Asian-martial-arts skills. It just shows that most people are not really interested in a particular art or even a "Dao"... they're there for other reasons. When I was trying to find out stuff I was willing to go just about anywhere to grab some information and I could never get enough. I wanted to find out what the core of the Asian arts was. Feldenkrais apparently was the same way, as have been others. Maybe you'll be one, too. All interesting stuff to think about.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-04-2009, 01:47 PM   #5
akiy
 
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Re: The same basic teaching

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
From a humorous perspective, look at how even the topic of ki in Aikido is relegated to "Non-Aikido Martial Traditions".
To clarify this misunderstanding, the Non-Aikido Martial Traditions forum is used to discuss topics whose underlying training methodologies stem from arts other than aikido. There are plenty of discussions about the topic of "ki" as practiced within the art of aikido in the other forums.

Now, back to the discussion at hand.

-- Jun

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Old 05-05-2009, 07:59 AM   #6
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Re: The same basic teaching

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote: View Post
To clarify this misunderstanding, the Non-Aikido Martial Traditions forum is used to discuss topics whose underlying training methodologies stem from arts other than aikido. There are plenty of discussions about the topic of "ki" as practiced within the art of aikido in the other forums.

Now, back to the discussion at hand.

-- Jun
I'm confused by your clarification of the Non-Aikido Martial Traditions forum.

1. We know for sure that Ueshiba's main training was Daito ryu from Takeda.

2. We know that Ueshiba and Deguchi influenced Takeda to add "aiki" to the art's name.

3. We can see Kodo doing the same push demo as Ueshiba.
Kodo:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch7fWWpNn_c
5:07-5:21

Ueshiba:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYmZPdSyqcQ
3:50-4:15

4. We have Kazuaki Tanahashi talking about commonly doing push tests with Ueshiba:
2:00-2:36 and 2:47-3:00 (although he notes that he doesn't understand why Ueshiba did these push tests.)

5. We have Ueshiba on video doing the same demos that other Daito ryu people do.
Ueshiba:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XTlWDOQBno
4:05 - 4:20 DR technique (multiple ukes)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79PMWGtl0qM
6:00 - 6:06 DR technique (pin multiples)
8:50 - 9:02 DR technique (pin multiples)

Okamoto
1:53-1:58 DR technique (multiple ukes)

6. I've a whole thread to push tests with various students of Ueshiba here in the non-aikido forum:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14991

7. Ueshiba's strength wasn't based in the physical but from the aiki that Takeda taught him.
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15035

8. We have the connection from Daito ryu aiki to Ueshiba's aikido explained by Dan here:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...99&postcount=4

9. We have aikido people from me to Rob Liberti to Gleason sensei to various others all claiming that this is the aiki that Ueshiba had.

So, I'm a bit confused as to why all of the direct influences to Ueshiba and his version of Aikido are not considered "aikido"? Are you saying that Ueshiba's Aikido, which included Daito ryu aiki, is not what you consider as "aikido"? That you believe that the training methodologies that Ueshiba learned from Takeda and used to build aiki, which allowed him to create his vision of Aikido, aren't what you consider as "aikido"?
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:03 AM   #7
John Brockington
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Re: The same basic teaching

I'm beginning to think that eventually there will be two main approaches in aikido, not dissimilar from the two approaches to interpretation of Law by the Supreme court, or from the two basic ways of interpreting the Bible.
In both of these instances, there is one side that pursues a highly literal interpretation, going strictly by the document/source for any and all explanations. In this manner, all questions are answered by the source itself. Broadly speaking, this manner of interpretation is understood as a c(C)onservative perspective or ideology and its advocates are viewed accordingly. This would be analogous to aikido practitioners who feel that all of aikido, its very essence and internal skills as well as philosphical underpinnings can be found in the waza or in O Sensei's specific words.
The other side of interpretation is metaphorical or figurative, taking the source information as emblematic of an idea that can be further explored or compared to outside information. This is considered to be a l(L)iberal stance, politically and theologically. Not better or worse than the conservative methodology necessarily, just poised on the opposite side of the spectrum. I think those who are looking for the link between aikido and other arts in terms of exploring internal skills are in this group, although I am not judging its validity or whether or not it is "the way" one should practice aikido.
While there are obviously major schools or subdivisions within aikdo methodology today- the Aikikai, Yoshinkan, Ki society, Tomiki, Yoseikan, etc etc etc, I have to wonder if ultimately there will really be only two schools, in effect. That would be one group which primarily adheres to whatever its given parent organization has mandated as curriculum, basically unchanged and unquestioned, and another group who has decided to link its practice to that of a larger and, more importantly, antecedent martial arts community. Time will tell, of course, and again I don't think one can say which perspective is correct. In fact, it does seem that things work best when there is voice given to both sides, or at least I'd like to think that.

