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Old 08-23-2009, 04:27 PM   #201
K. Abrams
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Re: True Internal Strength

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Two sides of a river by Nasrettin Hoca

"Nasrudin sat on a river bank when someone shouted to him from the opposite side:
- "Hey! how do I get to the other side?"
- "You are on the other side!" Nasrudin shouted back."

David
I've heard that joke before, but it was told as a Blonde Joke:

A blonde is walking along the river and sees another blonde on the other side. She calls over, "Hey -- how do I get to the other side?" The other blonde says "Teehee! Silly! You ARE on the other side!"
 
Old 08-23-2009, 09:04 PM   #202
rob_liberti
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Re: True Internal Strength

Quote:
Kreyna Abrams wrote: View Post
I've heard that joke before, but it was told as a Blonde Joke:

A blonde is walking along the river and sees another blonde on the other sMde. She calls over, "Hey -- how do I get to the other side?" The other blonde says "Teehee! Silly! You ARE on the other side!"
My grandfather got pulled over for driving the wrong way down a 1 way street. Just like the joke, the officer said "this is a 1 way street" and my grandfather really said and meant "I am only going 1 way!"...

Rob

old mcdojo had a form, aiki aiki do...
 
Old 08-23-2009, 09:17 PM   #203
dps
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Re: True Internal Strength

Quote:
Kreyna Abrams wrote: View Post
I've heard that joke before, but it was told as a Blonde Joke:

A blonde is walking along the river and sees another blonde on the other side. She calls over, "Hey -- how do I get to the other side?" The other blonde says "Teehee! Silly! You ARE on the other side!"
I am sorry, I can't resist a good blond joke.

David
 
Old 08-23-2009, 09:18 PM   #204
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Re: True Internal Strength

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
My grandfather got pulled over for driving the wrong way down a 1 way street. Just like the joke, the officer said "this is a 1 way street" and my grandfather really said and meant "I am only going 1 way!"...

Rob
Did the officer find it amusing and laugh?

David
 
Old 08-23-2009, 09:29 PM   #205
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Re: True Internal Strength

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David Skaggs wrote: View Post
I am sorry, I can't resist a good blond joke.

David
Oh, tee-hee.
I couldn't help noticing all of the "related" videos about dumb blondes on that YouTube page.

Rob,
Somewhere else I heard someone use that wiseacre "But I'm only going one way" line. It probably dif not tickle the cop's funnybone, as a ticket was issued.
 
Old 08-23-2009, 09:32 PM   #206
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Re: True Internal Strength

Mark,
That was a very cool post. I liked how you wrote that.
Quote:
you find yourself being softly and deftly controlled with a layer of power underneath that you cannot defy. It isn't muscle, it isn't moving and blending, and it defies the logic of years of training techniques.
...
What if there was a training methodology that would allow you to be exactly as skillful as Mary Heiny, but it only took 5 years instead of a lifetime? Would you be interested in that?
What do you think: How should the average schmoe go about IT?

just some thoughts on your post.
-Why on earth didn't Ueshiba explictly make this the focus of aikido. Or can it be debated that he did? i don't necessarily see it.
-Why wouldn't he talk and explain things? (following Takeda and traditional teaching method?)
-The way you describe it seems that IT is a functional definition of what 'aikido' is. bizarre that we are here.
-Do you think maybe he thought it was up to the individual to steal it. or somehow in line with the 'karma' (ie. their "True Internal Strength") of the individual to be able to steal it if he was 'worthy'?
-Do you think that with learning aiki there is a lot of responsibility incurred (in many ways) and he did not want to be responsible for any one person? (i.e. sink or swim; step up and learn or not. I am here showing you *now*). Do you think maybe it has to do with the potential danger of learning aiki (if any)? Physical, mental? spiritual?
-I can't see why he would go out of his way to make it so right-in-front-of-your-face and yet not go the extra mile and explain *what* he was doing? Or is this the tatamae/honne/smilingfaces thing? I somehow don't think that is it.
-Can you think of a reason it was okay (/and or encouraged) that students go elsewhere for 'this' knowledge? Do you think it was to ensure that they were fellow seekers of the way, and get them 'refined'/'purified' via the search, and then (and only then) help the high level students directly?

just some thoughts, like i said.

