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Old 08-08-2009, 04:53 PM   #26
jason jordan
 
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Re: Aikido 101

Quote:
Bob Blackburn wrote: View Post
Also, a lot of students want to do the fun/flashy stuff and brush over the basics. This is obviously a bad long term decision. Hind sight is 20/20. You need strong basics or everything falls apart.
When I was 2nd Kyu I went to a school in P.R. and had private session with a yondan. I knew how to do the techniques. But one day training with him my eyes were open and my Ego vey badly bruised and almost destroyed (Im still working on keeping it dead)

He just stood there with his arm out and told me to do Ikkyo on him. I couldn't even move him. I fought and fought and could not move the guy. Then he said use your hip and arms at the same time. And it became easy. Just because you know the steps doesn't mean you know how to do the technique.

Kihons are the most important things to learn.
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Old 08-08-2009, 05:47 PM   #27
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Re: Aikido 101

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I am probably going to get lost in semantics again with the above David.

"Techniques serve as guidepost..."

These days I tend to think that they serve as obstacles...at least the way we as westerners understand the word "technique".

I think we assume away alot of things when we use techniques as a guidepost or training mechanism.

I think this is what Systema seems to think to as what I see in there training is guys worried more about the structure and flowing than any techniques at all.

Sure techniques can give context. They give us something to discuss form, function, and structure around.

But then we get the huge gloss over in irimi tenkan for example of "Just move your hips!"

I think this is the problem when one says "Techniques are the guidepost..."
I am not so certain that techniques being the guide post is the issue. I think (and this may be waaaayyyyy to deep) that the issue is that we as "So Called" martial artist are not truly being Martial Artist. You stated earlier that all good musicians first study classically.....That's not entirely correct. Being a musician is how I live and was never classically trained but trained properly none-the-less, but your point was spot on.

Westerners like flash, and magic, and things that make us look better than what we are. But if we really are artist then we tend to take the simplest step and try to understand it until there is nothing more to be understood...if possible.

Artistry is about getting the most out of what I am taking up so that I can express it, and myself without limits. But to keep playing a CMaj scale note for note and thinking that I have mastered it means nothing other than being able to play the CMaj scale.

An artist says okay, this is the scale, but what others ways can I play it? And how wil it sound if I start it from the E instead of the root (C)? So then what happens is that when I am on stage and have to improvise, I'm doing more than the basic step with out expression, I can now do what I want how I want and when I wnat.

I know this is wayyy too deep, I'm sorry just expressing myself...
Good Topic
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Old 08-08-2009, 06:11 PM   #28
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Re: Aikido 101

No it is not too deep at all but right on topic I think!

A couple of us have mentioned or lamented that students simply don't want to put in the necessary level of comittment or time to realy learn.

I am sure this is true to a certain degree, but is this really all that is going on there?

Could it be that we really are not doing the best job possible to help them really understand WHY we do what we do and show them that it is worth their time to do these things that are so mundane.

I used to feel that way about yoga. Avoided it for the last 10 years cause it just seemed like so much work for such a long time to get any pay off and I'd NEVER look like some of those big time Yogi's so why bother.

Well I finally found a program/teacher that made sense to me and was shown that I can do it, and I can make gains in ways that are really significant and matter, even though they are small ones.

It is enough to keep me on track and coming back for more.

My fear is that instructors sometimes use the excuse that students really aren't committed to learning and putting in the time.

Well have we really given them a reason to spend the time doing those little things?

Or does it seem like a 20 year dream that they can only obtain through the suck factor and chasing the secrets that will reveal themselve when they are ready? (or something like that )

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Old 08-08-2009, 06:25 PM   #29
jason jordan
 
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Re: Aikido 101

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
No it is not too deep at all but right on topic I think!

A couple of us have mentioned or lamented that students simply don't want to put in the necessary level of comittment or time to realy learn.