FWIW-

John
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:49 AM   #8
Mike Sigman
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Re: The same basic teaching

I have no doubt that Ueshiba learned some of his ki/kokyu skills from Takeda, although if you look at all the demonstrations of ki/kokyu they generally conform to typical demonstrations found long ago in China, India, and other places. These skills are far older than just Takeda and Takeda also had to have places he "borrowed" these skills from.

If you look at the Douka and other literary references to these skills, Ueshiba justifies (and traditionally so) his martial art by references to the old Chinese classics that explain and propound upon the place of these skills in the Chinese cosmology. However, it appears that some of the developments in these skills (it's a broader topic than just the few tricks we talk about on this forum) comes from ancient times in India, perhaps. It's very hard to say exactly where the various facets of these skills came from because they were developed so very long ago.

The point I'm getting to is that these skills are so old and come from so many sources that they are not the exclusive territory of any one martial art or martial-artist. Even trying to define the ki/kokyu skills in Aikido as coming from Aikido is illogical, as Mark is hinting at. Defining these skills as being the strict purview of the "ju" arts is impossible. Trying to say (as some in the past have said on this forum) that the Japanese ki/kokyu skills are different from the Chinese skills of qi/jin won't withstand scrutiny. Nor would a Chinese claim to be the developer of these skills withstand scrutiny.

If you look into any credible tome or manuscript from the Koryu arts of Japan, the martial-arts of China, the martial-arts of India, etc., you'll see that there is always a justification that has basic underpinnings in the study of the body as it functions in relation to strength and health. The ubiquitous presence of the Yin-Yang symbol or its counterparts in In-Yo, A-Un, Heng-Ha, etc., is a certain sign that an art is based on the general principles of strength and health that are the essence of the Ki-Kokyu skills. And that's pretty much all of the Asian arts. So how do we take such an omnipresent and *core* skill of Asian martial arts and decide what part of it is "Aikido only"? Or that Takeda and the other places Ueshiba picked up facets of these skills is the true original owner of the skills in Aikido? It's an impossibility.

Going back to the earlier posting about Feldenkrais, I think Feldenkrais did the right thing by trying to analyse the skills and pass them forward (whether he did it well or not is another question). In other words, instead of bickering about these skills, one would think that Aikido would be the one art where curiosity and acceptance would be the standard, rather than the place where so much bickering, etc., takes place. Aikido has, IMO, the best chance to be morally superior of all the current Asian arts that are popular. Let's hope that it does so.

BTW, as far as I know, Ikeda Sensei is one of the really credible teachers who is attempting to work, explain, and transmit these skills forward. Some of his knowledge of these core skills comes via Ushiro Sensei, but Ikeda will have read and heard of these things from various other sources in his life, also. It's not the source of the knowledge that is important, but the utilization of these skills as a basis for Aikido that is important. I don't think he'd be interested much in public disputes about the exact origin of the skills (he will know that these skills have been around for a long, long time) or their exact placement in Aikido discussions. He just practices and teaches quietly. He's to be admired for that.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Last edited by Mike Sigman : 05-05-2009 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:18 AM   #9
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Re: The same basic teaching

Quote:
However, it appears that some of the developments in these skills (it's a broader topic than just the few tricks we talk about on this forum) comes from ancient times in India, perhaps..
So many things to say, and so frustrated in my inability to communicate.

This quote goes near to the heart of my intention of opening this thread.

Put Bluntly:
Do you include kundalini in these set of skills. Perhaps even the superset of all these skills?

You can guess what my mind on this is.

