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Old 08-30-2009, 10:56 PM   #1
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Guests in the House

From Buck -
Quote:
I am quoting you because you said something very intriguing, and I want to ask why you didn't find the power that you where looking for? Like was it because of the foundation arts of Aikido was lacking, was it the style, or was it because of particular way the philosophy of Aikido was taught at your dojo/organization. The technical stuff like that. It is all based on how we as people see things differently. It is just for my own personal knowledge,and understanding. I have no desire to debate, just listen.
Although my experience was mostly within the aegis of the Aikikai, I trained with some of the finest and most exemplary teachers alive, including Kuroiwa Yoshi (ex-pro boxer), Nishio Shoji, the major teachers at the Honbu, Terry Dobson, instructors from the Iwama tradition, with some Ki society instructors as well. I got the full range of philsophy, thank you very much - and the technique. I shall not repeat what I've written in Dueling with Osensei, but Kuwamori Yasunori was the absolute embodiment of morality without a philosophical preaching bone in his body (thank God), and Dobson had a higher, more passionate vision of aikido's moral possibilities than anyone I've met before or since.
But as a martial art, despite some exemplary practitioners. I found it sorely lacking, that notwithstanding my chapter in aikido about the absurdity of the angst about whether aikido could win in the UFC or the back alleys of Jakarta. As a technical corpus <ie., fight with this technique or that>, it was and is remarkably rococo, a very inefficient way of training, one I found no interest in pursuing. Frankly, after some years, I felt absurd doing classical aikido. Like playing cards with a deck without picture cards.So I quit.
However, I believe that with internal training, the whole meaning of the training changes. I will never return to aikido training -I'm committed to a different way of training altogether - but I believe that with solid and real internal training, everything changes in aikido. Were it available - or shall we say, accessible to me - when I entered aikido by in 1973, I'd be pretty damn good by now, and probably still involved with the art.
Ellis Amdur

Last edited by akiy : 08-31-2009 at 11:18 AM.

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Old 08-30-2009, 11:23 PM   #2
eyrie
 
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Re: Guests in the House

Maybe this should be split off into its own thread, as we now seem to be deviating from the original topic of guests in another's house.

Not sure where though, but I thought this part might yield some interesting discussion, as I'm sure many here may have also reach the same conclusions:

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote:
But as a martial art, despite some exemplary practitioners. I found it sorely lacking, that notwithstanding my chapter in aikido about the absurdity of the angst about whether aikido could win in the UFC or the back alleys of Jakarta. As a technical corpus <ie., fight with this technique or that>, it was and is remarkably rococo, a very inefficient way of training, one I found no interest in pursuing.... However, I believe that with internal training, the whole meaning of the training changes.

Ignatius
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Old 08-31-2009, 01:43 PM   #3
jxa127
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Ellis,

I got my copy of your latest book. Thanks! I look forward to reading it.

I'm pretty familiar with your thoughts on aikido training -- especially regarding ukemi and atemi. But I'm struck (excuse the pun) by your description of traditional training as inefficient rather than ineffective.

To me, "inefficient training" means that the aikido stuff could be learned more quickly, while "ineffective training" means that the aikido stuff doesn't work as well as it should. You've been pretty clear about the ineffective part, but what do you mean by inefficient?

Thanks,

-Drew

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Old 08-31-2009, 02:40 PM   #4
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Excellent question Drew! I **think** I have an idea of what Ellis's answer will be... [color me waiting with baited breath for his answer!]...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 09-01-2009, 03:45 AM   #5
jss
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
I **think** I have an idea of what Ellis's answer will be...
Hi Ron, does it have something to do with koryu vs. gendai budo?
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Old 09-01-2009, 08:06 AM   #6
jxa127
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
Hi Ron, does it have something to do with koryu vs. gendai budo?
I wonder about that too.

I attended a koryu sword seminar this weekend and had a minor epiphany about the roles of attacker and receiver -- shidachi and uchidachi, or uke and nage, etc.

Toward the end of the day, nearly everyone was mentally fatigued, moving a lot more slowly, and trying to remember a ton of new information. I took time during the breaks to write a few notes on each of the new kata, so I had a slightly easier time remember which person was supposed to do which movement and when.