It is all so strange..
 
Old 08-23-2009, 10:30 PM   #207
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Re: True Internal Strength

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Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
-Why wouldn't he talk and explain things? (following Takeda and traditional teaching method?)
You're assuming Takeda actually "taught" anything.
He was notorious for hiding things, and according to one source,literally called a given technique "XXXX" in Aomori, but in Tokyo he would call it "ZZZZ.
Though assuming Ueshiba got his skill from Takeda, you have to remember he literally sold his house to train with the man
 
Old 08-23-2009, 10:46 PM   #208
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Re: True Internal Strength

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You're assuming Takeda actually "taught" anything.
He was notorious for hiding things, and according to one source,literally called a given technique "XXXX" in Aomori, but in Tokyo he would call it "ZZZZ.
Though assuming Ueshiba got his skill from Takeda, you have to remember he literally sold his house to train with the man
Hi-
I think you are right. I'm just reading Sagawa's account of learning from the man, and it fits with what you say.
I meant (although phrased badly) in my question:Was Ueshiba following Takeda in the *not* teaching... IOW is this the 'traditional' way/model Ueshiba was following?
..Sold his house, eh?
(I remember reading about the prices Takeda was charging...pretty exorbitant...but then again supply/demand gets f*d up when the supply =1.)
 
Old 08-24-2009, 02:49 AM   #209
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Re: True Internal Strength

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As long as it's not involving needing genuis level understanding of mathematics or quantum physics, I'm willing to believe that any of us could become as good as or better than (yes, I dare say that) O-Sensei!
An what if O-Sensei was to the martial arts of his time as Usain Bolt is to sprinting in our time? We can improve our own sprinting by training in the same way as Bolt, but we have little chance of becoming as good or better...
 
Old 08-24-2009, 08:11 AM   #210
Ron Tisdale
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Re: True Internal Strength

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
Correct feeling can be learned without competition... which in my mind is in the spirit of Aikido.
Mary
What method currently under discussion involves competition?

Just Currious, as none of the methods I've been exposed to involve competition.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
 
Old 08-24-2009, 08:59 AM   #211
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Re: True Internal Strength

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What method currently under discussion involves competition?
I'm not sure if Mary meant "competition" in the sense of a sporting event, or in the sense of...um...genitalia size comparisons. The former is rare in aikido, the latter about as common as anywhere else in society (maybe more so).
 
Old 08-24-2009, 10:21 AM   #212
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Re: True Internal Strength

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Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
An what if O-Sensei was to the martial arts of his time as Usain Bolt is to sprinting in our time? We can improve our own sprinting by training in the same way as Bolt, but we have little chance of becoming as good or better...
The discussions here about aiki and Internal Strength are new to me, but in my reading I am learning something new. Now I believe that there is a difference in the ways the body is being used between an athletic activing like sprinting sprinting, and the complicated process of making a martial art. There is quite evidently more to this than meets the eye.

Besides, look at the YouTube demonstrations of O-Sensei doing incredible things as a very old man. Do you think Usain Bolt will be able to sprint as well as Morihei Ueshiba did aikido in his old age? Are you saying that you and I cannot attain a level of skill that could match that of a fragile looking 80-plus-year-old man?
 
Old 08-24-2009, 10:48 AM   #213
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Re: True Internal Strength

Respectfully, what I read was not that O'Sensei was able to master these principles of movement because he was an uber-athlete -- although many anecdotes circulate about feats of strength as a younger man.

It seems a reasonable hypothesis that O'Sensei went a great deal further in developing these posited abilities as he grew older because of a combination of (a) a capacity to train longer and harder than most people, (b) exposure to the right "stuff," as well as (c) a combination of physiological, kenisthetic, and mental attributes that facilitated mastery of this "right 'stuff''."

(I purposefully leave undefined the components and proportions of this "right 'stuff,'" both in terms of "aiki-" and in terms of "-do.")