Is the set of ki, ground path, kokyu, zero-balance by pumping hara and moving tension to equilibrate the body a study in it's own.
Is the division artificial and wishful thinking (i.e. analog to "Aikido is what i want it to be"...True in that it is your opinion, but "False" as in there is not much supporting evidence). Or does it lead ...always ... and inextricably to the deeper esoteric. And the Chinese have nicely answered this with a thundering YES. All things hidden...occult...if you will.

For me; this now goes closer, in a strange way to John's post about the views of the Bible.. One way is a bit ... academic..cold.. easy to handle . If you will. The other gets *waaaay* too close for comfort. Because if that's really true..then..

See, for a long time I thought I could steal the jewels.... Body training for strength, Equalization for balance (zero-point, as I love that term). If there was no line drawn, there'd be no line to cross. Now I am not so sure.

If you want to share PM me, if you can't or don't want to handle posting it.

I know you guys give your best and I love you for it.
Best,
Josh
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:29 AM   #10
Erick Mead
 
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Re: The same basic teaching

Quote:
Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
So many things to say, and so frustrated in my inability to communicate.

This quote goes near to the heart of my intention of opening this thread.

Put Bluntly:
Do you include kundalini in these set of skills. Perhaps even the superset of all these skills?

You can guess what my mind on this is.
Quote:
The honored techniques of KI
May manifest the spirit of the Great Snake
Or that of Bees
To make such spirits (tama) appear
Is the Way of Takemusu
Seems a giveaway to me. The "coiling" kundalini serpent -- a spiral dynamic nature. The coiling wreaths of steam in the image of ki and the coiling kundalini snake, and the interlaced sine-wave oscillations of buzzing bees are all the same concrete images.

Viz, the practical applicaiton versus the esoteric, cosmic ordering principle -- they are not opposed but mutually essential. There is no way to understand (in the full practical sense) what the Chinese meant by qi or the Hindu by prana unless it embraces and also explains the cosmic ordering as well as practically effective physical technique -- because they meant it to explain that broad reach of limits. If the particular interpretation of this body of thinking does not reach those limits -- it may explain some limited set of practical applications, or merely answer some philosophical speculations -- but it does not reach the whole of what they meant by it. Nor does it reach the limits of how they meant it to be practically applied -- Nor does it reach the limits of the useful practical applications not yet conceived of (takemusu), for the same reason.

One can choose to apply a certain aspect of knowledge, and defend that knowledge for its certainty. But it is made certain only by virtue of the limits placed upon it. Or, one can try to understand that knowledge intuitively, practically and expressively, all at the same time. There must be a balance between the conceptual, the practical and aesthetic -- none of them are dispensable -- because each of them relates essential things that are often incomprehensible to the other two.

There is a saying in the building trades -- if a building is built by an architect without an engineer -- it will fall down; if it is built by an engineer without an architect it will be torn down. The same practical people will work just as actively to build it as to tear it down -- and all three are necessary to a whole and living structure.

A construction worker can usually build something he has built or seen built -- he may (or may not) be able to build something he has never built or seen built. An engineer may (or may not) have the manual skill to build what he can envision as correctly and structurally buildable. An architect may (or may not) be able to construct the materials or determine the full structural integrity of a building and yet in every other way assure that it is comfortable, inspiring, useful, or comprehensible for those that inhabit it.

In aiki triaining -- in aikido or or outside of its formal bounds -- some are relentless'y practical -- to the exclusion of all aesthetic appreciation or conceptual description of what they are doing or trying to do. Some are conceptual without regard to aesthetic appeal or practical application. Some are aesthetically minded to the exclusion of practicality or conceptual rigor. And everybody else is somewhere between these three basins of preference. For every one of us, the question is to figure out which of these three aspects of the teaching in the building of aiki are our weaker points -- and find ways to build up those weak spots.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:17 AM   #11
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Re: The same basic teaching

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Seems a giveaway to me. The "coiling" kundalini serpent -- a spiral dynamic nature. The coiling wreaths of steam in the image of ki and the coiling kundalini snake,
Well, bear in mind that in Chinese tradition (and Ueshiba, Kano, and any educated Japanese would have read Chinese classics as part of their education) the snake is considered the embodiment of qi strength in the sense of full-body coordination. If you feel someone whose power is well-developed, it's easy to understand why the feel/coiling of a snake is chosen for that role.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:31 AM   #12
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Re: The same basic teaching

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So, I'm a bit confused as to why all of the direct influences to Ueshiba and his version of Aikido are not considered "aikido"?
Just because something is influential to a certain subject does not, in my mind, make it a part of the subject.

