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Old 03-26-2010, 07:56 PM   #26
C. David Henderson
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Re: Martial, spiritual, and jujutsu (split off from Funakogi Thread)

This is interesting; the manifestation of "aiki," under this discription, then seems often displayed by exquiste maai and tai sabaki, which seems to make powerful execution of a technique relatively unimportant.

At the same time, the process of applying force where I am weak (ju) encompasses the area of application of skills that internal training folk tend to refer to in terms of "aiki." However, it would include the use of "external" strength, through technique, or some maniuplation of uke's structure through "internal" methods.

Is there a link between the set of skills involved in "aiki" in the sense used here and the set of skills involved in the kind of "aiki" that internal training aims to instill?

Are they overlapping?

Are they both valid in their respective domains?

Respectfully,

David Henderson
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:54 PM   #27
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Re: Martial, spiritual, and jujutsu (split off from Funakogi Thread)

Just to quickly clarify. I don't believe That applying force where your target is weak, is ju. But rather, using the quality of ju allows me to yield to your force, which will protect me, and allow me to find a weak spot on you (if that is my goal). The force that I apply once I have found your vulnerability can come from any number of methods, but the ju is a springy quality of yielding to your force.

We are still working on our definition of Aiki, so it can include anything we agree on. I'm not sure what other "internal" people may call aiki, but I'd love to hear it.

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Old 03-26-2010, 09:04 PM   #28
Mike Sigman
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Re: Martial, spiritual, and jujutsu (split off from Funakogi Thread)

Quote:
Charles David Henderson wrote: View Post
Hi Mark, could you say more about your thinking on the way in which pursuit of the internal skills you refer to as aiki has a "spiritual" component?
Just to toss in an observation. Often when I chase down an actual translation (as opposed to an opinion by a westerner) that mentions "spirit" or "spiritual", I find that the original comment had something to do with "ki" and that the translator opted to talk about "spirit" and "spiritual" simply because that is what suited him, based upon his own understanding.

It's very much like how the word "jin" (sometimes "jing" or "ch'ing") in Chinese was translated by many westerner translators as "energy", even though the original and functional meaning was about a function and not an energy per se. I.e., what someone knows has a lot to do with translations and therefore translations should be looked at askance.

"Spiritual" and "energy" (and other terms) have become such standards in the translations of "internal" martial arts that many styles have become locked into that kind of discussion and, like a chronic face twitch, have become almost impossible to be rid of.

I'm always reminded of the old trope about a discussion where someone tries to avoid getting involved in emotional debate about god by saying, "I'm an atheist". One of the people in the discussion then asks insistently, "But which god is it that you don't believe in... the god of Abraham or the god of catholicism???".

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:18 PM   #29
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Re: Martial, spiritual, and jujutsu (split off from Funakogi Thread)

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
Just to quickly clarify. I don't believe That applying force where your target is weak, is ju. But rather, using the quality of ju allows me to yield to your force, which will protect me, and allow me to find a weak spot on you (if that is my goal).
Hi Chris:

I think that your sceptical approach is basically correct, although I don't personally think that someone can take an already-known term and apply a consensus agreement among a limited faction that uses the same term to mean a different thing. It becomes like the hookah-smoking caterpillar telling Alice that words mean what he wants them to mean. If that's the case then nothing can ever be defined.

In terms of Asian martial arts, there is obviously a consensus of some sort or Ueshiba would not have been using (in his writings and douka) the traditional terms about ki and ki's physical functions that go back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The terms and sayings that Ueshiba quoted are the same terms and sayings found in a great number of Asian martial arts... wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that he (Ueshiba) was talking about the same "internal" things as the old-sayings he was quoting? In other words, Ueshiba wasn't making up any new definitions, he was abiding by old ones.

Physically/functionally, I haven't seen Ueshiba demonstrate "ki" things in any way that was outside of the known ki/qi demo's of China. When Ueshiba, Tohei, Shioda, and others, show these things in stark or at least reasonable isolation (outside of techniques), nothing they do is different from the known qi/ki demonstrations in a great number of arts.

What I'm basically saying is that there seems to be little demonstration of individual definitions of internal strength (whether it's called "aiki", "kokyu", "jin", "ki", "qi", or whatever), so a call for individual definitions seems out of place to me. If you posit that there is a unique definition for "aiki" in Aikido, then you're left with explaining why Ueshiba used so many references to the traditional terminology.

Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:25 PM   #30
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Re: Martial, spiritual, and jujutsu (split off from Funakogi Thread)

Mike,

Mahalo.