Nevertheless, I noticed that when the attacker moved with certainty, the receiver/defender had a much easier time remembering what he or she was supposed to do. I finally understood more clearly than ever why the attacker is the teacher.

We know, of course, that O Sensei (and Takeda before him?) swapped the traditional roles so the attacker is the one learning. Perhaps this is the leading cause of what Ellis calls the aiki-accommodation syndrome? On the other hand, Peter Goldsbury has written on the benefits, at least to O Sensei's direct students, of learning through ukemi, so perhaps it's not all bad.

Regards,

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Old 09-01-2009, 08:21 AM   #7
jss
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Drew Ames wrote: View Post
I attended a koryu sword seminar this weekend and had a minor epiphany about the roles of attacker and receiver -- shidachi and uchidachi, or uke and nage, etc.
I was mostly thinking about designed to efficiently instruct a small group of dedicated individuals vs. teaching large groups of people with different levels of commitment.
One of the causes of inefficient aikido instruction might be the lack of combat and/or competition to force teaching optimization. If both of these are lacking, little is lost when students progress slowly.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:51 AM   #8
jxa127
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
One of the causes of inefficient aikido instruction might be the lack of combat and/or competition to force teaching optimization. If both of these are lacking, little is lost when students progress slowly.
I'm not sure traditional koryu training incorporated combat and/or competition. Granted, a lot of the old schools were founded during periods of warfare, but they continued long after peace was widely established in Japan. Duels, however, were frequent, and I've heard of certain sword schools referred to as "dueling" schools versus "combat" schools.

I've also not read or heard much about koryu arts using competition as a training tool. My understanding is that nearly all koryu use solo and paired kata for training with the instructor taking the "losing" side during the kata.

Regards,

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Old 09-02-2009, 06:59 AM   #9
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Drew Ames wrote: View Post
I've also not read or heard much about koryu arts using competition as a training tool. My understanding is that nearly all koryu use solo and paired kata for training with the instructor taking the "losing" side during the kata.
Then why bogu and shinai/fukuro shinai were developed back in the 1700's if not for training with "aliveness", whacking each other while drilling techniques and tourneys?

You can do paired kata with bokken and solo with iai all day.

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Old 09-02-2009, 08:06 AM   #10
jxa127
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

As I said, I've not read or heard much about koryu arts using competition as a training tool. That doesn't mean it didn't happen, just that I'm ignorant. :-D

Back to the point, though, I think the major difference between koryu training and modern aikido training is the reversal of the role of the instructor from the one who "loses" the kata to the one who "wins."

Even further back to the original question: is this what Ellis is referring to when talking about inefficient aikido training?

Regards,

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Old 09-02-2009, 08:07 AM   #11
jss
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Drew Ames wrote: View Post
I'm not sure traditional koryu training incorporated combat and/or competition
I took a shortcut there in my choice of words.
Combat: using the art in combat, self-defense or duels.
Competition: mock combat (with combat as defined above).

AFAIK, the koryu have kept training for combat as a main goal.
And to add to what Demetrio said about competition and koryu: In "Duelling with O-sensei" Ellis Amdur recounts sparring with bokken. And apparently in Owari Kan ryu they say "shiai before kata".
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:18 AM   #12
MM
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Speaking of ... didn't Takeda and Ueshiba have weapons backgrounds? Didn't both learn from koryu? Is there something there that perhaps was overlooked as well?
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:50 AM   #13
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

There are records of shiai (in this case meaning free practice using fukuro-shinai -- not point based competition a la modern kendo) in Yagyu Shinkage-ryu as far back as the early 1600s. Indeed, you could say that Yagyu Shinkage-ryu has its origins in a friendly match using fukuro-shinai between Yagyu Munetoshi and Kamiizumi Hidetsuna and/or Hikita Bungoro. Maniwa Nen-ryu has kiriwara jiai, which probably dates back to the 1600s at the latest.

The modern form of kendo shinai and bogu can be traced back to Jikishinkage-ryu in the early 1700s. In most cases, though, kata-geiko was still the primary pedagogical tool, with shiai simply being a way of testing one's skills or an exchange between schools.