-- Jun

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Old 05-05-2009, 11:33 AM   #13
Mike Sigman
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Re: The same basic teaching

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Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
Put Bluntly:
Do you include kundalini in these set of skills. Perhaps even the superset of all these skills?
Sure. At a higher level the practice of taking "essence" from the lower-hara and moving it up the spine to the upper-hara is the same in India, China, and Japan. Same roots.
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Is the set of ki, ground path, kokyu, zero-balance by pumping hara and moving tension to equilibrate the body a study in it's own.
Is the division artificial and wishful thinking (i.e. analog to "Aikido is what i want it to be"...True in that it is your opinion, but "False" as in there is not much supporting evidence). Or does it lead ...always ... and inextricably to the deeper esoteric. And the Chinese have nicely answered this with a thundering YES. All things hidden...occult...if you will.

For me; this now goes closer, in a strange way to John's post about the views of the Bible.. One way is a bit ... academic..cold.. easy to handle . If you will. The other gets *waaaay* too close for comfort. Because if that's really true..then..

See, for a long time I thought I could steal the jewels.... Body training for strength, Equalization for balance (zero-point, as I love that term). If there was no line drawn, there'd be no line to cross. Now I am not so sure.
Interestingly enough, Koichi Tohei's learning of Ki things was largely from Tempu Nakamura, who in turn credits his ki abilities/knowledge to an Indian man.

http://www.aikidointhefan.com/docs/H...nd_Part_II.pdf

Yet Tohei had no problem understanding that this was the same stuff that Ueshiba was doing while not overtly teaching it and thus Tohei attempted to re-establish "Ki" studies back into Aikido-proper via India. Nice twist, eh?

All of these things are intertwined, yet most westerners doing Asian martial-arts are totally unaware of it because the relationships are not made clear in normal teaching and different styles notoriously use different terms to describe the basic ki/kokyu skills. Shioda mentions that problem of terminology in "Aikido Shugyo":

"Another important point is that kokyu power is not limited to Aikido alone. Originally, it was certainly a part of all Japanese martial arts. While it was referred to by different names, Judo, Karate or any of the various other martial arts all had ways of practising kokyu power. But somewhere along the line it fell into disuse. I believe that therein lies the decline of Japanese martial arts. So in this chapter I would like to discuss kokyu power, the basis of Aikido." (p. 76).

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:03 PM   #14
John Brockington
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Re: The same basic teaching

Mike-

Do you think that variance in terminology is the basis for the loss of "kokyu power" skills in traditional JMA? Shioda seems a little vague about this, maybe intentionally so?

John
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:15 PM   #15
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Re: The same basic teaching

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Jun Akiyama wrote: View Post
Just because something is influential to a certain subject does not, in my mind, make it a part of the subject.

-- Jun
Thank you for the reply, Jun. I think we differ greatly in our views. Because of that, could you delete all of my posts in the Non-Aikido Forum? I'd rather not have them there to confuse people who are at AikiWeb for aikido information. I would really appreciate it if you would do that for me.

Thank you for all that you have done. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors and training.

Mark
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:23 PM   #16
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Re: The same basic teaching

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John Brockington wrote: View Post
Mike-

Do you think that variance in terminology is the basis for the loss of "kokyu power" skills in traditional JMA? Shioda seems a little vague about this, maybe intentionally so?
Hi John:

No, I think it's just a matter of these things not being taught methodically and with clear explanation. A lot of these things (the ki/kokyu skills) are part of the hidden/reserved techniques of many arts and are considered something reserved for just the few. Functionally, in the days when skill in martial-arts was important, it would not be advantageous to openly teach everyone how to do these things because it takes away your edge. Another big problem is that the methodology for teaching is/was often very vague. Since some of the techniques are somewhat alien to natural intuition, etc., things have to be shown anyway, so there is/was not very much importance placed on the exact words/terms.