I am sure this is true to a certain degree, but is this really all that is going on there?

Could it be that we really are not doing the best job possible to help them really understand WHY we do what we do and show them that it is worth their time to do these things that are so mundane.

I used to feel that way about yoga. Avoided it for the last 10 years cause it just seemed like so much work for such a long time to get any pay off and I'd NEVER look like some of those big time Yogi's so why bother.

Well I finally found a program/teacher that made sense to me and was shown that I can do it, and I can make gains in ways that are really significant and matter, even though they are small ones.

It is enough to keep me on track and coming back for more.

My fear is that instructors sometimes use the excuse that students really aren't committed to learning and putting in the time.

Well have we really given them a reason to spend the time doing those little things?

Or does it seem like a 20 year dream that they can only obtain through the suck factor and chasing the secrets that will reveal themselve when they are ready? (or something like that )
OOOOOHHHH You mean REAL SENSEI"S?? LOL just kidding.
But it does sound like you're talking about true pedagogy.
That's a tough point to answer for me. For 2 reasons.

1. I'm a Philomath, I love learning and understanding and the feeling you get when "The Light Comes On"

2. I have a great instructor who makes every effort to pay attention to detail and to explain why. Or at least "Challenge me" to understand why.

I think I understand where you are coming from and I completely agree with what you are saying.

That is really a hard task to do. It reminds me of the Karate Kid paint the fence scenario. He did but then got very frustrated until Miyagi showed him why.
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Old 08-08-2009, 07:18 PM   #30
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Aikido 101

Why can't you just speak to your instructor?

Lyle Laizure
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:27 PM   #31
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido 101

Lyle, who are you addressing this too? In reference to what?

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Old 08-09-2009, 10:01 AM   #32
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Re: Aikido 101

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Lyle, who are you addressing this too? In reference to what?
I think to me...

Lyle, this was just an example to help start the thread flowing so to speak... and it seems to be doing pretty well.

[on a side note, my Hungarian sucks... that is one main reason. - its hard enough not to get the ego on defense when you are speaking natively in ones own tongue... but enough on this, things are working themselves out]

Peace

dAlen

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Old 08-11-2009, 03:32 PM   #33
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Re: Aikido 101

Something Ill add to the 101 aspect of the thread.

One thing that can easily be lacking in Aikido training in general is that aspect which helps to create strength, flexibility, dexterity, & better cardio health.

While its good that Aikido tends to be open to people of various ages, physical capabilities, etc., it seems that not enough emphasis is put on honing what is already there in each individual that comes.

You can easily go through the ranks, for the most part, and be no more flexible, etc than when you first started. You may have a better sense of being centered, as well as having Aikido act primarily as a spiritual primer... but I believe there is a more holistic aspect we are missing out on.

Ive been at Aikido for just a little over 2 years, and have to say that it doesnt really push any of the areas that say something like Thai boxing, etc would. In fact supplementing Aikido with some boxing, etc. may actually help me to better understand some of the principles I know in Aikido already, but just make them a bit more applicable in a way.

Not too long ago we started adding a litle bit of exercise to our training, which is a nice step.

But along the lines of the whole concept of finding structure, this has made me ponder a bit... there should be some relevant exercises to aikido that can help ones structure so that the techniques follow and make sense based upon flow...centeredness... ones structure. [Again, Im kind of pulling from the conversation already started, but putting it in the light that Im kind of seeing it - whether it makes a lick of sense or not is another thing... also its a bit late here which is a factor in my ability to communicate.]

On one level, I would expect people who have been training in Aikido awhile, not to be in the same physical condition they started in... though this can indeed be the case.

Along with that the body movements should be done with a purpose... a knowing. [Again, not just going through a motion, but feeling that your body is shifting in the way that is best suited for the situation, much like a boxer weaving, etc.]

Dont know, just a few late night thoughts.

Im sure others will agree in the value of cross-training... though to some extent, these concepts should be a natural part of Aikido training.