David Henderson
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:15 PM   #31
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Re: Martial, spiritual, and jujutsu (split off from Funakogi Thread)

Good points Mike. As a VERY poor historian myself, I can't speak to what Ueshiba was up to in his writings/references. I think even among those who know much on the subject there is still a lot that is up to interpretation.

From my studies in the ki no nagare waza found in Aikido, and my studies of Chinese internal, and Brazilian Jiujitsu (from Tim Cartmell) I have found a distinct difference between things generally called "ju" and things called "aiki". This is why I make a distinction.

Now there are understandings/definitions of these different words (Ju and Aiki) used by many different "authorities". These "authorities" often explain these words differently. This is why I say we must find our own agreed upon definition before we can talk further on the issue. Because when one person says Aiki, they are not necessarily talking about the same thing as another person.

To be clear, it's not important to me that you agree with my personal definition, it's only important that we agree on a single definition when we use the word.

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Old 03-26-2010, 10:44 PM   #32
Mike Sigman
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Re: Martial, spiritual, and jujutsu (split off from Funakogi Thread)

Quote:
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Good points Mike. As a VERY poor historian myself, I can't speak to what Ueshiba was up to in his writings/references. I think even among those who know much on the subject there is still a lot that is up to interpretation.

From my studies in the ki no nagare waza found in Aikido, and my studies of Chinese internal, and Brazilian Jiujitsu (from Tim Cartmell) I have found a distinct difference between things generally called "ju" and things called "aiki". This is why I make a distinction.

Now there are understandings/definitions of these different words (Ju and Aiki) used by many different "authorities". These "authorities" often explain these words differently. This is why I say we must find our own agreed upon definition before we can talk further on the issue. Because when one person says Aiki, they are not necessarily talking about the same thing as another person.

To be clear, it's not important to me that you agree with my personal definition, it's only important that we agree on a single definition when we use the word.
Well, I take your last point, Chris, but in my opinion it still leads into the realm of "we use the same words but they mean different things" which I tend to avoid.

I'm somewhat reluctant to get too much into "authorities" because I find that many people use people with "names" in place of people with real authority. I think you must have seen similar situations in your time in Asian martial arts. Heck I could tell you stories about "authorities" that widely conflict with stories about the same "authorities" as told by people who studied with that person when he was studying. A few cases come to mind, but one of the most interesting that comes to mind is about a Chinese "name" guy who has written a number of books and the people who studied with him in the same schools on Taiwan since his childhood are aghast at the reputation this person has as an authority. You see how it goes.

My suggestion is that instead of looking for a definition that is acceptable, why not take some basic physical demonstrations (e.g., Tohei's "ki tests") as a starter and explain how they're done, demonstrate the static before moving to the dynamic, etc., and then you can be fairly certain that your definitions will mesh with reality.

Heck, posting videos of demonstrations wouldn't be a bad idea, either. For instance, someone could post a video demonstration of standing against a push (static) and people could rebutt with "here's my video of me doing it", or etc. Hmmmmm.... maybe if there was a set example using certain criteria, that would work even better. That way, the guy depending on his lean, his back-foot brace, etc., could be pointed out and a consensus of 'correct' could be arrived at before a final definition was agreed upon.

In terms of dynamic, which we could look at something like a sudden application of power done clearly in a non-technique mode and discuss how it was done and our opinion of the how's and why's. A rebuttal could again be supported by a video, and so on. Comments could be about use of the middle, using the shoulders, augmentations of power, replays of 'the way Tohei (or Ueshiba or Shioda or whoever) did it', and so on.

What I'm suggesting is that an "agreed upon definition" would be much clarified by a simple video (say, everyone in the discussion pretty much showing their ideas on video of the same simple demonstration), as opposed to verbal "here's my take on it" discussions.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:40 PM   #33
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Re: Martial, spiritual, and jujutsu (split off from Funakogi Thread)

Video sounds like a great idea to me Mike! I'm all for it.

What I would call Aiki, I can easily make a video of. In fact I'll make one this week. From your examples though, I can see that you would call aiki, if that's what you were talking about, is what I would call structure and alignment. I'll make a video of that as well, and I'll make a video of what I would call mental suggestion.

To me these 3 things are different animals, but I think many people are lumping these 3 things into the category of aiki. I'll have the video's by Saturday next week.

Last edited by ChrisHein : 03-26-2010 at 11:47 PM.

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Old 03-26-2010, 11:42 PM   #34
Jeremy Hulley
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Re: Martial, spiritual, and jujutsu (split off from Funakogi Thread)

Quote:
Charles David Henderson wrote: View Post
Hi Jeremy,

Not to disagree, but what about those whose start out by training for the body skills first, without formal jujustu technique? If I recall, some contend this is not only possible, but a better route to take.