Best.

Mike
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:44 PM   #17
John Brockington
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Re: The same basic teaching

Hi Mike-

Thanks for your response, and in reading it I wonder if that isn't going on to some extent today, as well. You know, the more things change.......

Also, check out the last thing Shioda says on page 81, same book "Aikido Shugyo." You might find it interesting.

John
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Old 05-05-2009, 01:00 PM   #18
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Re: The same basic teaching

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Well, bear in mind that in Chinese tradition (and Ueshiba, Kano, and any educated Japanese would have read Chinese classics as part of their education) the snake is considered the embodiment of qi strength in the sense of full-body coordination. If you feel someone whose power is well-developed, it's easy to understand why the feel/coiling of a snake is chosen for that role.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
I was born in the Year of the Snake. And yes, it is. The bees image too, for that matter, may well come through China from India in this context. Vishnu (preserver) is shown as a blue bee, and Kama, the god of Love, bears as his signature weapon, a bow -- whose string is made of bees. Sounds a bit too coincidental to me, in our specific context Aiki, love, snake, bees and all that .

The Orochi (Demon-serpent referred to in the Doka) was a multi-headed serpent -- coincident with the seven-headed naga of India, protectors of the shrine of Shiva (destroyer). Varuna, king of the nagas, was lord of the storm. Compare Ueshiba:
Quote:
Aikido is the work of Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara Ryu-ou
Murakumo:- cloud-cutter -- kuki: double-edged sword -- samuhara: praise for deeds of merit -- Ryu-Ou refers to the Dragon King of the East Sea (Ueshiba had himself painted as the embodiment of this entity) -- who has control of storms and rain, and who bequeathed to the Monkey King an iron rod, a weapon of infinitely variable size, that controlled ebb and flow of tides, among other things, (compare the same function of the red and white jewels in the Doka). Ryu-Ou, while serving as a mediator between the heavenely and earthly realm ( comapre the "floating bridge" Ukihashi) and is nearly beaten to death by Nezha -- the trickster -- compare Susanou's similar misbehaviors.)

Say what you like, Ueshiba's imagery is dense, deep, overlaid and incessantly suggestive of the "feel" of the subject matter. So we have all these rather suggestive "double-edged" oppositions -- buzzing bees/undulating snake, love/protection, preserver/destroyer, mediator/trickster, severing-sword/connecting-bridge, ebb/flow ... etc.

But mythic elements in Chinese thought are terribly difficult to trace historically, because of the extreme multiplicity of ethnic traditions (often unknown to Westerners until relatively late) which have all begged, borrowed and stolen from one another with great freedom (never mind the Indian imports). The systematizing impulse in Chinese culture is partly a result of this.

But that is not necessarily important to sort out. All of this essentially tantric take on Shinto mythic imagery would have come to Ueshiba in any event from his early Shingon teaching. Tantra views myth as an operative form of knowledge -- placed in use by contemplation in the context of a series of revelatory initiations. Or, as Prof. Goldsbury and others would have it -- IHTBF. One could just as easily fit Aikido into that tantric model of training as anything else. But just IHBTF is not enough standing alone if we are dealing with a tantric type of understanding, because the how or what that one is feeling has no easy comparisons or one-off reductions to simpler terms.

James Hillman's approach to myth (direct student of Jung) is from that perspective. Myth is an image or a set of relations between contemporaneous images whose power appears spontaneously in a particular history (or circumstnatial context) , and disappears just as easily in the same way. Ancient Hebrews knew what image "cherubim" referred to so presumptively that we have only the vaguest possible description of how these unique and highly significant mythological creatures were depicted. Myth has a face but has "no back," no history, i.e. -- not just timeless and ahistorical in its representation of the reality it describes, but that there is no "there" behind the overt history of the representation. It cannot be reduced, even with initiatory experience of it or IHTBF.

If you perceive its face in concrete terms you have it, but if you examine what you presume to be behind the development of that image, in other than concrete comparison to immediate practice, you lose it. This is an aspect of why Tantra is "esoteric." Not secret -- just not obvious, and difficult to be any less involved in attempting to communicate it. (Other, non-aesthetic tools are needed to do that more systematic examination of the concrete things the image points to -- not detracting from the aesthetic, intuitive perception).