Note that to test for ones self the hypothesis that O'Sensei had a greater nature "talent" for this training would require conditions (a) and (b) to be fullfilled over the course of a lifetime of study and training.

An ambitious agenda that, I feel certain, would require a great deal of strength of character.

FWIW
 
Old 08-24-2009, 12:50 PM   #214
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Re: True Internal Strength

Well I think Bolt would be able to teach sprinters at age 80 and still be able to demonstrate proper mechanics, principles, alignment, and proprioceptions.

I am sure that O'Sensei's students could have wiped the floor with him in his 80's, but that is not really the point of what they were studying which is an extreme subset mind/body movements.

There is a difference between training to sprint and sprinting in the olympics, just as there is a difference between training to fight and actual fighting. I have never seen in any video clip where O'Sensei was attacked by someone that actually meant him harm. It was alll within the parameters of the kata/waza being performed.

 
Old 08-24-2009, 01:57 PM   #215
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Re: True Internal Strength

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
An what if O-Sensei was to the martial arts of his time as Usain Bolt is to sprinting in our time? We can improve our own sprinting by training in the same way as Bolt, but we have little chance of becoming as good or better...
Well, with sprinters, there is a clear cut method of determining who is the kingpin of the lot. A bunch of guys get out on a track and run for a predetermined distance. The one who covers the distance in the least amount of time "wins". Now if this runner can duplicate this feat over and over it becomes pretty evident to everyone that he is the best at what he does.

Aikido has no such method of determining preeminent practitioners. Fame is generally accorded by commendation which is the result of a whole host of factors that more often than not have nothing to do with martial effectiveness. As Kevin pointed out, O Sensei, on film at least, performed his demonstrations within the Aikido paradigm.

My question to you Joep is: other than by arriving at a subjective judgement as to how good or not one's technique looks and/or feels, how do you determine "betterness" within Aikido?

Ron
 
Old 08-24-2009, 02:05 PM   #216
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Re: True Internal Strength

I have been reading many of the posts on AikiWeb that discuss Internal Strength, "aiki" and comparitive or analagous activities in some of the Chinese arts, and it looks to me as though there are already people who either matched or surpassed O-Sensei in their understanding and ability.

I'm sure that, as with any life discipline, doing the actual work is a very important part. In addition, there probably are people who do not have the emotional desire and drive, nor the physical drive, to attain excellence. That much is a given. But in reading the comments of the "everyman" even here on AikiWeb, who are just discovering a new way of training (Internal Strength) and who are already making progress after just a short time, I have to believe that given 20 years and some drive and passion, they should be able to perform amazing feats just as O-Sensei did.

Maybe it won't be EXACTLY what O-Sensei did, because he had his own personal vision. Aikido is an art, and by its very nature an art is subject to individual interpretation and expression. But the technical things, the science, is something everyone can learn the same before spinning off into his or her personal interpretation and way of expressing.

It's that technical science that I am most interested in and which I believe that many of us can learn and practice to the extent that we reach or even pass O-Sensei's skill level. Again, there are already people who have considerable Internal Strength. Why does it have to be seen as something mysterious?

Didn't the Beatles sing, "There's nothing you can sing that can't be sung.There's nothing you can do that can't be done..."?

Frankly, I am completely fascinated by all of this talk and would like to attend one of those seminars that were listed here and elsewhere by some of the people reputed to have exceedingly high levels of Internal Strength and skill.
 
Old 08-24-2009, 02:29 PM   #217
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Re: True Internal Strength

Hello Kreyna,
That was a very interesting post.
I think a lot of what underlies what is being spoken about is "intent".

Quote:
Kreyna Abrams wrote: View Post
It's that technical science that I am most interested in and which I believe that many of us can learn and practice to the extent that we reach or even pass O-Sensei's skill level. Again, there are already people who have considerable Internal Strength. Why does it have to be seen as something mysterious?
The technical science part is my interest as well. I think the way it has been presented, as a learnable, but difficult body skill, is an area worth deep study. In this way; I think IT is mysterious because it plumbs the depths of the human body. But I do not find that alone is the cause for mystery.