Peace

dAlen

p.s.
read through the post and realized, no more late night posting. lol
But the point is there I believe, so Ill leave it as is.

Last edited by dalen7 : 08-11-2009 at 03:46 PM.

dAlen [day•lynn]
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:05 PM   #34
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Re: Aikido 101

I don't have the answer for sure dAlen!

I think no matter how you cut it, your in for about a 5 year process at best.

Looking back, I wish I would have discovered some of the things I am doing now sooner, I think it would have saved me a few years, but I think there are simply alot of things that have to be learned and put together.

I think developing a martial body should be done up front though. So you have a receptive framework. I am just now really getting started and I thought I was doing pretty good for a number of years, but no, I was no where near where I needed to be.

This really became apparent a year ago working with Ark and Rob John. No matter how much they tried to show me stuff, I simply could not do some very basic things that had nothing to do with aikido. Simple things like a horse stance with back straight with my heals on the ground and arms extended out in front of me with shoulders rotated down and in and chin up while breathing.

I lacked the over all condition and development in these area in order to properly develop a "ground path" if you will connecting the arms, legs, trunk as one unit and being able to move with a relaxed and receptive upper body from the lower body.

Anyway, I did some of the exercises that Mike Sigman and Ark provided and they are good, but pyschologically I had a hard time with them as I really honestly expected to do them for a while and then I would start to see improvement in my aikido practice. It did not happen that way at all.

So, having priorities I of course stopped, and then started, and stopped and started.

What finally is sticking for me right now is Bikram Yoga. It is the same 26 movements (think one 90 minute kata). It immediately felt right to me as it seems to develop the body in about the same way I felt from the other exercises. Maybe a longer path as the stuff Mike and Ark do are more directed and distilled. I suspect I will have to go back to these eventually to see any real gains to aikido, but psychologically the Bikram works for me right now.

Why? Well It is detached from my Aikido practice so I no longer try and measure my success in yoga in martial terms. I measure it in how well I can maintain stillness while in a standing bow pose while breathing for example.

Some of the stuff that Mike Sigman talks about seems to start making sense now that I am doing Pranayama with the Asanas and connecting the body as a whole.

My goal is to spend about a year really working hard on the Bikram and then maybe get back with Ark, Mike or Dan to see if I can absorb some of their training methods having a better platform in which to recieve their training.

I think it is very difficult to integrate it into your training without some mentoring and guidance from someone that is ahead of you in this process.

The good news, I think is that if you do a basic yoga practice like Bikram, which is a well desgined and thought out practice, you can start developing a decent martial platform to grow on. BTW it really is not so much about the increase in flexibility that matters either...it is developing the connection of breath to body, stillness (active relaxation and transistioning to movement.)

I think you can begin to have the mind lead the body and begin to take command of your faculties.

You won't be learning aikido, that is the jiujitsu of aikido, but at building a better framework to develop that.

cheers!

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Old 08-12-2009, 03:04 AM   #35
dalen7
 
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Re: Aikido 101

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Looking back, I wish I would have discovered some of the things I am doing now sooner, I think it would have saved me a few years, but I think there are simply alot of things that have to be learned and put together.

I think developing a martial body should be done up front though. So you have a receptive framework.

No matter how much they tried to show me stuff, I simply could not do some very basic things that had nothing to do with aikido. Simple things like a horse stance with back straight with my heals on the ground and arms extended out in front of me with shoulders rotated down and in and chin up while breathing.

I lacked the over all condition and development in these area in order to properly develop a "ground path" if you will connecting the arms, legs, trunk as one unit and being able to move with a relaxed and receptive upper body from the lower body.

...I had a hard time with them as I really honestly expected to do them for a while and then I would start to see improvement in my aikido practice. It did not happen that way at all.

What finally is sticking for me right now is Bikram Yoga. It is the same 26 movements (think one 90 minute kata).