(This does not describe my own practice or history BTW.)

Regards,
I have not met those folks or people who fit that yet. I am open to that possibility..

Jeremy Hulley
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Old 03-27-2010, 12:30 AM   #35
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Re: the video idea

In the old days, before the net, these discussions would be had in-person, and there would be no arguing over how things feel, and there would be a much easier time trying to define things as a group. The net has opened up discussion and information access in an unprecedented way-- but it is getting messy with contention and pointless arguments and confusion. We should have been doing video years ago, and now we can. It's the closest we can come on the net to feeling each other's skill.
If I feel I have something I can contribute, I'll get some training partners and shoot some too.

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
To me these 3 things are different animals, but I think many people are lumping these 3 things into the category of aiki. I'll have the video's by Saturday next week.
I agree that lots of times things get unnecessarily lumped when they are discussion-worthy as separate parts. It would be great to get things parsed out.
BTW Chris, I agree with your def of ju, but I think the distance-type stuff you are calling aiki should get a specific name other than aiki. Whenever O-sensei talked about "the secret of aiki," it was in relation to receiving force, yes? (rather than the distance stuff. Or, if I am wrong, it would be cool to see if he lumped these skills too)
It gets confusing because I think that people who get good at the force-receiving kind of aiki also tend to get good at the distance stuff.. they do both come from mastery/understanding of intent, I think.
Anyway thanks guys for keeping discussion moving.
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Old 03-27-2010, 12:58 AM   #36
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Re: Martial, spiritual, and jujutsu (split off from Funakogi Thread)

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From your examples though, I can see that you would call aiki, if that's what you were talking about, is what I would call structure and alignment. I'll make a video of that as well,
Chris- I still am anxious to see your video, but before you make it I wanted to ask if you have read these internal folks on this board (or elsewhere) talk about it not mattering what position or posture one is in when receiving a push or making the pusher lose balance?
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Old 03-27-2010, 01:40 AM   #37
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Re: Martial, spiritual, and jujutsu (split off from Funakogi Thread)

Jonathan,
I have read several of the "internal" threads posted here. In my opinion they always read a bit differently. I'm not sure where everyone is going with their ideas, hopefully we'll get this hashed out. I figure the least I can do is show my examples, and if others show theirs, maybe we'll get somewhere.

As far as giving another name to what I would call "aiki", I often say that aiki is timing and rhythm. I would be fine with calling it that, and I feel strongly that timing and rhythm is a very large part of the Aikido strategy. It could very well be that Ueshiba lumped many things together as what he would call Aiki. Like I said I'm not stuck on my ideas being right or wrong, just that we have clear ideas that we can all talk about.

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Old 03-27-2010, 09:47 AM   #38
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Re: Martial, spiritual, and jujutsu (split off from Funakogi Thread)

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
What I would call Aiki, I can easily make a video of. In fact I'll make one this week. From your examples though, I can see that you would call aiki, if that's what you were talking about, is what I would call structure and alignment. I'll make a video of that as well, and I'll make a video of what I would call mental suggestion.

To me these 3 things are different animals, but I think many people are lumping these 3 things into the category of aiki. I'll have the video's by Saturday next week.
OK. I'll actually be in San Francisco next week, if you're anywhere near, and we could compare quickly. A lot of these terms are often arbitrarily defined by people and I think that great care has to be taken not develop side-definitions that are different principles.

I've posted Inaba Minoru's definition of "aiki" a number of times. I agree with that definition. That being said, I don't see how it differs from other terms in Asian martial arts that describe the same phenomenon using the same classical sayings that Ueshiba used. I.e., "aiki" per se is not unique to Aikido; the problem is that most of the people talking about it are unaware of the larger world of Asian martial arts and the traditions going back thousands of years.

A classic example of these misdefinitions can be seen in the post that involved Michael Phillips' Tai Chi, a few months back. Phillips shows a form of uprooting (with willing students) and he calls it "Fajing". What he showed is really called "Ti fang" by anyone knowledgeable in Chinese martial arts.... it's not "fajing". Getting under someone and throwing them backward is not "fajing". But among many westerners, there is a feeling that their ignorance of nomenclature is OK and no one will catch it; many people will catch it, ultimate... and with unfortunate ramifications resulting. Rather than go down that road, I think an attempt at establishing a definition is a good thing. But that definition should comport with the definitions of people who are established (as opposed to "instant") experets.

My opinion, FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:29 PM   #39
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Re: Martial, spiritual, and jujutsu (split off from Funakogi Thread)

My videos:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...040#post255040

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