Josh Reyer

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Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:09 AM   #14
Rob Watson
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Drew Ames wrote: View Post
SNIP

Even further back to the original question: is this what Ellis is referring to when talking about inefficient aikido training?

Regards,
Allow me to interpret Ellis Amdur "As a technical corpus <ie., fight with this technique or that>, it was and is remarkably rococo, a very inefficient way of training, one I found no interest in pursuing."

To me this means train for 10 years and find out 95% (or pick your favorite number) of the techniques are simply irrelevant in a knock down drag out. Rococo essentially means, in this context, technique build upon technique, etc resulting in a great excess of movement.

While I can sympathize with this assessment I think similar arguments can be made in most any fighting art. There is a corpus of techniques within a system but when the rubber hits the road only a handful of those techniques are used.

Another way to look at is that most, if not all, the techniques of aikido are actually conditioning excersizes to reach the goal of takemusu aikido in which techniques (new ones never before seen) are spontaneously expressed in the heat of the moment. To reach this point of ability takes a very long time and is therefor not efficient.

Thanks

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:26 AM   #15
jss
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
Allow me to interpret Ellis Amdur "As a technical corpus <ie., fight with this technique or that>, it was and is remarkably rococo, a very inefficient way of training, one I found no interest in pursuing."
<snip>
Another way to look at is that most, if not all, the techniques of aikido are actually conditioning excersizes to reach the goal of takemusu aikido in which techniques (new ones never before seen) are spontaneously expressed in the heat of the moment. To reach this point of ability takes a very long time and is therefor not efficient.
Interesting, I was thinking along the following lines:
Aikido: here's heaps and heaps of variations on a limited set of techniques, all based on the same set of principles. See if you can discover these principles.
Koryu: here are some kata we designed specifically to teach you a set of principles.
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:44 AM   #16
jim312uav
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Drew Ames wrote: View Post
I've also not read or heard much about koryu arts using competition as a training tool. My understanding is that nearly all koryu use solo and paired kata for training with the instructor taking the "losing" side during the kata.

Regards,
Koryu efficeny of training:
My opinion on this is that by having the instructor be the attacker, he has the ability to push the student to the limit of the student's ability attacking intensely enough level that the student grows.

This enables growth without competition because as the student gets better and begins to grasp what is being taught the instructor just ramps up the intensity keeping the student working at upper range of his abilities.
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:54 AM   #17
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
Allow me to interpret Ellis Amdur
Quote:
"As a technical corpus <ie., fight with this technique or that>, it was and is remarkably rococo, a very inefficient way of training, one I found no interest in pursuing."
To me this means train for 10 years and find out 95% (or pick your favorite number) of the techniques are simply irrelevant in a knock down drag out. Rococo essentially means, in this context, technique build upon technique, etc resulting in a great excess of movement.
I think "rococo" is a deep insight on Ellis's part, though I think he means that the complexity tends to negate something more simple. I see his point, but he has only one side of it.

If he were to take hold of the affirming part of his observation, however, he might ask whether or not the great complexity is in fact the product of something extremely simple. I think he might actually agree with that statement.

If we pursue what that affirmation actually means, then "rococo" gives us a possibly different way to look at this issue. I'll come back to that in a minute but accept for argument, at least, that while the underlying process is actually very simple, it is nevertheless enormously difficult to grasp it concretely from its essential simplicity alone.

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
While I can sympathize with this assessment I think similar arguments can be made in most any fighting art. There is a corpus of techniques within a system but when the rubber hits the road only a handful of those techniques are used.
which then begs questions in any system, not just Aikido
"What are the didactic "techniques?
"Why do they develop?"
"What do they actually represent?"
"What are they intended to accomplish?"

In the context of "rococo" the swirls and flourishes are suggested as pointless ornamentation, where as they may in fact be an inherent expression of the underlying simplicity. Let me show you: This is a rococo design:[spoiler][/spoiler]

This is a mathematically generated fractal attractor (or rather one perspective of it) called the "Julia Set": [spoiler][/spoiler]

THIS is the rule that generates the Julia Set: -- where C is a complex number.