I think it is mysterious in a different way (mysticism) because of the cultures from which it sprang. Also; I have found, because these bodyskills link closely with (/are) some(/the) bodily yogic skills. And yoga is ultimately an immutable part of Hinduism. If I understand correctly. It is the body practice without which the religion is not complete. It is the *how* to yoke with Brahmin. Here you can define religion as 'a world view' or an 'experiential "reality"'. From my research...I could be wrong. Please correct me (anyone) if so.
This now becomes a "-do" or way, in the big sense of the word.
These choices are now earnestly/deadly serious and will have big ramifications on your life, choices and mindset. AAh..i don't think i wrote that well....but ultimately I think this is also a reason for the mystery surrounding this area of Internal Strength.

Quote:
Kreyna Abrams wrote: View Post
Frankly, I am completely fascinated by all of this talk and would like to attend one of those seminars that were listed here and elsewhere by some of the people reputed to have exceedingly high levels of Internal Strength and skill.
Me too.
And the crazy thing is, by all accounts, out of everyone who has gone, no one said they were disappointed.
That's like an even higher approval rating than for the new Star Trek movie. (i haven't seen it yet!)

Just some thoughts...on the mystery of it all.
Best,
Josh
 
Old 08-24-2009, 02:56 PM   #218
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Re: True Internal Strength

Quote:
Kreyna Abrams wrote: View Post
Now I believe that there is a difference in the ways the body is being used between an athletic activing like sprinting sprinting, and the complicated process of making a martial art.
Let me try that again: perhaps O-Sensei was to the Japanese martial arts oh time what Bach was to Baroque music. (Which is not fair to e.g. Sagawa probably. )

Quote:
Do you think Usain Bolt will be able to sprint as well as Morihei Ueshiba did aikido in his old age?
He may not be as fast as he is now, but if he keeps practicing into old age, he will still be quite fast and he will have perfected his running skills. When athletes grow older, they become coaches (or change careers) and train a lot less. If Usain keeps training into old age, why wouldn't he still be able to run incredibly fast? He'll be slower and would be compensating strength with skill, but who are we to say he'd be a poorer runner than O-Sensei was an aikidoka?

Quote:
Are you saying that you and I cannot attain a level of skill that could match that of a fragile looking 80-plus-year-old man?
Our chances are slim: O-Sensei had access to someone teaching him all the good stuff and he practiced full-time. And as an old man he may not have been as strong as he used to be, but these skills can be refined until the day you die, so he still was getting better at it, although not stronger.
So can we attain the level of skill of one of the greats in martial arts after a life of training? I would not bet on it. Aiming for or beyond the level of O-Sensei may be a bit naive (OTOH, I'd rather aim high and miss, than aim low and hit. - Les Brown):
Do you have access to a skilled teacher, willing to teach you?
Do you have the required talent?
Are you sufficiently passionate/obsessed with these skills?
Can you put in 10.000 hours of practice in a relatively short amount of time? (Studies show one needs 10.000 hours of practice for mastery.)
etc.
 
Old 08-24-2009, 03:06 PM   #219
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Re: True Internal Strength

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Kreyna Abrams wrote: View Post
It's that technical science that I am most interested in and which I believe that many of us can learn and practice to the extent that we reach or even pass O-Sensei's skill level. Again, there are already people who have considerable Internal Strength. Why does it have to be seen as something mysterious?
It's not mysterious. It's just lots and lots and lots of hard work. (And that's ignoring lots and lots of other factors.)
Saying that we can reach or even pass O-Sensei's skill level is like saying we can reach or even pass Schumacher's skill in Formula 1 racing, Yehudi Menuhin's skills in violin playing, James Joyce's skill in writing, Steven Spielber's skill in directing, Rintje Ritmsa's skill in speed skating, Eddy Merckx's skill in bicycle racing, etc.

And sure there are people who (one can argue) have surpassed O-Sensei's skills, but those were all people with the talent, the teachers, the passion and the amount of training needed to do so. And sure we can learn these skills and do some amazing feats, but most of us will never pass the amateur level. And O-Sensei was no amateur.
 