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:27 PM   #19
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Re: The same basic teaching

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John Brockington wrote: View Post
...check out the last thing Shioda says on page 81, same book "Aikido Shugyo." You might find it interesting.
yes....
John, that reminds me of a joke my older brother used to tell.

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How do you keep an a$$hole in suspense..?
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Old 05-06-2009, 05:08 AM   #20
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: The same basic teaching

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
But that is not necessarily important to sort out. All of this essentially tantric take on Shinto mythic imagery would have come to Ueshiba in any event from his early Shingon teaching. Tantra views myth as an operative form of knowledge -- placed in use by contemplation in the context of a series of revelatory initiations. Or, as Prof. Goldsbury and others would have it -- IHTBF. One could just as easily fit Aikido into that tantric model of training as anything else. But just IHBTF is not enough standing alone if we are dealing with a tantric type of understanding, because the how or what that one is feeling has no easy comparisons or one-off reductions to simpler terms.
This is not what I actually stated. What I did state was:

"Why is it that language is so necessary for aikido that we need to fill acres of Internet space in discussing the art—and in telling each other with great fluency that IHTBF (It has to be felt): that mere words cannot really explain what aikido is?" (Column 11)

"Even people who appear to believe wholeheartedly in the IHTBF (It has to be felt) doctrine give others verbal explanations of what the latter are supposed to be feeling and assume without question or further explanation that verbally expressed ‘intentions' can be ‘projected' around the body..." (Column 12)

You cannot conclude from these statements that I myself 'would have it that IHTBF'. I am simply noting the paradox that IHTBF also requires complex verbal explanations, in order to explain what HTBF and how IHTBF in a correct way.

PAG

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Old 05-06-2009, 07:32 AM   #21
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Re: The same basic teaching

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
This is not what I actually stated. What I did state was:

"Why is it that language is so necessary for aikido that we need to fill acres of Internet space in discussing the art—and in telling each other with great fluency that IHTBF (It has to be felt): that mere words cannot really explain what aikido is?" (Column 11)

"Even people who appear to believe wholeheartedly in the IHTBF (It has to be felt) doctrine give others verbal explanations of what the latter are supposed to be feeling and assume without question or further explanation that verbally expressed ‘intentions' can be ‘projected' around the body..." (Column 12)

You cannot conclude from these statements that I myself 'would have it that IHTBF'. I am simply noting the paradox that IHTBF also requires complex verbal explanations, in order to explain what HTBF and how IHTBF in a correct way.

PAG
Thank you for the clarification, but I see that I did not adequately express what I understood you position to be. It wwas a passing comment in this discussion, so I did not have the opportunity to give full flesh to your position.

I took your position to be that IHTBF is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition -- and that other conditions on what, as you put it, "HTBF," are also necessary -- both a priori to guide attention to the correct sensation of action, and a posteriori to interpret the results or correctives in the action. And that people differ widely on what those additional conditions may or should be. If I have it wrong, please let me know.

But what of John's larger point? Do you see a tantric link or model at play in the teaching? Do you have an opinion whether these mythic comparisons are some evidence of more direct influences on Ueshiba, more an artifact of Japan's syncretic history or something more abstruse, like an individual irruption of Jung's archetypes? (I myself don't see these as mutually exclusive categories.)

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:57 AM   #22
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Re: The same basic teaching

As a Feldenkrais practitioner, I have been spending lots of time contemplating the relationship between internal skills and what part of such similar teachings may have influenced Dr. Feldenkrais.

As I understand the method, it is not about teaching a specific body organization. It's about optimal body use for a specific application. Ultimately, better self organization makes all things work better. This is true not just in physical movement.

Freedom of the head and neck in any organization does lead to a more unified way of moving and thinking. The equalization of tonus across the flexors and extensors changes posture, movement and mental attitude.

At what point does this more efficient body organization lead to internal skills? That's the question.

I imagine Awareness Through Movement could be used to teach these skills more effectively, but I don't quite get the internal stuff well enough to make lessons specifically for that purpose.

I would enjoy talking to the practitioner Mike mentions, to see what their take on this subject is.