If you have dealt with complex number geometry you will have some idea of the difficulty of concretely grasping ( i.e. creating a mental image) of what is actually, mathematically, computationally fairly simple. It turns out that the only useful mental image is in fact this "rococo" complexity -- and it is not reducible in its expression -- in fact it is infinitely and intricately expandable as you can begin to see from a very large image of the Julia Set you can zoom in on. But it is a very simply stated operation to generate it.

If you put a phosphor on the hands of two people doing good jiyuwaza in aikido, turned down the lights and recorded the video and preserved all the phosphor traces in one image, what do think it would look like? Hint -- eerily like the rococo image and the Julia set. And a lot like these:
[spoiler][/spoiler] For more on why that one is important-- look here:

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
Another way to look at is that most, if not all, the techniques of aikido are actually conditioning excersizes to reach the goal of takemusu aikido in which techniques (new ones never before seen) are spontaneously expressed in the heat of the moment.
I quite agree.

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
To reach this point of ability takes a very long time and is therefor not efficient.
I agree with the first statement and could not disagree more with the second. Why does it take so long? That is the question. Sagawa thought there was no other way than time spent on the order of ten year to "see it" and twenty to "do it" -- and he was death on waza as training method.

The reason seems straight forward to me. Most kids take to walking by two, and are fully capable in ordinary body mechanics by six, at which point they generally are learning the more "odd mechanics" like bicycling and things like ball and stick handling/tracking/hitting or something more whole-body oriented like gymnastics or swimming. Other than swimming, these types of mechanics largely have to be suppressed before the other mechanics of aiki can be learned. (Swimming, when learned at high efficiency, I think is deeply related to aiki mechanics. Iit is however not trivial to relate that to action on two legs).

Since this is not a cerebral learning task, but a cerebellar one, acquired knowledge does not speed up progress at a later age.as with other learning tasks. So calculate six years to back out of the basics that it took six years to learn, plus time in intellectual fighting with that unlearning process, and we are up to about ten years to perceive something of the basics of what is occurring, but another ten years (the intellectual resistance continues to be a tolerably capable in applying them in a challenged mode. Kids learn faster because they don't think they understand anything to begin with, and have less baggage to haul along before they finally drop it along the away.

Last edited by Erick Mead : 09-02-2009 at 11:07 AM.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:19 PM   #18
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
ro⋅co⋅co  /rəˈkoʊkoʊ, ˌroʊkəˈkoʊ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [ruh-koh-koh, roh-kuh-koh] Show IPA
Use rococo in a Sentence
See web results for rococo
See images of rococo
–noun 1. a style of architecture and decoration, originating in France about 1720, evolved from Baroque types and distinguished by its elegant refinement in using different materials for a delicate overall effect and by its ornament of shellwork, foliage, etc.
2. a homophonic musical style of the middle 18th century, marked by a generally superficial elegance and charm and by the use of elaborate ornamentation and stereotyped devices.

–adjective 3. (initial capital letter) Fine Arts. a. noting or pertaining to a style of painting developed simultaneously with the rococo in architecture and decoration, characterized chiefly by smallness of scale, delicacy of color, freedom of brushwork, and the selection of playful subjects as thematic material.
b. designating a corresponding style of sculpture, chiefly characterized by diminutiveness of Baroque forms and playfulness of theme.

4. of, pertaining to, in the manner of, or suggested by rococo architecture, decoration, or music or the general atmosphere and spirit of the rococo: rococo charm.
5. ornate or florid in speech, literary style, etc.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Origin:
1830–40; < F, akin to rocaille rocaille
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.

ro·co·co (rə-kō'kō, rō'kə-kō')
n. also Rococo

A style of art, especially architecture and decorative art, that originated in France in the early 18th century and is marked by elaborate ornamentation, as with a profusion of scrolls, foliage, and animal forms.
A very ornate style of speech or writing.
Music A style of composition arising in 18th-century France, often viewed as an extension of the baroque, and characterized by a high degree of ornamentation and lightness of expression.
adj.
also Rococo Of or relating to the rococo.
Immoderately elaborate or complicated.