Old 08-24-2009, 03:09 PM   #220
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Re: True Internal Strength

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
My question to you Joep is: other than by arriving at a subjective judgement as to how good or not one's technique looks and/or feels, how do you determine "betterness" within Aikido?
There is no other way, but there's different kinds of subjectivity and seeing how you phrase your question, you seem to confuse intersubjectivity between experts with relativity. (Not that I'm an expert, btw.)
 
Old 08-24-2009, 03:19 PM   #221
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Re: True Internal Strength

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Well, with sprinters, there is a clear cut method of determining who is the kingpin of the lot. A bunch of guys get out on a track and run for a predetermined distance. The one who covers the distance in the least amount of time "wins". Now if this runner can duplicate this feat over and over it becomes pretty evident to everyone that he is the best at what he does.
.... other than by arriving at a subjective judgement as to how good or not one's technique looks and/or feels, how do you determine "betterness" within Aikido?
Ron
Well let’s see.
What is Aikido exactly by way of physical skills?
1. Aiki power
2. Movement, matching and controlling
3. Throws (Projections mostly which are easier)
4. Locks (standing)
5. Ki tests (Level of intent to control the body)
6. Weapons (sword, stick and knife)

Aiki power and Atemi
How about as an attacker both can strike and let’s see who can literally blow through the defense of the other? With nage demonstrating an inability to do something with the strike coming in?
What if one proves to have no ability to stop the incoming strike?
What if he not only cannot stop it in any manner shape of form, but it blows him back, knocks him down or causes intense pain just from the power- with zero wind up?
What if one can blow someone back with their hand, wrist, forearm, bicep, or shoulder (anything along the chain of movement) or legs and chest wall
What if one proves to have little to no ability to do anything at all; throws, locks, etc to the other?
How about a static test? With shomen-uchi and yokomen-uchi's one guys strikes blow through all manner of static defense to intercept or redirect it and hits the mark every time?

Movement
How about when attacked one of them can enter-in pretty much at will and do what they want DESPITE the other guy's efforts to stop him?
How about the other has no ability that he can muster or manage to enter into the others space in kind?

Throws
How about every time one guy tries to throw the other he either throws himself or he gets tossed?
How about on testing one guy can let the other all the way to the others chest wall and he still can't throw him and he gets thrown again?

Locks
How about you put out a hand and the guy can't lock you and you end up sucking him into a dangerous position?
How about he cannot do that to you?
How about you can lock him every time?

Since everyone knows you do ki tests
How about the amount or level of power offered in that push-that you can resist as ameasure of your ability to manifest your "ki"?
How about the type of resistance quality and visible evidence of internal manipulation on the guy pushing?
How about being able to move around freely with someone pushing directly on your hips driving into you?
How about an independent test where someone pushes on you steadily and they get to read you and tell where your weight is and which leg you are about to lift?
How about you stand stock straight and arms straight out in front and you match the other guy and you have to "walk through him?"
How about if you are allowed to get into a deep hanmi with the other guy still standing there stock straight fully extended and you still can’t budge him?
How about getting punched full on in the gut several times and demonstrating the body’s ability to absorb it?
How about delivering non dedicated power and weight transfer?

Weapons
How about taking a sword and seeing who can cut right through anything the other can offer by way of resistance...anything at all and they get whacked every time.
How about seeing who can control the others weapon every time the weapons touch and cut the other so they are totally owned?
How about taking a knife and proving the other guy completely inept to offer a viable defense?

That seems like a fairly comprehensive list of very basic items in aikido with some added tests for those inclined to discuss aiki or ki in casual and familiar terms. There should be some room in there to find a measureing stick to use

I have -only- outlined aikido oriented movements in the above. I think that all of the above is easy to prove measure and judge in various ways. If folks are friendly and want to play, they can have fun doing it and leave out the damaging parts!! I’ve been using it as a guide for years.

It has been my experience that the internet has offered endless debates for years in what is instantly judged in about 5 minutes, hands-on with what aiki can really do. Seems reasonable to me that if single individuals can pretty much walk-in and be on the top side of the above...over and over and over- that maybe there is something to this Japanese "aiki" stuff after all. Stuff that Aikido might be able to use. But hey, that's just my take on the physical side of things that the art seems to like to show in public.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 08-24-2009 at 03:33 PM.
 
