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Old 07-18-2009, 05:08 PM   #1
Howard Popkin
Dojo: Popkin-Brogna 大東流合気柔術銀柔会
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Meeting with Dan Harden

Hello all,

I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Harden today.

This is the only way I can explain what I felt, It seemed like I was meeting an old friend who had studied the same system, but took it on a different path.

His aiki body skills are excellent and we were very easily able to communicate in similar terms, which made for a very educational day.

Dan's center is among the most stable and powerful that I have trained with, and he is very willing to demonstrate and teach what he knows, provided you have the right attitude.

After experiencing it for myself, I wholeheartedly recommend anyone desiring internal skills to seek out Dan.

Thank you again for an outstanding day.

Howard
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Old 07-18-2009, 05:20 PM   #2
Howard Popkin
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

oh yeah,and his gang was really great to work with too
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Old 07-18-2009, 06:29 PM   #3
MM
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Sounds like you had a great time! Sorry I missed being there.
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:55 PM   #4
jss
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Quote:
Howard Popkin wrote: View Post
This is the only way I can explain what I felt, It seemed like I was meeting an old friend who had studied the same system, but took it on a different path.
That's an interesting statement, but I don't know how to interpret it:
internal skills vs. no internal skills;
formal Japanese martial art vs. less formal, people just working together;
focus on internal skills vs. focus on techniques.
Care to elaborate?
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Old 07-19-2009, 03:00 PM   #5
jzimba
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Hey Howard, Remember about 10 years ago when you came to my house and I raved about dan.

I think you said, "Him? He's just a sword-maker."

The great thing about Dan is his spotty memory. I think I've told him that story 3 times now and he still acts like he has never heard it. Maybe h just like to see people enjoy telling a story.

Best,

Joel
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:18 PM   #6
Howard Popkin
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Joel,

I'm not sure what you were getting at, but 10 years ago, that's all I knew about Dan. I knew he made a sword for Roy Goldberg and I knew it was a great sword because Goldberg and I used it a few times in a demo and I had it coming at my face more then once.

Other then that, I had no point of reference. Now I do.

Dan is an excellent teacher and high level practitioner of internal aiki body skills.

Thanks,

Howard

Quote:
Joel Zimba wrote: View Post
Hey Howard, Remember about 10 years ago when you came to my house and I raved about dan.

I think you said, "Him? He's just a sword-maker."

The great thing about Dan is his spotty memory. I think I've told him that story 3 times now and he still acts like he has never heard it. Maybe h just like to see people enjoy telling a story.

Best,

Joel
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:25 PM   #7
Howard Popkin
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
That's an interesting statement, but I don't know how to interpret it:
internal skills vs. no internal skills;
formal Japanese martial art vs. less formal, people just working together;
focus on internal skills vs. focus on techniques.
Care to elaborate?
What I meant was we practice things in techniques that Dan does in solo and resistance training. Some of them were so similar that I understood them easily and some I said, "what was that ??? "

Dan's focus on internal skills clearly came from Daitoryu waza, but his pinpoint focus on the development and application of just those skills while working under high levels of resistance has exponentially expanded his ability to use those body skills.

I also meant that Dan's open attitude made me feel most welcome. After 4 hours of being pushed and pulled in every direction, I really consider Dan a friend and I look forward to being pushed on again in the near future.

For more specifics on his drills, please ask Dan. I know he hates talking about it

Take care and train hard

Howard
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:03 PM   #8
jzimba
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Hi Howard,

Relax, bud, I had no hidden meaning there. I was surprised at the time that two friendly open guys who were not that far separated on the Daito-ryu tree didn't know about one another for the most part.

I'm glad Dan is more open than in years gone. I'm glad to know you both. I'm glad you finally met him.

I think it's fascinating that even as a clueless upstart, I could feel difference in your technique, but still sit back and say, "wow, that's definitely that weird aiki stuff."

Cheers,

Joel
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:07 PM   #9
Howard Popkin
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Joel,

No offense taken, I honestly just didn't know what you were trying to say.

I'm glad you are training and I hope you stick with it !

Be well,

Howard
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:07 PM   #10
Yamazaru
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Geez Howie, ya go right from the heat of Florida to the frozen tundra of Massachusetts..doesn't it snow in July up there?
Sounds like it was fun, nice to see Daitoryu alumni playing well together

Dan, one day I really must get up there and meet you!