A story I have heard from a couple of people about Dr. F.: He would occasionally have someone press on his belly. I have heard two reports that the person pressing could feel his spine through his soft abdomin. Then he would bounce them across the room by inflating his lower torso. I've yet to see the lowering of tonus to the degree which would let someone feel the lumbar vtibre from the front. He was not a thin man at the time.

Cheers,

Joel
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:24 AM   #23
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Re: The same basic teaching

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Joel Zimba wrote: View Post
As a Feldenkrais practitioner, I have been spending lots of time contemplating the relationship between internal skills and what part of such similar teachings may have influenced Dr. Feldenkrais.
Cheers,
Joel
Hi Joel,
Can you say anything about a general approach or philosophy in regards to the 'hara' or seika-tanden and Feldenkrais? (Other than, brace, flex, ... 'use it'...)
Does he teach any approaches specifically?
Best,
Josh P.
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Old 05-06-2009, 11:09 AM   #24
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Re: The same basic teaching

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Joel Zimba wrote: View Post
I would enjoy talking to the practitioner Mike mentions, to see what their take on this subject is.
Hi Joel:

I'll make it a point to report (even if only generally) what transpires in the conversation if I get to meet this person in July, as I plan to do. There's also another "old-time" Feldie that is in Boulder whom I'm going to attempt to meet with in the near future. I'll try to give a clinical synopsis of the conversation there, also.

In my mind, too many of Feldenkrais' comments directly and indirectly indicate *some* degree of knowledge or some perception of the ki skills. He uses the terms correctly, mentions the demonstrations, and so on. I'm not totally clear (again, this is just my perception) whether Feldenkrais' perceptions and attempts to replicate were "spot on", but I'm intrigued with the possibility that he could do a certain amount of the ki skills, he then formulated a scientific explanation and approach, etc., but then there seem to be a loss of the information down-line among his students. It's enough of a *possible* puzzle that I'm interested into following up to see if I can get some whiffs of ideas.

Best.

Mike
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:03 PM   #25
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Re: The same basic teaching

Hi Mark,

I'm no historian, but it is my understanding that the Magna Carta is seen as the predecessor to the 17th English Law in use at the time of the original 13 (American) Colonies' declaration of independence. When Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence he used the English Law of the 17th century and its foundation of the Magna Carta as the basis from which he argued that not only was the 13 Colonies' declaration of independence from royal tyranny justified but even demanded by the law of his day.

Not only did Jefferson state that his views, and that of the members of the 13 Colonies, differed greatly from the King, he argued that the King's rulings and actions were in violation of the very law supposedly represented and protected by the monarchy itself and therefore he and his fellow citizens had a responsibility to rectify the situation.

Fast forward to India and later America during the Civil Right "Era." Pivotal individuals used the venues available and resources present at the time, flawed, limited, or biased as they may have been, as a pulpit upon which to present and argue their case until change occurred. Sometimes those venues served as a pyre upon which individuals were publicly sacrificed. However, those movements succeeded not because of the wrongs or violence perpetrated. Rather those movements were successful despite of war, violence, and wrong. True change came about because of the indefatigable persistence of those that would not give up prompting a slow tidal shift from old accepted and often un-questioned ideas and beliefs.

I don't equate Aiki or I.S. or whatever, to the importance of American's or India's struggle for self rule or America's ongoing struggle to live up to its ideals. I do think, however, that it would be a shame to erase the contributions to AikiWeb of posters such as yourself. Our American forefathers didn't ask to have the Magna Carta deleted from record. The fact that your, and other's, posts prompt questioning, introspection, debate,and may even foment descent is of value I think . . . even if that questioning, introspection, debate and descent has to take place in pubs, attics or Non-Aikido Martial Tradition threads!

(Jun, I'm hoping that there is no Aiki-Web equivalent to stocks or gallows for those caught spreading sedition. Once again, thanks for the forum. It is appreciated. )

Allen

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Thank you for the reply, Jun. I think we differ greatly in our views. Because of that, could you delete all of my posts in the Non-Aikido Forum? I'd rather not have them there to confuse people who are at AikiWeb for aikido information. I would really appreciate it if you would do that for me.

Thank you for all that you have done. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors and training.

Mark

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