Why? Well It is detached from my Aikido practice so I no longer try and measure my success in yoga in martial terms. I measure it in how well I can maintain stillness while in a standing bow pose while breathing for example.

I think it is very difficult to integrate it into your training without some mentoring and guidance from someone that is ahead of you in this process.

...it is developing the connection of breath to body, stillness (active relaxation and transistioning to movement.)

I think you can begin to have the mind lead the body and begin to take command of your faculties.
That is the #1 problem I had when I first started Aikido... getting the body to move as one unit as it were. [still have this issue.]
It was something, that I suppose at some point, I thought the technique would help me understand...but something that just frustrated me all the more, and something I see frustrates most the others in the dojo.

[I would say a couple of the guys have it who have their 1st dan/kyu, some more so than others... but its something they have seemed to pick up on their own and havent readily been able to transmit it to others.]

It has dawned on me that I have to do something to remedy this, as well as to my overall lack of physical conditioning that Aikido as it currently is taught isnt really helping with.

Yoga is definitely on the top of the list as something which seems would help me to better feel what balance is and when my body is in a position that is conductive to whatever it may be, vs. much of the reaching I have done in the past which leaves me off balance, as well as the lack of understanding what to twist when to gain better leverage.

I remember clearly always being told to move my hips... I just didnt get it... it felt awkward. Then one day I made the connection it was because my feet werent moving as well. So simple, and sounds so silly as this is 'obvious' - but its amazing how much we can be unaware of 'basic movements' which should be obvious to us concerning our bodies and the way they move.

It seems most of us cant walk... and I think I have an issue which may have been partially behind why my knee pops... in basic training the company commander, some many years ago, said to walk like your kicking the heel off your boot...well, bad habit and my shoes wear out fast, as well as just being totally improper way to walk. Learning to walk again isnt that straightforward...and requires patience, as there can be doubt...

... not much unlike the doubt that comes with another basic, and automatic function such as breathing.
I breathe, yes? No... supposedly you have 3 steps in breathing - others make it more complex when where you are to suck the air into, etc. - and yes, even breathing becomes somewhat of a chore to relearn as you try to see what it is would benefit you the most as you were not naturally doing it... for whatever reason.

We dont have any yoga here...if we do I dont think I will ever throw myself into something like this as I did with Aikido, where understanding the language [hungarian in this example] fluently is primary to try to talk through and understand some basic concepts which can easily be misunderstood even in ones own language. [apparent as others in the dojo seem to have had issues with communication as well, and they speak the language. But as mentioned, language is the universal flaw to some extent, as unless one goes in with an expanded mind from experience, and humility it is often easy to not get the point as well as lighting a match to the ego... so communication in and of itself is an art.]

Either way, your post summed up nicely what I had tried to point to in my previous post where I was nicely stumbling over my words.
It is good that you have shared your insight and experience as well, as it will help others to get what it is that might be missing from their practice.

Looks like this topic is becoming more common place, or rather better articulated, by some, as well as understood as to what the issue is in order to find the solution.

As for Aikido Im into the holistic approach as has been pointed out here. If I do ever teach, I suppose I will do what I can to try to introduce from the beginning and emphasize structure, and then add the rest as form to play with. [form not limited to Tachi Waza, or standing grappling if you want to call Aikido that... but including realistic strikes, ie. Thai boxing, and some real ground fighting, etc. - with an emphasis to be certain on the spiritual or inner aspect of the whole thing.

All in all, Aikido is not unlike a spiritual path in this regards, in that ultimately only one person can walk that path... and its the individual who seeks the path. There can only be pointers to show them the direction, from there its up to them what they make of it.

Thanks for the post... most useful.

Peace

dAlen

p.s.
Should start up a international dojo with you guys here at Aikiweb.
Wonder how quickly the Aikido would progress then... lot of experience posting here on this board

dAlen [day•lynn]
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