Rob MacPherson
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:25 PM   #11
Howard Popkin
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

It wasn't the Tundra that was the issue, the sarcasm does run deep in the North as well.

Might be why we got along so well
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:57 AM   #12
thisisnotreal
 
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Hello Howard,

May I ask a question about your experience?
Given what you have seen and experienced recently, do you wish that maybe you did things differently in your career? Amplfied certain things, and/or minimized others? Or would you have done things more-or-less the same?

All the best to you,
Josh
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:27 AM   #13
DH
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Hey! I was out having fun this weekend and just read all this stuff.
This is unexpected! I thought we weren't going to talk about it? Now we're both going to have to sound intelligent and thoughtful with all the questions we're going to get!

First up, for the curious
I fear the reader may miss the real point; that being that these skills we keep talking about are the essence of what Howard and I shared; the art of Daito ryu. The "expression" of them is another corpus, another body of knowledge; Howard went in a different direction and has things I do not have, I went a different way and have things he doesn't. The point for the reader is that it is the power of aiki that is the essence and that you can have and do both depending on what your goals and time allow.
But it is the art and not us- that gets the credit!
That said; I don't know who had the most fun, Howard or me?
My fun was telling people before hand that he would walk in the door, I could show him what we were working on, and he would just do it! Which he did to one degree or another! It's fun to be right!
The real point-and I made it repeatedly at Howards expense (with him turning interesting shades of red) was to have people stop and watch his body respond and do what it had been trained to do (within the arts waza)-now outside of waza, and see him just do it with little prompting, So once again, it made the point about the art. In so doing it took people's eyes off of the idea of "one individual" and placed it squarely back on the idea that the knowledge is there in the arts- in this case Daito ryu- if you can find a teacher who will teach it to you.

Quote:
Dan's focus on internal skills clearly came from Daito Ryu waza, but his pinpoint focus on the development and application of just those skills while working under high levels of resistance has exponentially expanded his ability to use those body skills.
Yup! Just to be clear (for the reader) it was from Daito ryu but not from Daito ryu waza specifically. In fact it was from being shown specific ways to train the body to move (sans waza) in order to handle judoka and wrestlers (who very much wanted to kick my a___ in freestyle) that captured my attention and led to further research into the body method behind the waza-instead of waza. In time stopping judoka, wrestlers and MMA types was easier than stopping my own guys or they me, as our skills increased in one-on-ones. Training that way is like push-hands on steroids. In the fullness of time stopping aiki became rather perfunctory, it just happens as the body cancels out forces. So the body development was a process; practicing to change forces that led to changing the body which increased the "changing" of force. And that led to changing or manipulating the very act of an opponent changing the forces in or out up or down to begin with. All of which led to the body skills having to be strengthened, and the spiral energy having to be continuous instead of terminating with single moves.
What was interesting for me in talking with you Howard was getting to yak about all the places where it is the type of Daito ryu waza that he pursued!! It was my pleasure to work with yet another fellow Daito ryu practitioner (I have met two others but they were far less skilled than you) who was open to seeing research done with the art's core body development for aiki when they were taken in a different direction. Being able to discuss the one-step kata idea getting blown to hell without all the parochial art baggage that comes with it was refreshing. It is all too typical to see men blinded by the "It has to look a certain way!" attitude and thus miss the forest for the trees.. What a gas it was to have an intelligent work-a-day conversation with someone; without all the baggage.

Familiarity
I echo your comments. I most certainly felt that same "old friend" feeling. We know so many of the same people from "back in the day" that we should have met long ago-if not just for the stories! Funny that we both left and went in a different direction for much the same reason!
And hey we need to credit to several people who have trained with us both and have been telling us to get together. They were smarter then we were. They knew it long before we did.
Bully for them!
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 07-20-2009 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 07-20-2009, 12:27 PM   #14
DH
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Quote:
Joel Zimba wrote: View Post
I'm glad Dan is more open than in years gone. I'm glad to know you both. I'm glad you finally met him.
I knew about Howard, but as you, Ron Tisdale and others discovered and knew oh so well- I was just not interested. I was focused on my own research for years and didn't bother to "look up" much. Certain things require a lot of focus- to the sacrifice of others. I was never a fan for running to this and that art for this, that or the other, when I wasn't satisfied with what I was doing-hell I'm still not even close to happy about my training.