[French, probably alteration of rocaille, rockwork, from roc, rock, variant of roche, from Vulgar Latin *rocca.]
I marked some items in bold...and I have to say (regrettably) that I have seen aikido which seems to match some of those items.

Quote:
marked by a generally superficial elegance and charm and by the use of elaborate ornamentation and stereotyped devices.
This one in particular...resonates. I could see a boxer calling aikido...quaint. Yet at the same time I've seen some aikido that is very direct, powerfull, deep, etc.

I guess it all comes down to the eye of the beholder, and that would be why there are different strokes for different folks. Pardon the cliches...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:50 PM   #19
Rob Watson
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
SNIP
I agree with the first statement and could not disagree more with the second. Why does it take so long? That is the question. Sagawa thought there was no other way than time spent on the order of ten year to "see it" and twenty to "do it" -- and he was death on waza as training method.

SNIP
Considering the number of folks going into aikido versus the number coming out that demonstrate takemusu aikido and how long it takes that as a measure of efficiency compared to other arts is this sense.

I have no data to support the supposition. I presume that Ellis means something along the lines of this and that other arts are better at it.

PS Julia sets, nice - brings back memories. Fractals are good for visual punch but plain old F=ma is a good example too - even simpler than your example.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-02-2009, 01:00 PM   #20
Rob Watson
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

SNIP

This one in particular...resonates. I could see a boxer calling aikido...quaint. Yet at the same time I've seen some aikido that is very direct, powerfull, deep, etc.

I guess it all comes down to the eye of the beholder, and that would be why there are different strokes for different folks. Pardon the cliches...

Best,
Ron[/quote]

I was thinking of say irimi nage like pp 130 of Saito "Takemusu aikido" vol 2 (as not rococo) compared to say kaiten nage ura like seen in the recently mentioned clip of Tissier (as rococo).

Thanks

PS Also, I could to kaiten nage ura pretty easy after I first saw it but that irimi nage I'm still working on !

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-02-2009, 01:10 PM   #21
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Hi Rob,

yeah, all those spinning, turning, leading, hand movements just right, only from this distance, not against a wrestler stuffs...

And yet, with the right person doing it, you feel like they are the vortex at the center of a whirl wind and you are a speck of dust...

I think most fighters, no matter whether that kind of waza works or not, would say WHY?!?!?!?

When the right power is there, I still like that kind of thing...

Best,
Ron (even though I know I shouldn't...)

Ron Tisdale
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St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 09-02-2009, 03:08 PM   #22
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
PS Julia sets, nice - brings back memories. Fractals are good for visual punch but plain old F=ma is a good example too - even simpler than your example.
Berkeley handed Newton his head, IMO. In relative engagement (which is what we are talking about) and shifting centers (and with them the frame of reference) on a dime, angular momentum makes more sense because you can interpolate straight action as rotation, ( like Doppler) but need not worry if it actually rotates so you donl;t have to change tools. But F=ma is a headache if the frame rotates, never mind changing coordinate planes constantly. Conservation is easier to see in rotational terms, and conservation is the real thing.

The point about the Julia sets and all of these pretty swoopy rococo fractal structures is that they are typical of dissipative structures and mechanisms. Thus, they can suck up and deploy just about as much of the available energy as is just about physically possible to capture and transmit. What Ikeda does with the twitch in miniscule form (high zoom view of the set) is the same class of self-similar shape as the larger waza variant. It follows a fractal law also seen in these sorts of mathematical structures.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 09-02-2009, 05:42 PM   #23
Walter Martindale
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Hmm. Not sure what is meant by "internal training" but am interested.
My thoughts on the "inefficiency" of training/learning in Aikido is that it's sort of the nature of the beast, and the effectiveness of the learning, and the subsequent effectiveness of Aikido in "encounters" depends to a great degree on the understanding of the learning process, and the understanding of movement principles by the instructor/sensei/sempai/ whomever.