Old 08-24-2009, 03:43 PM   #222
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Re: True Internal Strength

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
Our chances are slim: O-Sensei had access to someone teaching him all the good stuff and he practiced full-time. And as an old man he may not have been as strong as he used to be, but these skills can be refined until the day you die, so he still was getting better at it, although not stronger.
So can we attain the level of skill of one of the greats in martial arts after a life of training? I would not bet on it. Aiming for or beyond the level of O-Sensei may be a bit naive (OTOH, I'd rather aim high and miss, than aim low and hit. - Les Brown):
Do you have access to a skilled teacher, willing to teach you?
Do you have the required talent?
Are you sufficiently passionate/obsessed with these skills?
Can you put in 10.000 hours of practice in a relatively short amount of time? (Studies show one needs 10.000 hours of practice for mastery.)
etc.
So, you are admitting that it IS possible for us to reach O-Sensei's skills level. That the technical possiblity is there. Everything you have listed as a necessity is something that can be had by someone with the determination. In other words, it's not something superhuman, it's something that is simply a matter of logistics and personal drive.

I'd say it's doable. After reading posts by some AikiWeb subscribers who have been starting Internal Strength training, I would also say that it is doable in less than 20 years! Call me an idealist if you like, but it looks like something that is just that: a thing. Things are tangible and obtainable, not mysteriously unreachable by you and me and only attainable by someone who has now been dead for 40 years. With all due respect to O-Sensei.

Josh,
Thank you for your response, too. I share your love of the mysteriousness of the spiritual world and appreciate what you have said about it. I used to think that it was part of aikido, and for O-Sensei I'm sure it was. For me, though, it is becoming more and more a tangible process and thing that I can insert my own philosophical leanings into, but only after I have reached a level of skill that doesn't embarrass me. Again, I see this disciplne as a one of concrete knowledge and learned skills, of which I evidently am lacking a critical compenent. That rocks my world. Not in a "mysterious" way, but in a "What am I missing and how do I get it" way.

Last edited by K. Abrams : 08-24-2009 at 03:47 PM.
 
Old 08-24-2009, 04:10 PM   #223
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Re: True Internal Strength

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So, you are admitting that it IS possible for us to reach O-Sensei's skills level.
You should surpass him. Internal power has its limits in any endevour and Ueshiba, Takeda, any one of them would have their hands full in todays more pressured environments.
So the question is where are you? Where is your aiki-power? Where are your actual fighting skills in all venues?
I had only one goal in mind when learning an art- how to be better than the head guy and surpass him. It's the only way to improve. Most don't care about that and the ones that do? Most of them don't have the tenacity and dogged determination to keep doing the work.
Sagawa said it best "If you go to class and only do what the others do you will only be like the others. It then becomes a contest.....of mediocrity!"
There is a reason that the words "great" and "exceptional" have meaning right? It recognizes extraordinary effort over others.

Cheers
Dan
 
Old 08-24-2009, 04:37 PM   #224
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
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Re: True Internal Strength

Quote:
Kreyna Abrams wrote: View Post
I'd say it's doable. After reading posts by some AikiWeb subscribers who have been starting Internal Strength training, I would also say that it is doable in less than 20 years! Call me an idealist if you like, but it looks like something that is just that: a thing. Things are tangible and obtainable, not mysteriously unreachable by you and me and only attainable by someone who has now been dead for 40 years. With all due respect to O-Sensei.
It's an interesting thought, Kreyna, and I personally think you're right that it's doable. Of course, it's going to be difficult to separate the doable from the Dunning-Kruger effect that too often accompanies the claims within the martial-arts domain.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
 
Old 08-24-2009, 08:39 PM   #225
rob_liberti
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
Location: East Haven, CT
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Re: True Internal Strength

Another measuring stick that Dan could have mentioned would be to have 1 or 2 students of a teacher also step up and do everything Dan described as well...

Rob

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