Ellis Amdur
Here is where I mention Ellis again. I keep doing it because he hates it so much and it's fun to piss him off.
Anybody who has ever been let in my door or learned from me in the last three or four years and is happy about the results owes a very serious debt of gratitude to Ellis Amdur. If it weren't for his intervention and ability to make me see beyond myself to the bigger picture, and to take a chance that not everyone in budo has serious issues, but there are earnest, sincere and fascinating people out there, I would never have stepped-up and opened that door.
I am all the better for doing so. I would have missed so much.

Cheers
Dan
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:02 PM   #15
Howard Popkin
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Dan,

You're right, Daitoryu gets the credit, but......dedicated practitioners need to keep all aspects of the art alive.

Thanks again,

Hope to see you soon !

Howard
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:26 PM   #16
DH
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Quote:
Howard Popkin wrote: View Post
Dan,

You're right, Daitoryu gets the credit, but......dedicated practitioners need to keep all aspects of the art alive.

Thanks again,

Hope to see you soon !

Howard
Stop answering with more good points- I have to work!!
For some reason I think we are living in interesting times. I keep thinking of what can happen for all of us in the aiki arts if we all keep in touch and shared.
Cheers
Dan
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Old 07-20-2009, 02:19 PM   #17
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
For some reason I think we are living in interesting times.
We've been cursed.


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Old 07-20-2009, 06:38 PM   #18
Howard Popkin
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Josh,

Sorry, I was training and didn't have time to answer you.

To put it plainly, no, I wouldn't have changed a thing. My experiences have made me who I am.

The body skills that Dan has are much easier for me to understand with my experiences then if I didn't have them.

I hope that answers your question.

Take care,

Howard
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:36 PM   #19
MM
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Hi Josh,

I'll add to Howard's answer. If I, or for that matter, Chris or Brian (two that I train with), were ever to train in Daito ryu, I'd (we'd) train under Howard. And I'd make the 6 hour one-way trips to do it.

In that respect, I'm glad Howard did choose the experiences that he did. I'm sure a lot of other people are taking advantage of that.

But, it didn't work out that way for us. We had too much on our plate already (between life, work, and other stuff) and just couldn't make the commitment required of Daito ryu.

If you get a chance to train with Howard, take it. You'll have fun, learn a lot, and get some quality hands on training time.
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:21 PM   #20
Howard Popkin
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Thanks for the kind words.

Keep training !

Hope to see you soon,

Howard
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Old 07-21-2009, 06:46 AM   #21
thisisnotreal
 
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Hi Howard & Mark (& Dan)
Thanks for the answers. I appreciate it.
Of course, I have many more questions!...but not to sure they're the right kind. (i.e. detail stuff).
All the best,
Josh
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:12 AM   #22
Budd
 
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

This is very cool to read and sounds like you gents had a blast! I am particularly interested in Dan's comment that "It is all too typical to see men blinded by the 'It has to look a certain way!' attitude and thus miss the forest for the trees" . . I've seen this in more than one place online and in a number of different arts . .

I keep coming back to the automobile analogy - I mean, yeah, aikido is going to look different from xingyi the same way an SUV will look different than a pickup truck and they may share observable similarities (Side doors and arm locks) . . but they both adhere to the same "rules" of engineering - even if they have different emphasis points - such as using the engine/leg torque/spiral to drive in a straight line against a ton of resistance, versus building the frame a certain way to offset all resistance to movement . . wait am I talking about cars . . or????

Anyhow, thanks for sharing, guys.
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:12 AM   #23
Pat Togher
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
In that respect, I'm glad Howard did choose the experiences that he did. I'm sure a lot of other people are taking advantage of that.

If you get a chance to train with Howard, take it. You'll have fun, learn a lot, and get some quality hands on training time.
I'll second that. Howard is a blast to train with, and a heck of a guy. I wish he was closer to this side of the country, though!

Pat
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:33 AM   #24
Pat Togher
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Forgot to add I'd enjoy the opportunity to train with Dan, should he do a beginners class here on the left coast.

Pat
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Old 07-22-2009, 09:28 AM   #25
gregstec
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Re: Meeting with Dan Harden

Howard,

Glad to hear that Dan's approach has some similarity to your's - now I will have some common concepts to relate to when I hook up with him in August.

Best

Greg
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