Aikido - in sports terms, would be called an "open" sport - (I know it's not a sport unless you're at Tomiki), where, in reality, you should be able to deal with randomly timed attacks, organised in a random fashion (i.e., no particular order to the sequence of attacks) - maintain "centre" for lack of a better term, and stay in control. "Closed" sports are where you're not having to interact with constantly changing conditions and not having to respond directly to "attacks" - a cross-court topspin drive, or an opponent trying to push a fist through your nose. Rowing or shotput could be considered "closed". Boxing, tennis, volleyball, and the combatives (to name a few) would be called "open" - the skill you're about to execute is dependent on what your opponent does, even if you're dictating the play.

For example, you wouldn't "receive" a tsuki to the tummy quite the same way as you'd "receive" a yokomenuchi. If you don't know what uke is going to present to you before the attack starts, it could be considered "open" practice, or "randomized" practice. If you do know what's coming, it could be considered "closed" or "blocked" practice.

In most training situations that I've seen, the dojo does "blocked" practice - you do a "block" of shomen-uchi - Iriminage, then you do a "block" of something else...

This is relatively efficient at learning a particular technique through repetition, and will be more efficient if the movements are done with good tai-sabaki/movement and good biomechanical principles of movement. It is relatively inefficient, however, at learning to deal with what might happen "out there." You can sleep-walk through another round of shomen-uchi-ikkyo if you're doing the same thing for the 10th minute straight.

Any movements you're learning, whether they're good movements or inefficient/inaccurate movements, you're learning them better each time you do them. You can get good at doing something bad, or you can get good at doing something good - your brain doesn't care, it just learns, and if your learning of bad movements don't lead to overuse injuries, you might have to wait until you're in a "situation" before you learn that what you've learned isn't worth all the money you've spent on an obi, let alone the years of dojo fees.

Randomized training, also called "decision" training, presents the person with no prior knowledge of what's coming - whether it's a slider, fastball, or curve during baseball batting practice; a drop, smash, or attacking clear in badminton; hook, jab, uppercut, or body shot in boxing; or tanto-tsuki, te-gatana shomen, or whatever in Aikido.

Initially, this random attack situation is quite scary, but it does a few things - first - it requires and depends on the Nage having good balance and movement principles. You can't sleep walk through it because you don't know what's coming next until it's on its way.

So your attention / focus goes up a few notches. Then you start watching/noticing farther and farther back in to the attack for the little telltale signs about what's coming. That might be where O-Sensei's "doka" about the attacker's fists telling you where the attack's coming, rather than watching the weapon.

Researchers who study learning say that "randomized" training or "decision" training is better learning, despite its being slower at the start. People who learn by "blocked" training develop more quickly, initially, but then they get passed by the ones in "decision" training.

So - it MIGHT make sense to do combined training sessions - spend some time each day on "movement principles", then a little "blocked" practice of something new, then straight into randomized/decision training.

An example might be - these guys are going to attack with - whatever - and today you use Ikkyo, no matter what the attack. Next time it might be "today you use kotegaeshi, no matter what the attack" and so on. Initially, the practice might be a bit slower, but as the person gets better at reading the attack farther and farther back to the attacker's initiation of the attack, (and perhaps forces an attack by setting up and/or entering a particular way (is that like taking charge of the OODA loop?), the learning starts striding past the "blocked" practice sessions, and what's learned is also more "robust" - more able to stand the test of time where there's no practice, and the test of "stress" where the floor is slippery, or there are more attackers, or the weapons used aren't traditional aikido weapons. Or - maybe even "real" attacks.. "combat" instead of "competition" or "training"...

The other thing that most of these researchers say is that it takes about 10,000 hours of "deliberate practice", or about 10 years at 3 hours a day, to "master" anything, be it language, sports skills, musical instrument, or whatever. Kids learn to run - but they spend most of their time growing up running around/playing/walking, etc., and they get their 10,000 hours of locomotion a lot faster than 10 years. My own Aikido adventure has been very slow.

So much for a short comment - Back to work.... Hope this didn't wander too far off topic.
W

Last edited by Walter Martindale : 09-02-2009 at 05:49 PM. Reason: grammar, spelling, punctuation - random rubbish like that
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:53 PM   #24
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
In most training situations that I've seen, the dojo does "blocked" practice - you do a "block" of shomen-uchi - Iriminage, then you do a "block" of something else...

This is relatively efficient at learning a particular technique through repetition, ... Randomized training, also called "decision" training, presents the person with no prior knowledge of what's coming - Researchers who study learning say that "randomized" training or "decision" training is better learning, despite its being slower at the start. People who learn by "blocked" training develop more quickly, initially, but then they get passed by the ones in "decision" training.
There is a middle ground -- if as I suggest, the art is in its nature structured fractally -- and that is an IFS -- an iterated function system. [spoiler]http://www.bioquest.org/esteem/esteem_details.php?product_id=249
Quote:
... fractals generate points to plot on a graph that are the result of iterated calculations. The answer from one calculation is used as the input value to the next calculation. One sort of fractal is known as the Iterated Function System, or IFS. You start with shapes plotted on a graph, and iterate the shapes through a calculation process that transforms them into other shapes on the graph
The interesting thing about the fern IFS examples ( there are several versions on the net) is how a series of "random" points (they aren't) keepo popping up until, all at once, they suddenly scream "FERN!!"



At this point you can continue down to any arbitrary level of detailed resolution once the whole is grasped intuitively. Of course, it helps if you have an intuitive -type brain. [/spoiler] Your illustration of "block" training is structured linearly , one thing at a time, many repetitions to get the one thing from start to finish. The second, which you call random is essentially unstructured, that is, there is no input from the last training item that ties the next training item to it.

The middle ground of an IFS can actually be used in either flavor -- structured or unstructured. I lean toward the structured flavor, because I am an analyst and like taking structure apart and putting it back together again -- but there is no reason at all that this could not be done in a more unstructured flavor, with some thinking and working through it.

As I do it, it has an "evolutionary" flavor in that some element from the last training item feeds directly into the next one (the definition of an IFS). This is what I use, and sort of evolved into though I ahve in the last three years thought about why exactly and tried to work it out a little more formally, to understand what "seemed right" about it to me.

Some days I follow a common element through several techniques. Sometimes I start with an aiki taiso and show where the movement lies in several aspects of one or more techniques. Sometimes, I start with a simple movement and "build" the formal technique from it in stages or iterations. Sometimes, I start with a technique and break it down or throw in typical "mistakes" that with additions slowly morph it into another "technique."

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:39 PM   #25
Ellis Amdur
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Rococo vs. Principals

Please refer to: http://www.edgework.info/articles.html Scroll down to Vectors in Aikido (Taikyoku Kuzushi). I worked with the Itten Dojo for several years, distilling all aikido movement into five essential principals. So as far as principals of aikido - essential movement vs. "lost in technique" goes - I'd have exactly the tool-set I would want, as far as the "framework" goes - were I to desire to continue aikido as my training method. Given the request that I assist that dojo in developing a training method that pares away as much dross as possible, I did my best, while paying full respect to aikido, the system and martial art that it is (and is not). They asked me to assist them with their aikido - not teach whatever ryu I spend my own practice time doing.
Furthermore, I tried, as best I could, to make this study of vectors into a training modality that could "contain" internal training methodology when the dojo had an opportunity to learn it. Which they have been doing - I'd check out the Itten Dojo http://www.ittendojo.org/ and see how that's been going for them. Personally, I've seen them develop remarkably rapidly, with beginners developing a natural ability to counter off-center technique just through the training.
But me personally? That's not how I want to spend my training time.So I don't. As far as internal training goes, I'm quite happy not trying to fit such training into an aikido context. One less thing to worry about. As I said in HIPS,Circle, Square, Triangle: How to be O-sensei in Sixteen Easy Steps, "But what if you desire the vintage itself. And what if you desire exactly what Ueshiba was brewing?" That last chapter was offered to such people - out a sense of debt that I have, because aikido brought me to Japan, and due to that, my life unfolded the way that it did. But me? I don't want Ueshiba's brew, either in his form, or that of those who followed him. Simple as that.
Please note, too, that the title of this thread is "Inefficiencies in the Aikido Training Method". Not - "Why Ellis Amdur has Misunderstood Aikido." That's a side-track. The core questions are:
1. What are your goals that you hope to achieve in doing aikido?
2. Is your method of training the best way to achieve those goals?
Best
Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 09-02-2009 at 08:44 PM.

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